Manchester branding company Squad has designed an identity and brand guidelines for a flood awareness campaign launched by the Environment Agency.
Squad founders Robert Gray and David Barraclough were asked to create a flood awareness brand identity – much like the Fire Kills and Think campaigns – and create a set of guidelines that can be used by local organisations and support groups to raise awareness of flood safety in high risk areas.
The company devised a brand message, Floods Destroy – Be Prepared, and a logo featuring a thin blue line which represents a waterline. The line can also be applied to stationery, stickers and images.
“The agency’s brief was to create a simple idea that can be used by third party organisations such as charities and local support groups who don’t have access to art studios or professional printers” explains Gray. “Flooding is a very local issue, but they wanted to create a national identity for flood awareness, rather than have these groups create their own disparate materials,” he adds.
The wording of the campaign message is based on research conducted in local communities: the tone had to be serious but less severe than fire and road safety campaigns, says Gray, as while flooding does kill, the damage it causes is often to homes and possessions.
The straight blue line has been used to dramatic effect in sample imagery created by Squad which features stock shots retouched using basic editing tools.
“We limited ourselves to the standard tools people were likely to have available – most won’t have a big photography spend,” says Barraclough. “We’ve already seen people apply their own effects online and on Twitter, and they seem to have really embraced the idea. We hope people will continue to use it – we wanted to create a platform for action, rather than a pristine brand image,” he adds.
“It’s been very different to a lot of projects we’ve worked on – most are structured around bought and paid for media but for this, we came up with the idea and have tried to inspire people about how to use it,” adds Gray. “It’s a very grassroots model, which proved quite an interesting learning process for us and interesting in terms of how future public awareness campaigns could be structured,” he adds.
Since the campaign launched last week, the Environment Agency has set up a Twitter hashtag #floodaware, allowing other groups to post their own imagery and information. The Met Office and The AA have also begun to use the logo and blue line in flood communications, says Barraclough.
While it would have been nice to see even more creative produced for the campaign, Squad has designed a simple, effective set of guidelines that should help local groups and residents deliver more coherent communications in areas where flooding is a real concern, and the brand message is clear, concise and memorable.