Sadly, most countries’ public Covid-19 information campaigns have been fuzzy, inaccurate and forgettable.
They’re poorly thought-out, confusingly designed and so inconsistent as to be a waste of time and resources. And lives.
We’re not talking about aesthetics. This is bad design that actually kills people. Australia’s Covid-19 information campaigns are still a mishmash of good intentions and disastrous outcomes. Bad strategy, bad creative, bad writing, bad design, bad fonts, bad colors.
America’s Covid-19 information campaigns are figuratively and literally a death wish. An existential crisis masquerading as public health campaigns. It would be more accurate to call them public death campaigns.
But there is one glowing exception. Unite Against Covid-19, which was commissioned by the New Zealand government and designed by Clemenger BBDO Wellington. More than a few people believe it’s the most intelligently and sensitively designed public information programme in this pandemic.
Mark Dalton, creative director of the campaign and Clemenger BDDO, had to devise, develop and deliver across all platforms and media channels in a week. A simple, considerate and consistent campaign which visually balances black pictograms and black type with warm yellow angled stripes.
Mark wanted to make whatever people were being asked to do to seem simple and achievable. Telling a story with a picture is a good and fast way to help people to recognize what they need to do. No one wants to read 15-word headlines on posters when they’re walking around town.
The pictograms also allowed the campaign to add a human touch. The agency tried hard to make them look like they’d been drawn by a person, rather than coming from an icon library, so it felt like there were people behind the campaign who were trying to do whatever they could to help. They didn’t want it to feel like a robotic government announcement.
If you’re trying to help people, the last thing you want to tell them is not to do something.
You need to tell them what to do to achieve a positive outcome.