PIXELS & PRINT
Graphics for Gender Equality We catch up with the design studio behind the UN’s #HeForShe campaign By Amanda Koellner
When Emma Watson stood up in front of the UN last fall to cordially invite men to join the fight for gender equality, all eyes were on the British beauty and her emboldening message. Although her voice quivered, the message—“to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change”—was heard loud and clear as public figures such as Russell Crowe, Harry Styles, and Emile Hirsch came forward with unwavering support for the campaign. Months before Watson’s speech went viral, UN Women reached out to New York design studio DIA to complete the #HeForShe identity, and Design Bureau sat down with DIA founder and creative director Mitch Paone and managing partner Meg Donohoe to chat about the experience (spoiler alert: one of the best parts? “Meeting Emma Watson. We’re huge Harry Potter geeks.”).
embodied gender equality alone—a symbol that might live far beyond the actual #HeForShe campaign. Tell me about the type and color choices.
MD: UN Women didn’t want the branding to feel too much like something the UN would put out; they wanted something unique and fashion forward. MP: We took that feedback and really pushed the typography and layouts into less “safe” territory. MD: At first glance, the color choice might seem obvious. The magenta is there to represent the men, not the women. Gender stereotypes need to be abolished, so instead of the typical pink for women, the pink is here to represent the men. How has the feedback been?
This is a global campaign; did you take that into account and strive to design something with international appeal?
MD: It’s been fascinating to see. Emma’s speech really propelled the campaign and put the work in front of so many people.
MD: Absolutely. We believed the campaign needed a strong mark that was iconic enough to stand on its own—something that didn’t hinge on language.
MP: For us, it’s been amazing to watch how the public has been interacting with the mark. People have been drawing it, building it with Legos; a street artist in Sweden has been pasting it on buildings. People rarely interact with graphic design in that sense, and it’s so much fun to see. a
MP: To add even more pressure on ourselves, we set our sights on an even loftier goal to create a mark that Images courtesy of UN Women and DIA