Symbol for Ukraine
In March 2022, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Cooper Creative set a brief to create a symbol to show support for Ukraine. It went out to various creative agencies and designers.
You can read the full story below, but what was crucial is that the additional insight about the visual reference to the letter Z, was only identified through the judging process, and the input from Ukrainian creatives. None of the entries went through and there’s a second competition with a new brief.
Whilst I was pleased with my solution, clearly, the audience wouldn’t have been.
Always ask the audience.
And ask them early.
Symbol for Ukraine
This is a simple call to action for the best design minds to create a symbol that’s more powerful than the ‘Z’, to unite us and peace loving Russians in support for the Ukraine, peace and human rights. The symbol should be simple enough to be used as a template so children can design their own version, and translated to various mediums such as graffiti, projection mapping or badges.
Z, the last letter in the alphabet, has become a symbol of terror. The symbol of the end of things. We can reverse this end game and go back to the start adopting the letter A. Create a new symbol that rejects the hierarchy of authority. “Anti-Anarchy”. A symbol that can be created by anyone, anywhere and transforms the intended meaning of the Z.
The judging process was very tough and there was no clear winning symbol, as none of the symbols were considered to be both powerful enough to counter the Z, nor show clear support for Ukraine beyond use of the national colour scheme. Hence, we are re-opening the competition and re-briefing inline with important insights that emerged during the judging process.
One significant insight was that our Ukrainian judges explained that visual references to the Z are not well received in Ukraine, and so should not be included in the symbol - which we did not know at the outset.