The Switchers by

Client: SwitchMed
Year: 2015
Tags: Art Direction, Brand Narratives, Campaign, Creative Direction in Production, Editorial Design, Editorial Environment, Web design
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To make the Switch

The concept of the “Switchers” was created with the purpose to spread a message of change, encourage joining and suggest community through promotion of the green endorsers involved in the SwitchMed programme. SwitchMed is a regional programme funded by the European Union and collaboratively coordinated by the EU and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The aim with the programme is to support and connect stakeholders in this eco-social community in the Mediterranean Area and move towards a flourishing future.

Introducing the big picture

We got in touch with Roser Gasol, the communication officer from the SwitchMed programme in late 2014. Roser attended an exhibition of Eldorado Experience and was impressed by art direction as well as the idea behind Eldorado; a collective of diverse skilled creatives building a network with a broad field of disciplines. This was the start of a one year process of finding and developing a strategy to communicate the initiative through branding journalism. Our engagement to the SwitchMed project lasted one year and ended up involving a wide range of services, from conceptualisation and exhibition design to art direction and web development, finally generating a transmedia editorial environment around the Switchers’ concept.

The Switchers made the cases into stories, moved institutional to inspirational and worked as a humanised communication tool for an institutional initiative. The Switchers are individuals, companies or organisations that are developing eco and social innovative solutions, contributing to sustainable and fair consumption and production models within the Mediterranean region. Through their actions and inspirational stories they encourage the society to follow their good example, to make the switch. To approach the Southern Mediterranean, that is often mentioned in poor context, we needed to make a switch turn. We wanted to show a different side of the area and its people, frame the beautiful nature, the ambitious people and the great initiatives.

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The Switchers
Photo by Jean-Marc Joseph

The Policy Maker by Goroka

Turning activity into newsworthy content through creativity

Crossing different types of media and information, the goal was to communicate and add visibility to the programme by creating a brand journalism and creative concept including a newspaper, fact sheets, an online platform and an exhibition within the SwitchMed Connect event including photography, storytelling and mini documentaries. The content was created from detection of inspirational cases – stories of the people who are changing the world – together with Burcu Tunçer, Giorgio Mosangini and Miquela Grimalt i Vigo and further developed by deeper contact with the entrepreneurs and stakeholders in terms of interviews and visits to their workspaces. The Switchers cases was turned into stories and visual content through a journalistic approach. The importance of this approach when related to branding is the reliability of the information – both institutional and inspirational – and the great ability to reach out to a big crowd of people with different origins and culture.

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The roof of the guest room at Mornag Eco Farm, Tunisia. Photo by Jean-Marc Joseph

Capturing inspirational activities

With vivid colour photos of the entrepreneurs in their natural environments we worked on humanising the art direction of photography. Filmmaker Guille Cascante from Goroka traveled to Khouribga in Morocco to visit the eco farm Biodôme du Maroc and meet the founder Fatima Zahra and reflect the life at farm in the mini documentary “The Entrepreneur.”  In Amman, Jordan the Goroka team had the possibility to meet the senior advisor at the Ministry of Environment Raouf Dabbas to get an exclusive interview covering big questions in the video “The Policy Maker”. Another documentary was also made by the Goroka team, featuring different switchers on different locations with a narrator voice explaining the concept of “The Switchers” in a beautiful reflection.

“The Entrepreneur” by Goroka

“The Policymaker”  by Goroka

“The Switchers” by Goroka

Photographer and filmmaker Jean-Marc Joseph was sent out to document and visit the chosen stakeholders in Beirut, Lebanon where the CyclingCircle was founded by young enthusiastic bike entrepreneurs. He also traveled to Tunis, capital of Tunisia to meet Amine, founder of the Mornag EcoFarm, a farm where the traditional methods and new sustainable innovations are the driving force. 

CyclingCircle by Jean-Marc Joseph

Mornag Eco Farm by Jean-Marc Joseph

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Illustrations by Ángela Palacios 

Sarah Parot was entrusted with writing the stories of the Switchers based on interviews and old cases. The artist Ángela Palacios was asked to contribute with her expressive illustrations to support the stories on the platform and the illustrator Romualdo Faura supplied with clear, detailed, duo toned infographics explaining the process and development within the community. Together with this collective of creatives we had the possibility to document this project through stories translated into two languages, skillfully executed imagery and beautiful interpreted illustrations.

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Fact sheets designed for SwitchMed with illustrations and infographics by Romualdo Faura

Reaching the audience with responsive structures

Together with the developer Andreu Llos we started to design a functional, fluid and inspiring platform where the photos and videos of Goroka and Jean-Marc Joseph could be shared. Being built on a WordPress framework, the platform makes possible for many editors to manage simultaneously both the institutional and communicative multi-language content in a responsive design. To reach the audience in an efficient way, the homepage of the Switchers platform gathers the latest news about the project and selected stories divided by activity and country. Each Switcher story allows a comfortable reading experience and the user can easily navigate through the platform and measure the length of the story with a considered horizontal scroll bar. Since the aim for this project is to spread a message, all content is easily shared to social networks and distributed with respect for large images and other media.

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The Notebook we designed for SwitchMed

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The Switchers platform is built upon a WordPress framework.

Consistency and human warmth

The warm orange is the key colour of the design and sets a humanised energy to the platform. This key colour, in contrast with the light grey background, gives the design a timeless yet modern expression and gives clear graphic guidance within the platform.

The main typographic use for the Switchers platform is Mercury Text designed by Hoefler & Co in 1997. Mercury has a consistency, a journalistic statement with reliability and readability in both big and small sizes but also conveys a humanistic feeling. The complementary sans-serif typeface is Source Sans, designed by Paul D. Hunt in 2012 for Adobe. Source Sans is a geometric, modern typeface that has its roots in the 20th century American gothic typefaces, designed to provide clarity and legibility. Combined, they give a clear expression to the design and content.

An aware exhibition

We were in charge of the exhibition The Switchers, held in CCCB in the framework of the SwitchMed Connect yearly event. The event is the first of its kind organised by SwitchMed in order to create awareness around the project, exchange knowledge and build a network between the founders and the Switchers. The exhibition space includes thirty columns, each one representing one of the Switchers by telling their story through words and images. The Switchers columns feature screens showing slideshows about the Switchers and are divided by six key colours: each colour representing a specific activity, such as “Sustainable Agriculture & Fishing”, “Sustainable housing & construction” and “Waste Management”. Spread out in the exhibition hall on big screens are the mini documentaries produced by Goroka and Jean-Marc Joseph, giving a strong impression to the visitors.

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Speech during the inauguration of The Switchers Exhibition at the SwitchMed Connect Event at CCCB
Photo by Leo García Mendez

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Visitors from the whole Mediterranean region at The Switchers Exhibition held in CCCB
Photo by Leo García Mendez

In the occasion of the event, the newspaper “The Big Picture” was launched as a support for the exhibition. Through the beautiful images of Jean-Marc Joseph and informational content of the newspaper we are getting introduced to The SwitchMed program and the ideas behind the Switchers initiative.

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The newspaper “The Big Picture”

SwitchMed is a regional programme funded by the European Union (EU) and collaboratively coordinated by the EU, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP), Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), and the UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (UNEP/DTIE).

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Art Direction, Campaign, Creative Direction in Production, Editorial Design, Naming, Web design. SwitchMed. 2015