MODERNIZE THE POSITIONING OF AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION BY UPDATING ITS VISUAL UNIVERSE
As part of their 2015-2020 Development Plan, the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) hired 32MARS to identify the motivations and evaluate the interest of municipal administrations in becoming members of the OWHC, improve the organization’s communications with its members, and develop a recruitment strategy for new members. The OWHC’s mission is to help its member cities to adapt and improve their heritage management methods based on the particular requirements imposed by UNESCO World Heritage sites.
First, 32MARS carried out a study on the international markets in the OWHC’s member and non-member cities to identify the key elements for ensuring the participation of OWHC cities. The analysis of a survey proved that there was a need to reaffirm and modernize the OWHC’s positioning. And so, the Organization entrusted 32MARS’s team with updating its visual universe and optimizing its communication tools with the goal of positioning the OWHC as a future-focused organization that is concerned with its members’ issues.
The goal of the OWHC’s graphic universe update was to illustrate the Organization’s reputation as an authority in world heritage. The overhaul process comprised several steps, two of which were key: updating the current elements and designing a new concept.
The analysis and update of the colour scheme, typography, and layouts presented a real challenge. Since the OWHC is an international, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization, it was paramount to choose universal symbols and icons that will be interpreted the same way by everyone.
The first step consisted in analyzing and reworking the colour scheme, typography, and layouts. The former colours of the OWHC reflected the patrimonial aspect of the Organization more than their new initiatives. This was revised by slightly adjusting the shades and their uses. Wine red and ochre yellow evolved into coral red and mustard yellow, respectively. These warm shades bring out the human and accessible side of the OWHC. They were also reversed in the visual identity to improve the visual balance. As for the blue, it was desaturated to harmonize with the two other colours. What’s more, its new shade makes it possible to be used for all running text, replacing black.
The typography was streamlined to create increased consistency between the communication tools. Two fonts were selected: one for titles and body text and another for decorative titles. Their shape adds an interesting contrast to the universe. Their serifs give them a classic, timeless, and patrimonial look on top of facilitating the reading of long texts, while their modern details evoke the future and new initiatives.
Finally, the positioning of text in relation to the icon was reworked. It’s possible to use the icon alone, the icon with the acronym in three languages, the icon and one language, and the icon with titles in five languages. For this last option, the five languages are present in order to quickly indicate the international division of the Organization. They are separated with vertical lines to highlight each one while retaining their equal level of importance.
OWHC members viewed the proposals and voted on them during the international congress held in Gyeongju, South Korea.