Setting the tone for a landmark study

Institute for Fiscal Studies
Branding, Digital, Film and animation

With an ambitious five-year study on inequalities on the horizon, the Institute for Fiscal Studies approached Soapbox to develop a project identity and launch campaign that would capture the imagination of the public.

Inequalities are at the forefront of today’s public and policy debates. They have been linked to some of the most important political events – including the rise of populism across the developed world and the vote for Brexit – and have sparked worldwide protest movements. There could hardly be a more pressing time to understand how inequalities arise, which ones matter, why they matter, and how they should be addressed.

And who better to lead on this study but one of the UK’s most respected think tanks, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). IFS has been at the forefront of research into economics and policy for over 50 years. 

It quickly became clear that the key to this issue was representing those who were losing out – those most impacted by various inequalities in today’s society. We developed the mathematical symbol with this in mind.

This symbol serves as a strong visual framework that, when paired with a bold typographic language and colour palette, allowed us to create a unified yet diverse campaign across multiple platforms.

Creating an impactful but inclusive identity that would resonate with a range of different audiences was a critical part of our brief. A major stream of the review’s activity is focused on enhancing public understanding of the challenges caused by inequalities and how they should be tackled; engaging a wider audience beyond the ‘policy bubble’ is key.

Two icons: (left) a person holding a placard with the text "Why?" and (right) a question mark with the British Isles as the dot.
Four images (clockwise from top left): a person with the text "Gender inequality", a young person with the text "Human capital Education", a stack of coins with the text "Financial crisis" and a tree diagram with three icons.

The identity reflects the scope and ambition of Inequality and set the tone for the entire project: forward-looking, modern and impactful. Given the five year duration of the study, it was also important that the system was flexible enough to incorporate a wide-range of outputs and activities, both on and offline. 

A collage of pages from the brand identity guidelines.

Next, we got to work wireframing, designing and building a dedicated microsite to house the review. One that could build and evolve over time, just as the project does.  The site sets the scene for the study and draws comment from leading minds across the social sciences to assemble the evidence on the causes and consequences of different forms of inequalities, and the ways that they can best be reduced or mitigated.

Three pages from the microsite as viewed on tablet and mobile devices.

To promote the launch of the project, we created a launch film featuring the chair of the study, Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Angus Deaton. Working alongside the IFS team, we scripted, shot and produced a compelling video that outlines the ambitions of the review.

With inequality rising up the political agenda we now expect this landmark project to take on an even greater urgency. Watch this space to see how communications for the project develop and how they impact the IFS’s wider communications strategy and visual identity .

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