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.
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.
With the Switchers we wanted to reach and connect people through motivation, celebration of the stakeholders and with an action and solution oriented mentality. With this positive approach we embraced the challenge in order to create a platform that meets the expectations of this ambitious and interesting initiative.
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.
The photography had to explain the quality of the product the farmer produced, the raw material of a fashion designer, the beauty of the environment where the Switchers live and work and transmit their everyday joy.
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.
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.
“In terms of reward, being able to combine your personal passions with your professional work and deliver a piece that has a real ethical value in the sense that it is meant to, contributes to inspire more people to make ‘the switch’ and try to make the world a little better, just gives a whole sense to what I’m doing.”
Jean-Marc Joseph, regular collaborator with Eldorado
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.
“The initial idea of writing Switchers stories was to inspire people to follow their example, to show that each individual can contribute towards protecting the environment through his individual actions. I was not easy to get in touch with this people from all around the world, talk to them and try to understand what they do, and why they do it. By writing their stories, I have learned so much about the possibilities we have to make this world a better place for all that I can actually say that Switchers have inspired me.”
Sarah Parot, freelance editor and collaborator of Folch & Eldorado
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).