Monday, 31 October 2011

First Universal Human Rights Logo - by the people, for the people

Do you know that we now have an internationally recognized symbol for human rights? It is a dove-like hand – a simple logo, elegant and easy to understand everywhere in the world.

The first universal human rights logo was designed by Predrag Stakic in the largest ever crowdsourcing event in the world. The 32-year-old Serb said he was inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that human rights are the foundation for creating a free, just and peaceful world.  

“I’ve put that in the design, using two universal symbols – a hand and a dove – to make something new," explained Stakic at the unveiling ceremony alongside the UN General Assembly in New York in late September. 

Stakic unveiling his winning logo
 While there are widely recognized symbols or logos for almost anything from companies like Nike and McDonald’s to peace and the anti-nuclear movement, until now there were none for human rights.

A non-profit initiative, backed by governments in Europe, North and South America, and Asia, and prominent activists, launched a massive online campaign in May to find a logo that would overcome "language barriers to communicate this universal bond symbolically."   The organizers allowed entrants to design their logos with computer technology, a simple pen and paper, paints, or even just a stick in the sand.

In the course of three months, 15,396 logo designs were submitted from participants in 190 countries. From these, a jury of international design experts an prominent human rights activists selected the ten best. They included designer Erik Spiekermann, the Chinese activist and artists Ai Weiwei, Nobel Peace Prize winners former US president Jimmy Carter, Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, economist Muhammad Yunus and former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev - to name just a few.

Here are the shortlisted logos:

The list was put online, so people from all over the world could vote and select their favourite  logo, sparking some heated debate on the initiative's website.

Stakic's entry won the most votes in the public online ballot. The graphic designer from Belgrade, who received €5,000 ($6,745) said: "No single logo can change the world - including this one. But a logo is a symbol that people can rally around - and they can change the world.”

The logo was produced by the bigger ever exercise in crowdsourcing - a process where  large, unspecified groups of people can contribute to a common goal.  The scheme attracted criticism, but the organizers said it was the best way to create a logo "by the people, for the people." 

The logo is now free to use by everyone, everywhere without restrictions - for the purpose of promoting human rights. You can download it here.


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