Global Goals Factivism

Campaigns, Data Visualization

A series of data visualizations highlight the Global Goals for Sustainable Development with surprising facts that inspire people to take action.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development is a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future, built on the principle of “leaving no one behind” and realized through worldwide partnerships and cooperation. Outlined by the UN in 2015, the 17 life-changing goals and 169 targets address areas of importance to humanity and the planet such as reducing poverty and inequality, improving education and healthcare, combating climate change, ensuring clean water and sanitation, and sourcing renewable energy. All 193 UN Member States agreed to work on achieving the agenda by 2030.

Pentagram partner Giorgia Lupi and team have created a series of data visualizations that highlight the Global Goals in 10 facts about the state of the world right now. The team developed the concept and framework for the system, which mixes data, animation and collage to inform and “alarm” with a sense of urgency.

The campaign launches with the Global Goals Day of Factivism on September 25, 2020. The event marks the fifth anniversary of the Global Goals and is part of Global Goals Week, which runs alongside the 75th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly. The “Factivism” visualizations will be featured on the Global Goals website and social media channels.

The Pentagram team was commissioned to develop the series by Project Everyone, the not-for-profit communications agency founded by Richard Curtis (the British filmmaker behind Comic Relief) that is dedicated to advancing the Global Goals. The campaign specialists at Project Everyone work in partnership with organizations, agencies and businesses including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, UNESCO, Google, Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among many others.

Project Everyone organized the Global Goals Day of Factivism with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS) and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. The theme of “Factivism,” or fact-based activism, was chosen to emphasize the importance of accurate data to fully understand what is going on the world and the progress that still needs to be made–-especially now, as issues like Covid-19 and climate change threaten to reverse decades of improvement and political movements seek to discredit science.

The Pentagram team created a set of animated visualizations with colorful, eye-catching images and surprising facts that inspire people to take action. The designers wanted to establish a dynamic look for the series that would work well on social media and could possibly be extended in the future, with the hope of helping the information reach a wider audience, especially younger generations who consume images on apps like Instagram. Each graphic focuses on a specific fact and piece of data related to one of the goals, to help make the issue more accessible.

The designers developed the concept for each visualization, conducting research to find an appropriate and quantifiable data set drawn from SDGs Today, a new data platform developed by SDSN in partnership with Esri and the National Geographic Society to provide timely data on sustainable development measures.

The visualizations combine type and photo-illustrations in collages that illuminate their subjects and engage the emotions of the viewer. The visual metaphors are designed to touch people at a deeper level and help them personally relate to the facts in a more human way. The approach utilizes the principles of “data humanism”––using data to uncover the human stories behind the numbers and statistics, and to challenge the idea of data as something that is impersonal and intimidating.

Each image is designed to help the viewer quickly understand the scope of the problem at hand: A vanishing football pitch (soccer field) depicts the amount of tropical forest being lost every 6 seconds; two-thirds of the world’s windows look out on polluted skies; a sandwich made of triple the US population represents the nearly one billion people in the world who don’t have enough to eat. A second panel features the campaign tagline, “Become a Global Goals Factivist.”

New York
Giorgia Lupi
Project team
Ting Fang Cheng
Phillip Cox
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