I am Alice
When this project first started, the initial mandate was to expand Alice’s visibility, either via a website redesign or with the introduction of a new promotional object. As the design process started, multiple conversations and numerous hours of research were done. At first, it was to better understand the mandate. What actually happened was quite different; Alice’s real impact was revealed. The project was no longer a simple rebranding of an organization. It became an engine to develop methods to change behaviors and develop the adequate discourse (written and visual) to communicate the importance of sustainability and the economic viability of marginalized communities, throughout Italy.
The Italian design community has always been the reference for the height of design capabilities. These brands aren’t just brands. They are cultural vehicles. They are tools to help achieve cultural sustainability through design choices.
This was the moment Alice’s project took flight. The research conclusions indicated that Alice was not only proud of Italy’s rich history of craftmanship and the techniques behind it. It had also become an archivist for future generations. In doing so, it was a pillar for cultural sustainability.
As an innovative brand, Alice had begun the difficult task of breaking the stigma associated with the communities that they worked with. They knew the benefits that were associated with an ethically locally-made production, which allowed for an economic viability and a lesser environmental impact.
If being sustainable requires new, innovative and more efficient ways to fulfills ones needs and to prevent the depletion of resources for future generations, then design is the perfect partner for it. It seeks long-term impact, and is a way of communicating situations, experiences and aspirations.
Design, and sustainability, all have the means of guiding us towards our vision of a better future. It is important to highlight how creativity can achieve these goals, as creativity helps manage the microeconomic theory of rarity. As a society, we have unlimited wants and needs, while the resources necessary to meet them are limited. We find ourselves confronted with a scarcity in resources.
If creativity is an ever-changing, evolving, renewable source of solutions, then the partnership is that much more crucial.
The notion of partnerships has been developed throughout the campaign on multiple levels. The first one, can be found between Alice and its workforce. The second is demonstrated between the organization and the business partnerships developed. The third is showcased when Alice introduces itself to a general public and the role that they play in supporting the brand. Finally, the most important type of partnership presented, is the kind that switches the role of the interlocutor. In this scenario, the general public becomes the messenger and the audience becomes Alice. They become not only our brand messengers, but the instigators of change required for Alice’s success.
Every single one of these types of relationships have the power of creating a network effect. In order to get that chain reaction going, the visual language developed in parallel with the written words, had to incite a strong enough reaction, to engage and entice the audience to participate.
Victor Papanek once wrote: ‘The ultimate job of design is to transform man’s environment and tools and, by extension, man himself.’ He even goes so far to say that the designer is an interpreter, between the different teams working on a project.
We all speak a language. From our childhood onwards, we are taught the tools to communicate with the world around us.
Letters are learned and progressively transformed into words, themselves becoming building blocks to longer and more complicated structures, such as sentences and paragraphs. However, the way these elements are pronounced and written are specific to the individual using them. While following guidelines, we each learn how to utilize languages in our own way.
But what most people forget is that we don’t just speak languages, we also see them. Creatives are taught how to develop their visual vocabulary. They communicate through their graphical and material representations. Their work becoming a physical manifestation of their process and intentions. They each have their own language and continue personalizing it, one creation at a time.
The creative industries are perpetually adapting and changing. Individuals tackle relevant and important subjects. They choose to not only better themselves, but the world in which we all live in, by being human-centric. This key factor is the reason businesses should never forgo benefitting from them. The creative process isn’t just for designers anymore. It is the missing link for corporations in finding new perspectives and solutions, to known or unperceived issues.
Alice has understood this necessity and took on the role of interpreter, between the different levels of society, by developing a three-tiered campaign around it.
The first one is the red dot campaign. As Alice’s logo, the dot symbolizes the all-encompassing and inclusive nature of the organization. The color red was selected since it is one of the colors found on the flag. It was also selected to demonstrate that whomever shares in the values of Alice, also becomes an ambassador of Italy and its heritage. Regardless of ethnicity, gender or geographic location, when you support Alice, you are part of its extended family. You become blood.
The Red Seal
This campaign aims to give a voice to the faceless, to give freedom to people who are no longer behind bars and to best demonstrate how a shared value-system can change a country, one person at a time.
Each participant is presented in an authentic manner, without artifice. While they are anonymous, they introduce themselves with their words: who they are, why they chose to become advocates for Alice and the concrete actions they are taking. Their actions become more important than their physical appearance.
The second element is the origami fortune teller. While it may appear to be a strange medium to introduce Alice, there are clear similarities between the two. The first parallel we can make is in accordance to the fact that more than one person is required, to initiate the conversation. You have one person operating the fortune teller, while another guides it. Another similarity is that level of personal and social engagement required to build, play and then accomplish the action or engage with the answer found at the end. The final element is the network effect of our decision-making process, within both the game and the organization.
All of these factors are also important for Alice. In order for Alice to be successful, it needs different members, at all-levels of participation. Systematically, the choices taken will either guide the issue or work to resolve it. While we may start with two players, just like the game, there is a contagiousness in one’s willingness to help others in our society. One person’s passion becomes the starting point of much greater things for all.
The outer layer shows words that best represent characteristics of Alice’s mission. The numbers, in the second step, represent the UN Global Goals for 2030 which best apply to the organization’s mandate. Finally, the player is shown an affirmation which ties into Alice’s manifesto. All of them begin with ‘ I am’ and become positive reinforcements for the user of the fortune teller.
The third method is in the form of an informational booklet, which becomes an archival artefact, in itself. It is the educational tool that can be displayed and shared. Containing the key facts on Alice, the affiliation to Italy is the most present, as it utilizes the colors of the Italian flag. This campaign also removes the harshness associated with the penal system, by giving it a design centered around the beauty of coming together and becoming ambassadors of Italy.
Beauty in design is a necessity. It becomes a tool of communication. Beauty and sustainability have a bright future together, because the preconceived notions of what sustainability should look like is no longer valid. Sustainable can be beautiful. In fact, it has to be. Otherwise, the general public will have greater difficulty in believing in its true power.
If the scale was to be modified, the reading of the document would pertain to an exhibition-style format. Each panel would allow the reader to enter into a journey of discovery on who and what Alice does.
The selected tools
When the three campaigns come together, Alice demonstrates the new language that it has created. It even translates it, in three different ways, to better ensure that every stakeholder can best understand and share it with others. Since we personalize our language, we can also personalize elements of the different campaigns. Just like any other language, Alice’s gives you the necessary base, but lets you make it your own.
By making these creative decisions, it is Alice’s want to not only build its own brand, but also societies. Alice creates for people. Their processes can lead to a better planet, but most importantly, to a more fulfilling future within Italy.
Alice demonstrates that the smallest gesture can make a large impact towards sustainable development goals. That change can be incremental and the more you see the positive impact it can make, the more you will want to pursue it.
Anna-Maria AbbruzzoArt Direction
Anna-Maria AbbruzzoGraphic Design
Ghislaine Sauve TongJunior Graphic Design
Laurie Bedikian (EMBA)Dialogue Development and Project Copy
Genres:Graphic, printed, web, campaign, color
Date Taken:February 25, 2020
Country of Origin:Canada
Camera:Canon EOS Mark IV
Lens:Canon EF 24-70 F.2.8
ISO / Film:100
Anna is an ideas-driven designer. She finds ways to create new social interactions and business opportunities. She proposes innovative solutions to help artists, designers and companies build their respective brands. Latin-American born, European raised and residing in North America, this allows her to simultaneously understand the tangible and intangible characteristics of these markets. Anna runs a design studio with offices in Milan and Westmount, Abbruzzo+Associates (www.abbruzzoandassociates.com) and is a partner at ArtContext'Cultured based Montreal (www.artcontext.ca)
Bollo Rosso Campaign
Alice works with marginalized communities, around Italy. The majority of these communities is comprised of women prisoners. These women have a stigma attached to them, for the rest of their lives. Even after their release, once their past identities are known, they are not allowed to forget their previous problems; moving forward becomes difficult. They might be free, but still feel like they are behind bars. They do not have the luxury that others have: going about their lives in peace.
We, as ‘the outside world’ don’t share in that stigma. We can show our faces without any fear of repercussion. However, it is as if we choose not to. It is time that we learn from these communities. By participating in Alice’s success, we share the stigma, to better break it.
It is no longer about who we are (or may have been), it is about demonstrating what we can do.
These women are considered faceless, yet they hold so much power. Their newly acquired skills are the key to maintaining Italian traditions and craftsmanship.
Evoking the work of John Baldessari, each participant has Alice’s logo placed on their faces. By abstracting the models faces, everyone becomes simultaneously as faceless, yet as powerful as Alice’s employees.
Baldessari’s work with the colored circles conjure the importance of looking beyond the surface, to dig deeper than what we see at first glance. He took mundane civic events and transformed them into a scenario-where the elements normally perceived as secondary- now become the focus. Creating a color code, he utilized red to evoke a sense of urgency, giving that person an aura of danger.
In this campaign, we appropriate this idea of dangerous people and make the viewer alter their preconceived notion of appearances. Since we do not see the face of the model, one can not judge based on physicality. Their presence in Alice’s sphere is not based on where they come from, but what they are doing to the organization succeed. Their stories are what matters.
The color red no longer becomes a symbol of danger. Red now unifies us all. It becomes a new visual reference.
Each person becomes just as much of a stakeholder as the faceless few, behind the scenes. We all become Alice; therefore, we all become Italy.
As members of the Alice community, we are equal in the process. We erase borders, nationalities and social classes. Being Alice means that you share the same values of work, legacy, pride, craftsmanship, sustainability and innovation.
When Alice thrives, Italy thrives.
Campaign Tone of Voice
While considering the tone to take, in the creation of this campaign, we went to the roots of its two key components: Alice and Italy. During the exploratory stages, we started to enumerate the key characteristics which best described Alice as an organization. Once the list was created, we did a cross-analysis with the desired criteria in our brand’s personality, the emotional appeal anticipated, the chosen tone and how to keep it consistent with the graphic design being developed simultaneously.
Our analysis showed that the junction of all of these elements, came to the pairing of empower and advocate.
To empower means to give power or authority. It is to enable or permit.
Being an advocate is defined as being a person supporting an idea or a cause publicly.
In parallel, we researched Italy. We discovered that the country’s official motto is: “L’Italia e' una Repubblica democratica, fondata sul lavoro." Translated to English, as "Italy is a democratic Republic, founded on labor."
By joining these two findings, we concluded the following:
By breaking down the country’s motto, we can see that our choice of empower and advocate align perfectly with the motto. Italy is a democratic Republic. In order for it to be democratic, it implies that it is based on the notion of equality for all. Equality comes from the empowerment of all, where we all have access to the same routes to success.
The second half of the motto mentions the labor required to build something worth preserving (an entity built on everyone’s work) where everyone is an active stakeholder in the process; therefore, we are all advocates of its success.
By drawing these parallels between Italy and Alice, we see that this organization has become a contemporary physical manifestation of Italy’s values. This shared value-system reinforces the language used throughout the campaign, especially while using the tag lines I am Alice and I am Italy. These statements become interchangeable, since once you are an active member of the Alice family, you become Italy; and this regardless of gender, ethnicity and geographic location.
The visual language came to enhance these characteristics of empowerment and advocacy, in order to create a cohesive vision of who Alice is and what they aim to achieve.
The visual identity overview touches on the brand’s foundation, visual identity breakdown, tenets, principles, program, visual identity usage, logomark and wordmark intent, symbol, pattern and color intent, layout, grids, strategy, visual assets and educational campaign.