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The story behind the work.

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Case Study : Project Rescue

Project Rescue is a non-profit organization that focuses on the literal rescue and rehabilitation of sex-trafficked women around the world. Intelligence is gathered, sting operations are enabled, brothels are raided, kidnapped women are extracted, and physical, emotional and psychological aid is administered. Awareness of the organization was lackluster as well as the visual identity appearing less than credible. The importance of the work done by Project Rescue was simply not appropriately reflected by their materials, and support for their efforts was slipping, thus jeopardizing the survival of the group.


Once a new visual identity was established it would be applied to a litany of materials: collateral, interactive, informational brochures, trade booth graphics, donation packets, and more. The mandate for this rebranding was adherence to a sensitive approach to concept and style in order to achieve a sense of empathy and compassion for such a delicate issue. When first begun it was the belief of the client that the way to do this was a simple redrawing (“contemporizing”) of their original logo (which happened to be a poorly rendered and straightforward image of a female face).


Although believing from the outset that a new stylistic drawing of the same, existing female face lacked emotion and original message (and therefore unique placement in the market) an initial round of these literal faces were rendered in various styles at the clients’ insistence. The first presentation of these were shown to the client and it became clear to all that these new drawings, though more aesthetic, lacked substance and differentiation-they were forgettable.

Being back at the drawing board brought the need for a new conceptual direction. The same sensitivities of content were in place, but a visual message with deeper dimension was required. To achieve this it would be necessary to do more than show an image of a woman, but to find a way to say something about her and the situation she was in. Photographs and drawings of women would be blanketed across the final materials in conjunction with the logo, reinforcing the diagnosis that the logo itself needed to steer clear of this redundancy.


The very nature of being enslaved is the process of holding back a person from what they would otherwise be capable of being. In order to visually interpret this it seemed relevant to create a symbol of beauty and positive transformation that was somehow squelched from its usual freedom. A butterfly fit perfectly to communicate the first part of this message. It has evolved from a cocoon into a beautiful and delicate creature, and a woman would be likened to this. The fact that butterflies have a strong feminine connotation served to strengthen the metaphor as well. Some form of oppression needed to now be introduced to complete the twist on this analogy. Various ideas were examined such as jail bars, clipped wings, and nails until the symbol of barbed wire was arrived at. Barbed wire became an excellent counterbalance because it was harsh, often militant, and could be wrapped around the body of the butterfly to evoke a sense of repression. With these two contrasting symbols interwoven an emotionally charged analogy to these victims would be embedded into the minds of viewers.


This single image was presented to the client for the second round of presentation. It was agreed by all that this visual metaphor captured much more than the original drawing of a face ever could. It was imbued with emotion, was uniquely memorable, and, most importantly, stirred a much greater percentage of donors to action. This identity would be the cornerstone for the remaining visual language applied to the many formats necessary to reach donors and served as a powerfully engaging brand message.

Circa 2000 Poster

Project Rescue Logo

Circa 2000 Poster


Circa 2000 Poster

Project Rescue Brochure

Circa 2000 Poster

Direct Mail

Circa 2000 Poster

Project Rescue Donor Cards

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