The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games kick off next week, with the best parasport athletes in the world gathering in Japan to duke it out for a place on the podium. In conjunction with the start of these games will be the launch of an ambitious new inclusivity movement for people with disabilities called #WeThe15.
#WeThe15 is a global initiative from adam&eveDDB in partnership with the International Paralympic Committee. It also comes backed by twenty powerhouse global organizations, including the UN, UNESCO, and the International Disability Alliance. With the goal of becoming the world’s largest human rights movement ever, they tapped the creative team at Pentagram, led by Harry Pearce, to develop a striking brand identity.
The name of the campaign is derived from the fact that 15% of the global population (or 1.2 billion people) has a disability, and society still largely overlooks the unique needs of this minority group, with systems in place that perpetuate inequality and inaction. #WeThe15 seeks to change that, determined to build “a global movement that is publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion, and accessibility,” as expressed in their mission statement. “A movement all persons with disabilities can rally behind.”
Pearce and the rest of the Pentagram team developed a bright and clean look for the campaign centered around a vibrant shade of purple as it's the international color of disability. Ninety global landmarks will be illuminated with this purple as part of the campaign, including the Empire State Building, the Colosseum, Edinburgh Castle, and the London Eye, to name a few. Large screens across the UK in highly trafficked public spaces like Piccadilly Circus in London will also help launch the campaign. And finally, a short film produced by adam&eveDDB that flips the script on the typical disability narrative will air for the first time at the Paralympics opening ceremony.
A wordmark, symbol, and sonic branding by Pentagram partner Yuri Suzuki were all created for the campaign’s brand identity. The circular symbol reflects the 15% visually, with the 23.5-degree angle of the pie slice representing the tilt of the earth’s axis. Athletes will also be wearing temporary tattoos of the #WeThe15 symbol throughout the paralympic games for added brand visibility. Meanwhile, the wordmark itself includes a hashtag to help maximize the campaign’s reach across social media.
Suzuki’s sonic branding for the campaign crucially makes the brand identity accessible for the hearing impaired. The DNA rhythmically spells “We The 15” and is arranged chordally across three octaves so that people across the spectrum of hearing loss can still decipher the fundamental tone and structure of the sound. It’s also monophonic, so the sonic information doesn't get lost in stereo.
#WeThe15 has lofty aspirations, but with its inclusive brand identity, gold is likely within reach.