25AH capture accessibility and solidarity in SSU’s powerful yet approachable identity system
Founded in 1917, the SSU (Social Democratic Youth League in Sweden) is an association fighting the good fight, campaigning for freedom, equality and solidarity across the country. With the organisation growing ever more significant in numbers and scope, SSU – together with content agency Birdh – turned to Stockholm-based multidisciplinary design agency 25AH to craft their new visual identity. The objective set out by the client was to make political engagement more attractive and accessible to younger generations; helping them to be perceived as relevant, genuine and personal in the process. The result is a bright, charming and genuine visual language, led by flexibility and meticulous attention to detail across its chromatic, typographic and illustrative outputs.
“Media Sans is the primary font and is mainly used for headlines,” Creative Director Fredrik Remnefalk tells us, discussing the use of Production Type’s sans serif. “We were looking for a typeface with a lot of character, that distinguishes itself from other youth associations and political parties,” he explains, describing the compact nature of Media Sans and the subsequently powerful look it provokes. Media Sans is then supported by Helvetica Now, providing equally powerful yet more overtly pragmatic functionality to the identity. “We searched for a functional typeface that is mainly used for longer body texts,” Remnefalk remarks, “but also as a complement to the logo to adapt it to the local associations.”
Sitting side-by-side with the bold typography is the prominent inclusion of illustration, crafted in-house by 25AH. “We looked back at the history of SSU, and revisited some illustrative elements from the 70s and 90s,” Remnefalk recalls, “a casually playful expression and simple animations created the hopeful feeling we wanted to convey,” manifesting in 15 core illustrations designed to embody the political topics central to SSU’s mission. In tandem with 25AH’s use of type, the pair create a vivid, approachable tone; denoting the warm intentions of the group and significantly contributing to the accessibility of the brand.
Bringing together the core elements of the identity is the use of red, a hue directly associated with Sweden’s labour movement and a feature that was integral to SSU’s previous aesthetic. “We were looking for complementary shades that would add more power, dynamic and energy,” Remnefalk explains, eventually opting for dark purple and pink to partner with the primary red tone. “Pink for more vitality, and purple for warmth and a sense of inclusion,” he adds, “the combination of all colours together create a powerful and youthful expression that reflect the union well,” whilst also, notably, referring to the political nature of the colour. “In politics, colours are more charged than anywhere else,” Remnefalk concludes, “which makes the choice both easier and more difficult.”