Role: Branding Designer
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI for short) is a global affairs think tank, founded in 1960. Its mission is "to inspire people to act on injustice and inequality through collaborative research and ideas that matter for people and the planet." It does this through "research, convening and influencing, to lead new thinking and future agendas to deliver transformational change."
Entering a new era of their life as an organisation that advocates for positive change across the world, ODI reached out to Keko London to develop a full rebrand that would be a tangible refocus landmark in their journey.
This has been the most comprehensive and overall impactful visual identity I’ve worked on in my career, from start to finish, and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out.
The strategy team at Keko went through many stakeholder interviews to understand what was driving the internal transition and what ODI identified with. Quite organically we came to the conclusion that ODI’s persona is that of the rebel reformer. This duality between passionate & rational was going to be the guiding principle for laying out the foundations of the branding: strong reputable research, a passion for change, and a will to get there together.
The O in the new brand logotype is formed by four quadrants which celebrate these values: from top right clockwise, energy, grounded professionalism, globality, connection. The outlook of three letters had to be bold and impactful, in line with the personality of the ‘rebel reformer’.
A huge focus of our branding process was accessibility. With such a diverse audience, it was important to ensure that ODI reports were accessible to (non-alphabetic) foreign readers as well as to the colour-blind or hearing impaired. Two comprehensive colour palettes, one rational and one passionate, were defined to complement each other, with high contrast in mind.
Typography was selected with the aim of optimal display legibility and minimal body copy strain over long reads.
ODI often relies on stock imagery, event and reportage photography that by its nature doesn’t feel particularly refined. Our guidelines aimed at turning this into a strength, emphasising the quality of photography as a tool to showcase reality without filters. The layered graphics applied to imagery signify the structuring and digesting of complex information by the researchers.
Luca Romeo — Design & Illustration
London / Milan
© Luca Romeo 2023