Designing a mark of respect

A new identity from Landor aims to reflect the growing
number of young Americans who are veterans of conflict…

On September 11, the world will remem­ber not just the victims from 9/11 but the casualties from almost every day of the intervening ten years. In the US, the human cost continues to mount, in fatalities (6,000 and counting), injuries and trauma from Iraq and Afghanistan. Such is the legacy from these and other conflicts that, even with an annual budget of $90 billion, the Depart­ment of Veterans Affairs is at full stretch to meet its obligations to war casu­alties and their families.

Many recent veterans are feeling the shortfall in support. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans’ Association (IAVA) was founded by a group of ex-soldiers in 2004 to expose and address what it saw as the unreported issues faced by the two million American men and women who have served in the two conflicts.

Its new brand identity, designed pro bono by Landor, gives the IAVA some campaign­ing muscle. Asked to reflect the new generation of veterans’ “unique diversity, energy and youth”, Landor moved IAVA on from a dutiful but highly forgettable military-style badge to a wordmark whose heavily simplified forms and beefy, stencilled strokes imprint themselves like tank tracks in the sand.

Hits the mark

The identity avoids traditional clichés of trying to bestow dignity and patriotic values. The very word – ‘veteran’ – is alienating huge swathes of the modern armed forces. For the first time, a modern veterans’ organisation has a mark that hits the mark with its young members. It is urban, contemporary and fit for the IAVA’s campaigning purpose: as a lapel badge, on a baseball cap or spray-painted on banners or concrete, there’s no chance of it going missing in action.

Michael Evamy is a copywriter and the author of LOGO. He is currently working on Logotype, to be published by Laurence King in 2012.


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