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How do we design a cohesive, agile and fresh identity for innovation work at UNICEF?

“The speed at which global problems — from disease outbreaks, to the global refugee crisis, to millions of out-of-school children — disrupt the lives of children around the world is only getting faster. UNICEF innovates in order to stay agile and find solutions to the evolving challenges affecting all children.”

The UNICEF innovation identity was created to share a clear and cohesive story about who we are, what we do and how we do it. The identity conveys the personality of a team that is agile, fresh, forward thinking and optimistic.  

The innovation ‘identity’ has always been a work in progress, with fragments of colours palettes and fonts being pulled up as the need arises. We were always hesitant to create a brand for UNICEF Innovation, not wanting to be too distinct or separate from the larger UNICEF brand. Our design team tasked itself with trying to create something that reaches a happy medium while also staying authentic to the UNICEF Innovation agenda. The term ‘no brand branding’ came about and stuck. After many iterations, collecting stories and consultations with the larger team, the UNICEF Innovation identity was created to follow four clear principles:

honour UNICEF

Innovation is here to strengthen UNICEF’s mission.

Reflect innovation principles

Our identity is agile, sustainable, scalable and open for both our team and for our audiences.

Be easy to apply

Communication materials will be built with open fonts, complementary & contemporary colours, curated photographs and templates that are practical and easy to apply.

Be simple and clear

A simple, fresh and optimistic look that lets our audiences know we’re confident about our work.

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Colour Palettes of Optimism

A bright blue sky and a ray of sunlight? Yes please. These colours are poppy, optimistic and fresh when combined in the right ways. This blue becomes our primary colour with a splash of yellow for support. The secondary palette comes mostly from UNICEF’s main brand guidelines. They work with our primary palette and we wanted to use them for data visualizations, maps, websites, information graphics etc. Plus, aren’t they fun to look at?

Free & Open Fonts

The fonts we chose are open source, free, easy to use across platforms and, when paired well, give a contemporary aesthetic to all of our work.

Sharp, bold, playful icons

This approach is reflective of our involvement with technology and plays with primary shapes as opposed to abstract curves. The design makes it much easier to build additional icons along the way.


Curated Imagery

UNICEF WeShare has a great photo bank. Together with our Communications team, we curated high quality images which speak to the Innovation identity. We bucketed images according to innovation projects and focus areas for ease of use.


Brand Extension

The UNICEF Innovation brand was built to be applied across a variety of platforms and use cases. Since our work is so diverse, the identity needed to be agile enough to be used through presentations, social media, information graphics, digital products, print publications etc. Below are a few examples of the brand being applied to a variety of our work:

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