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United Nations

The Global Goals Case Study


Design a universal messaging system for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that is recognizable, accessible, and inspiring to everyone around the world.


Bring together teams from the UN’s 193 member nations to help distill a simple, sustainable communication system that transcends regional, cultural, and linguistic barriers.


The system is now the de-facto messaging platform for sustainability initiatives worldwide, from governments to non-profits to all corporate sectors.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Victor Ochen raised a flag in Northern Uganda

A Shared Roadmap

How do you engage the entire planet with an opaque geo-political document?

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals promise a more just and sustainable planet for everyone. In 2010, all 193 U.N. member nations agreed to this unique roadmap for a better future. But, for the plan to succeed, we needed everybody to be engaged. To do this, we created a logical communication system and designed a colorful visual language that is now understood and loved across the planet.

Goal 4 Malala Yousafzai
SDG Press Room

Icons to Outcomes

Our objective was to make the Global Goals easy to communicate across continents and cultures.

We began by giving each of the 17 goals a concise name that makes them easy to talk about and remember. We gave each goal its own colorful icon with bold typography and bright colors to express the determination and optimism of the effort. We also designed the foundational logotype for the initiative—a bright circle made up of the colors of the 17 individual goals to remind us that they all must be solved together.

Global Goals icons
Global Goals manifesto
Global Citizen Global Goals
Global Goals blocks installation

Global Messaging

Creating a bold manifesto that connects all 17 goals.

Next, we made the language of the SDGs resolution more approachable by simplifying the positioning and crafting a powerful manifesto to inspire global action. By linking seemingly disparate issues like climate action, economic growth, and gender equality into an inspiring, actionable vision for the future, the Global Goals manifesto further iterates that there is no hierarchy and every goal is connected when it comes to building a better world.

SDG Action Zone Award winners
UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Global Goals logo Liverpool uniforms
Sustainability Hackathon participants
Global Festival of Action

Sustainable Action

Since launching in 2015, our work has become the de-facto design system for sustainability messaging around the world.

Nearly every event designed to propagate the Global Goals message uses our design system in some capacity from local events to global conferences. Experiential content has included building projections at the UN building; branded pavilions for the World Economic Forum in Davos and Habitat III in Quito; a fleet of SDG sailboats welcoming Greta Thunberg’s arrival to the UN’s 2019 Climate Action Summit, and is even available for avatars within Pokemon Go. Our branding has also been taken up by grassroots organizers and like-minded advocates everywhere—showing up everywhere from new, sustainable clothing lines to protest signs to classrooms around the world.

The New Division Global Goals merchandise
Global Goals Target Finder
SDG Global Goals Resources

The New Division

Our sister agency, The New Division, continues this work today.

The Global Goals brand inspired the launch of The New Division: a communications agency dedicated to civic-minded and sustainable messaging. Based in Stockholm, The New Division seeks to educate and guide companies towards future-positive messages that can be understood by everyone. Learn more at


Brand Strategy –– Visual Identity –– Brand Architecture –– Naming –– Logo Design –– Graphic Design –– Animation –– Icon Design –– Experiential Design –– Web Design –– Data Visualization –– Print Design –– Copywriting –– Illustration –– Editing –– Brand Guidelines –– Toolkits

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