• 2019

  • Social Impact

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

World Vision Australia

Designed In:


Australian Government policy held some 119 refugee children on the island of Nauru for five years. #kidsoffnauru launched a hashtag and open-source brand that let participants build a massive, visible grassroots movement. Soon 102 of 119 kids were relocated—and now all kids and their families have been moved to safety.

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  • On the Pacific island of Nauru, a humanitarian crisis had developed. The Australian government’s policy of indefinite detention led to some 650 refugees being held on a prison-like island for 5 years, leading to medical and mental health crises. Children were diagnosed with resignation syndrome, self-harming and begging to die. But it was out of sight, out of mind for most people. World Vision sought to bring the issue to light, moving Australians across the political spectrum to call for action.

  • Research showed few Australians knew children were detained. So we developed a simple narrative: that while the refugee crisis is complex, locking up children is never the answer. We gained consent to share stories of real children trapped on Nauru, creating emotional connection to the cause. Then we created a robust open-source brand that gave participants the power to create their own collateral—enabling an emotive and authentic grassroots campaign with high recognisability.

  • Launching in August, we coordinated voices across Australia, providing messaging to major charities and influencers like Sam Neill and Hugh Jackman, earning global media attention. By October a YouGov Galaxy poll showed 80% of Australians wanted #kidsoffnauru. By November, 102 of 119 kids were relocated—and the government has now moved all kids and their families to safety. Facing an intractable 5-year old problem, World Vision and #kidsoffnauru won an inspiring human rights victory in 6 months.

  • The strategy demanded finesse and careful consideration, as it needed to be approachable for leaders and campaigners across the breadth of the Australian political spectrum. It was important that the brand identity communicated the gravity of the situation, yet was also modern, inspiring, and easy for the thousands of staff, campaigners, and members of the general public to use. A strong statement formed the cornerstone of the campaign, based on the insight that most Australians feel comfortable saying ‘Locking up children is never the answer’. Bold, simple and punchy—to match the strength of the campaign’s key slogan, we developed a visual identity with strength and clarity. As a primarily social campaign, we took inspiration from the hash-tag that we knew would be ever present throughout the life of #kidsoffnauru, and transformed it into an abstract representation of the children, placing them in the centre of all the campaign communications. The colour palette was drawn from the Australian flag, to link the campaign with a sense of national pride (or shame). The international community had criticised our treatment of asylum seekers, our brand asks the question “Is this an Australia I can be proud of”.