Branding studio venturethree has designed a visual identity and ad campaign for a new website from Sky, Talk Talk, BT and Virgin Media promoting children’s safety online.
Internetmatters.org provides tips and advice for parents on protecting their children from online grooming, cyberbullying, privacy and identity theft and inappropriate content.
It also provides a glossary of internet terms, instructions on how to set up parental controls and links to external resources such as charities and support groups. The site was designed and developed by VML.
Creative director Darren Watkins says the brand’s identity is based on “the vernacular of the internet”: the website features a simple layout, clearly divided into age groups and key issues, and uses an RGB colour palette accompanied by shades of grey.
Print ads and animations feature the same colour scheme and illustrate some unsettling statistics, such as the fact that 60 percent of teens using the web have been asked for a sexual image of video of themselves.
Stats are presented in commonly used typefaces, including Times New Roman and Comic Sans, while graphics are limited to basic symbols and emoticons.
“The look is super-simple….When we were doing our research, the facts were so arresting that we didn’t think there was a need for another layer. Presenting them with complete neutrality nails the awareness job right away,” explains Watkins.
Venturethree was also responsible for naming the initiative and Watkins says its double meaning reflects the seriousness of the issue.
“We were asked to create a name, brand and tone of voice – nothing existed and there was no guidance on what to do or not to do, which is great,” he says.
“The only considerations were that the tone of voice needed to be ISP neutral [not associated with any one of the four companies running it], and that the brand should make parents feel confident and empowered…it should be simple, self explanatory and approachable,” he says.
With topics such as this, brands must strike a careful balance between making parents aware of the dangers their children face without causing unecessary distress. Internet Matters’ branding does this by highlighting risks while also reassuring parents that help and advice is available, and that there are ways to keep their children safe.
The site’s layout is intuitive, making it easy for parents of varying internet literacy levels to use, and while the ads aren’t designed to look beautiful, they command attention without relying on extreme shock tactics.
“Our objective was to create something engaging and informative with high impact,” says venturethree’s strategy director Liam Hamill.
“It’s not about telling parents how to be better parents. But to encourage them to talk about the internet with their children, learn about important information to keep them safe and what action to take to deal with issues should they arise. It’s summed up in the tagline – Learn about it. Talk about it. Deal with it,” he adds.