How a product design agency started a charity campaign

Liudmyla Gramatyk
Content Manager

Donating to the Armed Forces of Ukraine is a cool habit for most of Ukrainians. However, in May the donations dropped significantly, though our troops continue to fight and guard our borders.
We are only a design agency but we’ve made it our goal to change the situation and help our defenders.

At the end of July, we conducted a charity campaign to motivate people to donate.

Even small donations are important and to make the act of donating more pleasant we’ve created a small set of symbolic stickers and a postcard. We’ve sent these packs to people who had donated from 50 UAH.

Let us tell you how it all went.

Why is design also a front line?

The first thing we tell our clients about ourselves — we are Ukrainians.

In the three years that our agency exists, we prove that Ukrainian design is rising to new levels and can fully compete with international companies.

The thing is — our clients are businesses and startups from across Europe, Middle East, and USA. From the beginning of the full-scale invasion we knew one thing — we must tell what’s going on.

Glow co-founder Ruslan on call with clients

Every call we had we took as a possibility to tell what’s happening in Ukraine, to highlight not only the news but also the ways to help and donate. Big businesses supported Ukraine financially and informationally. One of our American clients published an article about our team and how we continue to work during rocket attacks. Some clients offered help to evacuate the team to Dubai or open an office in the US. But most of us stayed in Odesa.

Aside from our international partners we have an audience of active Ukrainian designers. In our Instagram we talked a lot about how to continue working and creating in times of war. You can read it here.

In May, we saw the statistics of decrease in donations and we brainstormed for creative solutions to this problem.

I Believe in U. The idea.

We took the idea that every one of us is Ukraine. Every Ukrainian matters and any help matters. That is why even a small donation is a step to the big victory.

We got our inspiration for the motto from a song “I believe in you” by Ukrainian band 5’nizza.

In informal English language, it is common to shorten “You” to “U”, the first letter of Ukraine.

So we’ve created a simple equation:

U = you.

U = Ukraine.

You = Ukraine.

A conscious Ukrainian believes in their country and makes everything possible for a brighter future. Thus the motto was born:

I Believe in U.

U are Ukraine.

The logo

Logo animation by Julia Kuznetsova

The idea about “U” pushed us to make this letter the key part of the logo.
We aimed to visualize the “U” as Ukraine. For this purpose we’ve started to recall what does form a strong association with our country. Here are the variants we came up with:

  • the national flag;
  • national patterns and ornaments;
  • national embroidery.

Both patterns and embroidery are combined in Ukrainian Vyshyvanka — traditional clothes with distinguishable ornament.

Learning the culture of Ukrainian embroidery we’ve discovered the book “Текстова вишивка. Бродівське письмо” (“The textual Vyshyvanka. Brodiv writing”).

From the book we’ve learned that the vyshyvanka’s ornament can carry encoded text messages. We used modern services to generate a message saying “Peace to Ukraine!” and this is how it looks:

Now we had to do a little correction to the pattern and add the letter U. We’ve decided to do the logo in pixels to highlight the digital modernity.

We chose colors from the combinations that are classical for vyshyvanka

We’ve decided on the blue color. On a vyshyvanka, it symbolizes the water and the sky, the tranquility of spirit and cure of diseases. Embroidery with blue threads is common for vyshyvankas of those men who face danger frequently.

Olha, our graphical designer, made two more concepts so we could choose:

We’ve selected the Glow Medium font for the full name of the logo. Kyrylo Tkach’ov and Serhii Makarenko custom made this font for us based on our brand logo.

Then, we sent the logo to the Kyiv based sticker printers “Клей”. Ukraine is united, that’s why we gave this work specifically to a Ukrainian company. Also their stickers don’t wear off with time. We are so much grateful for their cooperation.

The swallow postcard

The main idea of today is to always remember who protects you. We wanted to tell our troops that we believe in them, so we’ve decided to prepare a pack of postcards signed by us.

The preparation began with an idea. The idea of our defenders’ heroism was combined with our national culture. We took the swallow as our symbol — this bird brings spring and good news. It is believed that happiness will live where the swallow weaves its nest.

Aside from being part of our folklore the swallow has its representation on the history of our culture.

Sailors across the world make tattoos of the swallow. The thing is, these birds don’t fly in the open sea or ocean, so witnessing swallows in the air is a sign of the land being near. The swallow is also associated with youth and freedom. As our country is.

No wonder we took tattoo outlines as inspiration for our illustration.

Colors for the illustration were chosen from the colors of the logo with addition of yellow and red. The background for the swallow was made similar to the sunset sky, we also added grain to make it more cozy. Then we added the logo and the slogan “I Believe in U”.

Video filming and posting. The organic reach.

We wrote two simple scripts with the main idea that donating is easy.

We took two objects as a basis.

  1. A cup of coffee — morning cup, a common habit. Though for a soldier at the frontlines a cup of coffee would be a much bigger pleasure.
    Those 50 UAH we daily spend for coffee can easily be turned into aid.

2. A dress. First of all, we wanted to remind everyone that not only men are defending us. The main character of this video is a civil young woman, who, on a quiet day, gets dressed in her favorite dress and decides to donate while she is heading to work. The first scene with the mirror echoes with the last scene, where a military woman is proudly looking at herself.

Olha Voronina did the voiceover for the video, she is the voice of many commercials and, unofficially, is the brand-voice of Ukraine.

The video got 13 times the reach of regular posts in our account. In addition, it was completely organic — we did not start the targeting advertisement, did not buy advertising from bloggers or any media.

Helping volunteers

The main goal of the campaign was to help and lead by own example. We reached out to the “Pivdena Palyanitsia” volunteer movement in Odesa, they help our troops and civilians in Mykolaiv. Volunteers drive to hotspots and deliver aid directly to people.

Our team signed postcards with words of gratitude, sincere words from each of us. We did not prepare the texts beforehand; we just wrote what we had felt.

Volunteers had given us the list of what was needed so we bought fleece jackets (because winter is coming) and hydration packs (there is a shortage of drinking water in Mykolaiv) and we handed it all to Palyanytsya.

We also gifted printed postcards and stickers for donations to charity funds; and received more than 10 000 UAH in donations.

Help is important and help is needed — the war rages on.

We continue to work, live, and get inspiration but every day we remember that we must be grateful to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

If you want to learn more or support Palyanytsya, here is their Instagram.

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From Glow with Love❤️