Could a logo save the planet? Young designers at Cannes say, ‘Yes’.

by | Jun 21, 2019

Powerful work from the three finalists in Cannes Young Lions Design competition show what can happen when teams really get behind a brief for a visual rallying cry

Another great competition here at Cannes – I’ve been here all week running the debrief for a series of contests that have been showcasing some of the best under-30s creative talent from around the world. The latest to wrap up was the Design competition, which saw 24 teams tackle a brief from WWF that was very much aimed at people in their own demographic.

Young Lions 2019 Design competition

The brief (as provided by WWF):

“Create an open source visual identity for Youth for Our Planet (which was set up as a response to sporadic youth networks throughout the world who are pushing governments for protection of nature and biodiversity.)”

Here’s the full Design brief if you want to have a look and consider how you might come up with something equally as arresting as the three finalists?

The judges for this contest were: Stephanie Lang, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy, Karen Cesar, CEO and Founder of Red Bandana, Greg Quinton, Chief Creative Officer at Superunion. This competition was really strong and the judges praised the incredible work produced in just 24 hours by the teams. Design is not a discipline that I know very much about, but am very interested in and I found the level of detail in the debriefs fascinating.

Bronze: Team Brazil

An insightful offering from the South American duo was built on hashtags and emojis, essentially borrowing from the current vocabulary of today’s youth and giving the movement its own, strong identity. Colourful and vibrant, Team Brazil says their proposal aims not only to fit an existing movement, but to become part of it. The fist is a powerful symbol of solidarity and support as well as an expression of unity, strength, defiance, or resistance.

Team members: Cacá Barabás of F Nazca Saatchi and Saatchi and André Vervloet of AlmapBBDO.

Silver: Team Ukraine

Team Ukraine said they wanted a strong identity that visually translates around the world as: “We Fight”. Also opting for a raised fist as their core visual (which they also pointed out has a resemblance to the letter ‘Y’, which ties it into ‘youth’), they also hit on the idea of having interchangeable first words for the campaign, each with its own colour: Fight (for our planet); Stand (for our planet) and so on.

The judges praised the work and commented that it did not win the gold Lions because it was not activist or angry enough for this serious issue. It was ‘quieter’ than the work that ultimately won the gold.

Team members: Krystyna Foshchai and Tomofei Scherbakov of GG Marketing.

Gold: Team Russia

What made the Russians’ efforts stand out was a logo that was, in effect, a new symbol – one that could easily be replicated by supporters of the movement and had the potential to quickly become a powerful and very recognisable emblem, not unlike the classic ‘A’ inside a circle which has come to represent anarchy. If you want to dissect it, they say that the inverted Y represents “youth”, the upside down exclamation point means “idea” and the circle is the planet.

The judges also praised the development/inspiration that the universally recognised ‘peace’ symbol which insipired so many and has become the Holy Grail in design terms – instantly recognisable and shorthand for a movement.

Team members: Aleksandr Miliunas and Kseniia Kantcurova of Ruport.

Overall observations from the judges for this competition were:

  1. The logo design should create and become a shorthand for the issue
  2. It should be easily adoptable, and even adaptable by the target audience – for example easily printed out or even hand-drawn
  3. Edit, edit, edit. Slash, slash, slash! Get to the core idea and back your idea fully

There are still a couple more competitions to go – check back soon to see how the entrants did and to have a look at the briefs for yourself. It’s all good creative inspiration for when you have a spare hour! Or use the briefs as dummies for your team to practice their creative smarts.

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