The brand creativity inspired by the coronavirus pandemic

Written by Matt Smith

2 April 2020


The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the graphic design community producing a huge amount of visual communication in just a matter of days. We’ve seen a wide range of essential public safety messaging pushed out through social, online, television and print channels – all focused on helping to keep people safe.

Global trends

What’s more, we are starting to see some specific trends in the content being produced. As global super brands, conscious of their responsibility to both employees and consumers, largely focus on social distancing, Government departments are, as you would expect, focusing on providing clear advice.

Brands like Coca-Cola, Burger King and Ikea have all been creative in letting the public know their services are not the priority during this turbulent period.


Jeep is just one of many global brands to set aside their offerings to emphasise the importance of staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Saving lives

Here in the UK the same simple message of ‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ is continually being repeated across the media landscape. In addition, ‘Protect yourself & others’ plays to the collective social responsibility of reducing the health impact of COVID-19 and is supported by simple infographics giving practical advice.

While the messaging now follows a clearly recognisable visual language across NHS communications, the same cannot be said for Government briefings. The styling often changes, despite the messages being repeated. This visual disconnect cannot be helpful if we are to unite behind one cause – a consequence of an ever-shifting situation or a symptom of a lack of Government direction?

The UK Government has not been consistent in its design approach at its daily coronavirus media briefings.

Keeping it simple

We’ve also seen some incredibly creative responses to the pandemic. Album covers have been reimagined to raise awareness about the importance of social distancing – their power drawing on a universal recognition, as seen in this Abbey Road pastiche by Activista’s art director Paco Conde and copywriter Beto Fernandez.

A classic reimagined with social distancing in mind.

Editorial has stamped its authority visually, with this instantly memorable feature in The New York Times. The simplicity and impact of the design convey the message in a way that would be hard to achieve with words alone.

As this health crisis unfolds, the need for clear, simple and engaging communication will only become greater. Are we yet to see our ‘Hope’ or ‘Your country needs you’?