Cannes Lions

A Brand You Can Feel

ZEROTRILLION, Amsterdam / CANADIAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND / 2021

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Case Film

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

The CNIB had gone through a rebrand less than a year before this project. The result was a bold, colorful visual identity designed well by designers at an excellent agency. However, a bold, colorful visual identity couldn’t be appreciated by much of their core audience, obviously.

We spoke with the CNIB and asked how we could change that together. That last word was crucial. The reason the prior rebrand missed the mark so completely was because it was made for the blind community, instead of with the blind community.

We wanted to correct that. With the client, our main objective was to involve the visually impaired community and build an experience that bridges the gap to the sighted community.

Idea

Create a branded experience that can be experienced equally by both visually impaired and sighted audiences. A new brand identity for the CNIB that tells the story of the brand and its purpose through touch.

Strategy

We created the first tactile brand identity – placed on signage, posters, brand collateral and more, telling the story of the CNIB with touch. Whether you’re visually impaired or sighted, you feel the same experience.

And it wasn’t designed for the blind community. It was designed by them at the CNIB Community Hub in Toronto. We conducted a co-creation session with blind and sighted community to explore what the CNIB means and how to represent its purpose as a texture.

They said the CNIB helps them overcome the thousands of daily challenges of sight loss – helping create order from the chaos of those daily struggles. Together with the community, we designed a tactile brand to tell that story. The result is thousands of small rough shapes that, as you run your fingers across them, become more orderly and harmonized. It reflects how the CNIB turns stumbling blocks into stepping

Execution

To bring it to life, we pioneered a new use for raised-polymer printing. While originally designed to produce braille, we tweaked the technology to become a type of 3d printer that could build the new tactile identity on brand artifacts – from handrails that guide the visually impaired into the community hubs, to posters, phone cases, business cards and more.

They tell the story of the CNIB. But what’s even more meaningful is that whether you’re blind, visually impaired, or sighted, you feel the story just the same. It’s not a more-inclusive identity; it’s an inclusive identity. We previewed the new identity at the Community Hub in Toronto, and launched the campaign video for Canada’s National AccessAbility Week in May 2020, sharing the video through 1 to 1 email, web, social media and through media relations.

Outcome

We debuted the new identity at the Community Hub in Toronto to tremendous positivity and excitement from community members, staff, executives and the general public. What was most touching was seeing how attendees with visually impairment discovered the texture. Touching it, they were surprised, intrigued, curious, and then moved. It captured a feeling that was so personal to them, and many told us they were quite proud it was made by the community itself.

Today, the new tactile brand identity has moved from innovative pilot project to become a brand standard. It’s currently being deployed across the CNIB’s Community Hubs nationwide. It’s impact you can feel.