Open Society Foundations, New York

Harm Reduction Publications

Content Development, Campaigns, Reporting, Print Communication, Illustration, Infographics, User Experience Design, Information Architecture (IA), Web Design, Technology, Digital Content

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) is committed to building “vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.” A few years ago, they reached out to Signals because of our long history of advocating for minority rights including supporting people with HIV/AIDS, people with disabilities and people with mental health and addictions issues. They also saw our creative work and realized they had a partner with equal parts talent and commitment. Together, the OSF and Signals have built international campaigns that use a mix of print and interactive media to mobilize communities and make change around the world.

Some of the work we’ve completed for the Open Society Foundations includes very specific knowledge translation assignments. Our campaign to promote naloxone (an opioid antidote) was aimed at educating community health workers on how to set up a naloxone program for their community. Unveiled at a huge international conference in Eastern Europe, the bilingual website (English/Russian) and accompanying education materials were embraced by health workers from around the world.

Designing infographics is another technique that Signals deployed for the Open Society Foundations to communicate their messages. Clear, strong and sometimes jarring data visualizations help to convey the disparities that are often at the root of human rights issues. At a glance, the audience can grasp the enormity and seriousness of the problem and be led towards actions that can help.

Most recently we have been working with the Open Society Foundations on a series of international white papers aimed at United Nations policy makers to improve the human rights of drug users. In 2016 these policy makers will be attending a special session (UNGASS) where they will review and update global drug policy. To put forward a “treat, don’t punish” message to these UN delegates, the OSF needed a print vehicle that would be memorable and “library worthy.” After developing a design approach that would stand out from other policy documents, we created a matching custom folder to house the 12 policy papers so policy makers could collect the series as they are released over a year. Signals also created digital collateral including social media tools to reinforce the messages and stay top-of-mind at the UNGASS session. We will report out on the results of the UNGASS session in 2016.