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Brand design

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Creating a new identity for a data
rights agency

What power knows and what power wants to do with what it knows is a defining issue of our time. 

We’ve created a brand identity for a new data rights and consulting agency. It’s a business with a mission: to defend and extend human rights at the nexus of data, technology, law and policy. The issues they address matter to everyone. What does power know about you? What does power want to do with what it knows about you?

The name and redacted logo were inspired by Richard Brautigan’s 1967 poem ‘All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace’, whilst he was poet-in-residence at Caltech. The poem explores the duality of tech intertwining with society, whether it would create a utopia of freedom or a dystopia of oppression.

The poem presciently grapples with the question of whether tech everywhere will be a utopia or a dystopia. The answer to that of course being, it’s up to us.

The Mueller report, officially titled Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, with about 11% of the text is redacted to the public was a key influence to the development of the identity. 

Concrete poetry, typewriter art and the relentless scroll of computer code were all influences on AWO’s typographic style. Think of ‘Vite (Fast)’ by Henri Chopin, 1961, or Barrie Tullett’s brilliant ‘Typographic Dante’ crossed with reflections of Python in eyes watching programmes that are watching you right now. Passionately poetic blended with coldly computery.