In March this year, Tactical Tech celebrated its 16 year anniversary. As well as being a time to honour and reflect on all the work we’ve done with our current and former team over the past decade and a half, it was a great opportunity to look ahead to the future, and plan how the organisation moves forward. This involved taking a long hard look at what was working and what wasn’t and making the organisation future-ready for the next stage of our work, which meant dealing with three interlinking things.
First of all the strategy. We reviewed the changing context around us and our experience in the field, and figured out how we can have the most impact in the coming years. In reviewing our theory of change we have decided to continue to work with our traditional audiences, but also reach out to a much broader group of engaged technology users. We firmly believe in giving these users the knowledge they need to navigate the challenges technology brings and to make informed decisions. In the coming years we will also try out new approaches that we believe will address some of the most pressing challenges related to technology, human rights and civil liberties.
Secondly, we carried out an internal review of how the organisation is run, to respond to the increase in team size and the shift in strategy. One of the decisions that came out of that was the change in name from ‘The Tactical Technology Collective’ to ‘Tactical Tech’. This change is a significant one. It was made to better reflect the internal arrangement of the organisation, that has a much larger team and has to run in a more structured way than when the organisation first began.
And thirdly, we wanted to focus on how we communicate our work and our impact to our audiences so that they are in a better position to understand what we do, why we’re doing it, and how they can use our resources and access our events.
What has not changed is our determination and passion for the work we do and our commitment to investigate and mitigate the impact of technology on society. Tactical Tech’s new branding and website are just the start of a wider range of changes we will be making and we look forward to sharing and engaging with you on these as they are made.
Read on to learn more about the new branding and new website.
The New Brand
To start with, we thought about the visual identity of the organisation. The first logo was commissioned back in 2003, and then we kept it like that for 15 years. So it was time for a change.
Alongside Paul Belford Ltd., a small branding agency based in London, we worked on developing a concept around the relationship between humans and technology. This idea was drawn from our strategy, looking at the traces and impact of digital technologies on society and individuals.
This concept grew into the idea of an analogue glitch, the sort of imperfections that would appear from bad scans, photocopies, paper jams, or photographic blurs. The relationship between humans and technology is seemingly defined by technological versus analogue or ‘man made’, but what happens when these two things cross over? The result is rather messy, and that’s where our work comes in - to try and make sense of that ‘messiness’.
The agency used stamps, photocopiers and hand drawn typefaces to experiment with different visual effects, even purchasing a vintage Olivetti Lettera 32 Typewriter. The logo that we settled on was a hand drawn custom mark that alludes to the monospaced fonts used for coding, with varying degrees of ‘analogue noise’ built up around the letters. In each instance there is a careful balance between noise and legibility.
Then we paired the logo with a tagline, ‘Making sense of the digital’, some brand colours, including a bright and bold yellow, and two typefaces, Generika Mono and Barlow, which you can see in use on the website. We also printed lots of stickers, folders, envelopes, business cards, and a logo stamp, which we had fun stamping over all the blank paper in the office.
The New Website
The next step was to build a new website from scratch. For each of our main projects we have independent websites that serve the function of the project, for example the interactive site for Data Detox Kit, or the article format for Our Data Our Selves. That meant that the core organisation website needed to pull all of these independent projects together under one roof, giving them a comprehensive overview.
A few new features with the site that you might have already noticed: an independently scrolling sidebar that stays put as you navigate your way round to give you the latest news and organisation info; a related content feature based on background themes that find commonalities between projects; the yellow tags that are there to tell you what content is (and an excuse to show off the new brand colour); and a whole lot of work in the background to transform the way that we build websites and create content.
Even though the public launch of the website was a huge milestone, there’s still lots of work to do. Not least, publishing our 2018 Annual Report, making some more tweaks to the website and creating a digital archive from the past 15 years of work.
Get in Touch
If you’ve got any questions or feedback about the new website then we would love to hear from you. Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re using our logo and you want to update it, you can download the new files here.