The Occupy London movement has a new identity. The winning logo, created and voted for anonymously, won over 17 others in a public vote for the recent open competition.
The work of renowned social activist and legendary graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook, the winning project was undertaken pro bono and will be implemented across web and social media communications. It is also available for download for printed collateral and materials for future protests and campaigns.
Until the new logo was agreed last week, the movement had been using an altered identity based on the Transport for London’s infamous roundel. This breach of trademark which caused TfL to to seek legal action for the cessation of the mark, which prompted the launch of the open callout to find a replacement logo and identity.
Occupy London has mounted a peaceful protest in the city since October 2011 to stand against corporate greed and work towards a “future free from austerity, growing inequality, unemployment, tax injustice and a political elite who ignores its citizens” (Occupy London website).
A spokesman for Occupy London, Spyro van Leemnen, states in Design Week that “Occupy London is a movement that fights for social and economic equality and all our decisions are made by practicing direct democracy. So we thought that the best way to choose our new logo would be an open, democratic competition that would give the opportunity to people to be creative and contribute to the movement by providing us with their logo design ideas.”
Barnbrook was approached to take part as one of his fonts was already in use for one of the Occupy London publications. His work has been peppered with involvement in political agenda, and in he was a signatory to the First Things First 2000 manifesto, which sought to promote graphic design for positive cultural and global change.
Barnbrook, the agency founded as the designer’s namesake has been at the forefront of graphic design since it’s inception in 1990.The Virus Foundry, launched in 1997 is the outlet for Barnbrook’s controversially names fonts including Exocet, Bastard, Prozac and Nixon, strong in social commentary if only by title. The work of Barnbrook was celebrated in an exhibition at the Design Museum in London in 2007.
The new logo uses a version of Barnbrook’s Patriot font, and the creator feels the finished item is “quite a traditional piece of design” (Design Week, 14th December 2011). The identity takes a simple approach of portraying the themes of targets, occupation and power, and is easily translated across print, digital and social media.
The simplicity and art deco feel has met with mixed criticism and acclaim, and online debates have arisen around the issue of why a celebrity designer won the competition.
Despite the identity being the official logo, Occupy London are an open movement and protesters can use any design they wish; “ we are an open movement”, states Leemnen.