#WeThe15 is a new inclusivity movement for people with disabilities. Created in partnership with the International Paralympic Committee, the global campaign has set out to become the world’s biggest ever human rights movement.
Twenty organisations (including the UN, UNESCO and the International Disability Alliance) have joined forces to back the campaign devised by adam&eveDDB with a supporting identity designed by Pentagram.
The movement takes its name from the 15% of the global population who have a disability: they are the world’s largest marginalised group, and all too often forgotten when inclusivity is discussed. For these 1.2bn people, access to basic rights such as healthcare, education and employment, are at best limited and at worst non-existent, making it harder for people with disabilities to live, work, thrive, or simply survive.
The identity for #WeThe15 includes a wordmark, a symbol, and sonic branding by Pentagram. To ensure maximum visibility across social media, the organisation’s wordmark echoes the #WeThe15 hashtag. The circular symbol is a clear visual representation of the percentage, and the 23.5 degree angle represents the tilt of the earth’s axis, reminding us that this is very much a global issue.
The sonic branding created by Yuri Suzuki and team features several techniques that allow the identity to be experienced by the hearing impaired. The DNA rhythmically spells out “We The 15” and is easy to sing, through its use of close intervals. The DNA is arranged chordally across three octaves so that people with different hearing loss can still hear the fundamental tone and structure of the sound. The ident is also monophonic, allowing those users with hearing impairments not to miss out on any of the sonic information that can often be lost in stereo.
A vibrant shade of purple was chosen for the identity as this represents the international colour of disability. Following on from this as part of the campaign’s launch prior to the Paralympic Games, 125 iconic global landmarks were illuminated in purple light for one night only, including the Elysee Palace, Paris; Niagara Falls; Austrian Parliament; Empire State Building; CN Tower, Toronto; Colosseum, Rome; Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo, Edinburgh Castle, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. To coincide with this, big screens across the UK (including Piccadilly Circus in London) were taken over by #WeThe15.
With 4,350 athletes competing across 22 sports, the 2020 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony took place on 24th August 2021 at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. In a segment dedicated to #WeThe15, IPC President Andrew Parsons introduced the campaign film created by adam&eveDDB to an audience of millions watching the event around the world.
Throughout the Paralympic Games, athletes wore temporary tattoos made from the #WeThe15 symbol, and the closing ceremony twelve days later also featured a dedicated segment which included a video message of support from international leaders involved in the campaign.
The message was also displayed in a spectacular light show which featured 1000 drones flying in close formation to create the #Wethe15 symbol and hashtag in the night sky.
The #WeThe15 symbol is a striking visual representation of the 15% of people around the world with a disability. Pentagram has created an icon for them to wear, share and own, which will become synonymous with the movement in the months and years to come.
Amir Bilu, Aurelien Meunier, Brisbane City Council, Canadian Paralympic Committee, City of Las Vegas City Hall, Clemson Memorial Stadium, Comune di Milano for International Paralympic Committee, David Meyer, Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee, Getty Images Helix Bridge, IOC, Mr Jan Maly, Juho Kuva, Keystone-SDA, Peter Klaunzer, Line Krag Mortensen, Miha Kačič, National Trust, Kenny Gray, Noam Galai Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee, OHCHR, OIS Photos, Olympiastadion Berlin GmbH, Parlamentsdirektion Thomas Jantzen, Pepo Herrera, Ray Herbst, Ryno Quantz Swedish Paralympic Committee, Titanic Building, TV Nova Pula, Xenia Zhukova & Slovak Paralympic Committee