Responses by Geneviève Duquette, associate creative director and Olivier Charbonneau, account director, Cossette
Background: Every year, in observance of International Human Rights Day on December 10, millions of letters are sent to the persecuted from people they’ve never met. The messages help convince government officials to release the imprisoned for expressing their opinions, stop the use of torture and end other human rights violations. It’s all done in connection with Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. Once again, Cossette helped raise awareness for this global endeavor in French Canada.
Reasoning: Human rights issues often feel far from our day-to-day realities. Therefore, we aimed to demonstrate that Write for Rights makes a measurable difference in the global landscape. In the past 20 years, 77 percent of the people Amnesty’s supporters wrote to were liberated or received justice. Our visuals reflect that supporters can change the course of someone’s life by simply picking up a pen, or a pencil in our case.
Challenges: Cossette has been happy to support Amnesty International for the past nine years in French speaking Canada. Beyond our own partnership, Amnesty has a global footprint and works with many other agencies abroad. Our goal is always to bring something new and fresh to the table, and it can be a challenge when so much has been done for the cause.
Favorite details: First and foremost, we are delighted with this year’s visuals. The design is simple yet evocative, and it communicates the message effectively regardless of language. Furthermore, while the global tagline of this campaign remains as “Write for Rights,” we were able to introduce new variants, making it more relevant to our current socio-political climate.
Visual influences: From the onset of the project, we wanted to work with illustrations. We felt it would be more poignant, reinforcing our message that so much can be accomplished with a pencil. Also, our illustrator, Sébastien Thibault, has worked with several global publications like The Guardian and The Economist, providing illustrations that reflect current news or political events—and his editorial style inspired us.
Specific demands: Like many other global NGOs, some of Amnesty’s past campaigns have had a darker, dramatic tone. However, Amnesty asked the agency to create a more positive and hopeful campaign for 2019. In fact, the actual ask was to “be more candle than barbwire”. As such, the designs we created are more colorful and youthful than previous executions—also acting as a nod to this year’s focus on those under the age of 25 who are leading forces of change.