Branding the Press Army
branding, press army, press freedom commission, identity — 19h03, 30th Jun | by Khumbelo

The Press Freedom Commission was a formed by the Print and Digital Media of South Africa (PDMSA) and the South African National Editors’ Forum. The Press Freedom Commission was to be headed by the former editor of the City Press, Mathatha Tsedu.

The objective of the of the PFC was…

“to ensure press freedom in support of enhancing our democracy which is founded on human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.

The secondary objective was to research the regulation of specifically print media, locally and globally. Self-regulating, co-regulation, independent regulation and state regulation were examined.”

We were tasked with the development of the Press Freedom Commission’s brand identity. As in most cases, the client needed the branding to happen in lightning speed as the commission was to be launched in the coming days. So we dove right into it.

Our assembly phased provided insightful facts regarding the Press industry but most importantly, it highlighted the importance of freedom of the press and need to protect it. Pressed for time, we started exploring possibilities that would best represent this organisation. It become clear that the elements to be deployed needed to communicate the intensions of the stakeholders in involved. We summarized these intensions as follows: -

  • Identity – we are the press.
  • Aim – we intend to ensure press freedom in support of enhancing our democracy.
  • Struggle/goal – we strive for excellence in our reporting that fair and just and explore various methods of regulation to protect all involved stakeholders.

At first, we thought we could consider of the outlined intensions for the development of the logo. Various options played themselves out… such as pens, paper and raised fists. However, nothing seems to capture what the organisation was about. Then we tried to couple options based on the outlines… But the final product actually required all three tensions.

The feather pen – has different tiers assigned to it. The first is the history of the South African press. The selection of the feather pen as opposed to a normal pen speaks for the reality that the press has been around and it has been recording our history for years. It is for the same reason that the end of the feather pen appears as a modern pen… to further emphasis the journey of the press over time.

The spear – the feather pen is shaped to form a spear, which symbolizes the cause at hand - to protect and serve all stakeholders. This also aided seriousness of the campaign considering the fact the regulation of the press was a talking point in the country at the time. 

The background shield – speaks for protection of both the ideals of free press and benefits of an informed nation. 

The star – represents Excellency.

These were the core elements of the Press Freedom Commission brand identity.

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