JOE PUBLIC UNITED, Johannesburg / PRIDE OF AFRICA / 2020
In 34/54 African countries, many LGBTQ+ activities are illegal – in some, punishable by death. Africa’s first LGBTQ+ rights march was held in South Africa in 1990, but after 30 years, Johannesburg Pride remained one of the only legal Pride marches on the continent.
BRIEF & OBJECTIVE
Johannesburg Pride wanted to expand its purpose beyond South Africa’s borders and take up the fight for all LGBTQ+ Africans becoming the first local Pride march to represent a continent. But first, it needed to create a new brand. What was previously a single-city Pride had to become the first-ever pan-African LGBTQ+ platform: Pride of Africa.
BUDGET & SCALE
We needed to create a new brand identity for Africa’s first all-Africa Pride march, with a complete design system for collateral to be adapted for roll-out across the continent. Given the organisation’s non-profit nature, all agency work was pro-bono and media placement was sponsored
We turned our brand logo into the first all-African rainbow flag inspired by all 54 African flags. To do this, we distilled each flag down to its simplest form, inspired by the Pride colours. This gave us a unique design system, combining elements from every flag to create an adaptive wordmark for Pride of Africa a versatile brandmark that could be translated into a set of flags as diverse as each country’s Pride community, yet as unified as their fight for free expression. A number of flag variants were created, allowing the LGBTQ+ community in each African country to be represented by their own unique flag, while a number of flag applications were designed, including flagpoles and ‘sheet flags’ to be carried and worn, and large-scale parade banners. The identity was also expressed through a poster series featuring LGBTQ+ community members wearing the flag as a proud symbol of liberation.
Referencing each of the 54 African flags, we distilled each flag down to its simplest form, inspired by the Pride colours. This gave us a unique design system, combining elements from every flag to create an adaptive wordmark for Pride of Africa.
We launched the new brand symbol at the first Pride of Africa march, with a range of elements, including a variety of flags for different applications large traditional-format flags were hoisted on flagpoles, while scaled down 'sheet flags’ were draped and worn as clothing items and headbands. Large scale fabric banners were applied to prominent outdoor spaces and carried overhead by throngs of Pride-goers as a proud new symbol of African LGBTQ+ liberation. Series of billboard and outdoor poster executions were also placed at key points along the parade route, featuring members of the LGBTQ+ community wearing the flag as a proud new symbol of liberation and change.
The new identity was launched at the first Pride of Africa march, held in Johannesburg on 26th October 2019. For the first time, LGBTQ+ Africans from across the continent could feel truly celebrated, marching united under one African Pride flag: a symbol of liberation and hope that represented each of their nationalities and at the same time recognised them as valued citizens of Africa when their own countries did not. The identity was embraced by a live crowd that broke attendance records by 200%. At the same time, the launch was documented internationally across media channels – including traditional, digital and social media in countries where it was safe to do so – and livestreamed through underground channels where it was not. Then, barely two months later, the flag was embraced again, as another African country, Botswana, celebrated its first-ever Pride parade under the Pride of Africa flag.