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Thursday Thinky: Humanity, Pride & Activism

This week, the Thinky continues to amplify voices supporting the fight for racial justice while celebrating Pride month—and spotlighting the creativity coming out of the current crisis.

Have a good read!

Creative & Brand

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): We “say their names” and hold up posters. But what do we really know about the indviduals who have been victims of racist crimes and police brutality?

Two young Black creatives—R/GA senior strategist Langston Williams and Sid Lee art director/designer Jaye Thompson—wanted to bring a face and a story to the names we’re seeing (and not seeing) in the headlines. And so, they created “Verify My Humanity,” in response to a brief sent out by Black Lives Matter. In their own words, the idea “was to create something that hijacked the conversation when the next racially motivated act of violence occurred. Something that could spark deeper, more lasting discussions about the victim and wider issues that led to the incident in the first place.”

Harry’s – Design with Pride (Harry’s)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): With so many of this year’s Pride events put on hold because of Coronavirus and the ongoing protests, brands have also been challenged to find other ways to celebrate the month and LGBT+ community. According to Creative Review, “Levi’s has released a rainbow-themed clothing range with 100% of proceeds going to OutRight Action International, while Nike has pledged $500,000 to organizations working to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion,” both wonderful and active contributions to the ongoing fight for equality.

Harrys, the popular shaving brand, took a different approach, turning to the design community for exploration, inspiration, and emotional storytelling. But even beyond the content (from 12 designers across a wide variety of industries, each of them painting a vivid picture of the many meanings of Pride), the website itself is part of the story, with every detail and interaction purposefully considered, right down to the pointer hand and animated rainbow favicon (check your browser tab, it’s delightful). This is a beautiful example of how design isn’t just about visual appeal, but also about user experience. The way we move through our understanding of information is just as powerful in eliciting emotion and engagement as the information itself.

Artists paint a portrait of a pandemic (NPR)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative):There’s been so much incredible creativity put out into the world during these last few months. We shared some of the work from the UN’s COVID-19 brief several Thinky’s ago, but more has since been published. Each piece has a purpose, a soul, and a story, and is a testament to the power of art to connect and inspire us all.


A Century of Posters Protesting Violence Against Black Americans (Muse by Clio)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Using design to communicate through social challenges isn’t a just limited to health crises, and isn’t new phenomenon–there’s a rich history of communicating powerful idea and ideals through visuals for hundreds of years. This article provides a quick yet beautiful exploration of posters that have been used to protest violence against Black Americans throughout the last century. It’s by no means comprehensive, but serves as a great reminder that the concepts, photography, campaigns, stories, and designs we create can have a lasting and powerful impact.


Luckie – Nostalgia, Music and This Pirate Radio Station Bring Older Adults Together (Muse by Clio)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Senior citizens have been some of the hardest hit by the COVID crisis—and not just those who have fallen ill, or lost their lives, from the virus. The isolation of many of our elders in retirement and nursing homes led one agency, Luckie, to create a way to help them stay connected through the power of radio…and nostalgia for the oldies. Enter “Radio Recliner,” a pirate radio staion where DJs from across the country sign up for a shift, take requests from listeners and dedications from their loved ones, and run a three-hour show to bring a little joy and engagement into an otherwise challenging time.



Jazeel Gayle – This Short Film Doubles Up as an Open-Ended Black Lives Matter Activism Tool for Everyone (Little Black Book)

From Melvin (Account Director): As described in the article,“in response to the false premise that the Black Lives Matter movement is somehow un-American, [film producer] Jazeel Gayle, used “the unimpeachable words” of Dr Martin Luther King to drive his point home. The end result is a powerful piece of filmmaking that’s unmistakably American and manages to be celebratory of that fact while rightly highlighting some of the country’s imperfections.” 

To take it further, Gayle designed the video so it can be reused with a blank end card inviting people to add their own call to action to move the movement forward and support the cause.


Barack Obama – How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change (Medium)

From Clara (Senior Account Strategist): President Obama’s voice was a welcome contrast to the messaging spewing out from the White House these days. In his most recent post on Medium, he throws out (in his eloquent yet approachable, passionate yet intellectual way) the lifeline we’ve all been looking for: how to make this moment a true turning point for change.

In these days of anger over the injustices brought yet again to the surface by horrendous abuses of power, President Obama shines a light on a path to channel our resources and our feelings into constructive avenues that will actually have a lasting, positive impact. Particularly salient to me was the focus on enacting change at the local levels; yes, the federal level is important, but the local levels are where policy lives in life and where we need to create change that will be felt. DAs, mayors, sheriffs, and other county and state-level officials are elected positions that in many cases are filled without contest and are enacted without oversight and accountability to the public. We need protests AND policy change. And though it’s tempting to be defeatist about democratic participation, our votes and our voices matter now more than ever. I’m clinging to this message of courage despite adversity and the knowledge that we truly can effect change if we’re smart, willing, and persistent enough to do it.

Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!

PS: If any of the above made your wheels spin, we’d love to hear your thoughts — get in touch with us!

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