Purpose tackles Covid misinformation with award-winning UN campaign

It's not often that designers can help save lives. But the pandemic has allowed many of us to do just that. Here's a great example from Purpose, a strategy consultancy and creative agency headquartered in New York, as part of a collaboration with the United Nations.

Verified was launched in 2020, in collaboration with the United Nations, to combat the growing scourge of Covid-19 misinformation and provide accurate, life-saving information. As a global, multichannel campaign, Verified distributes trusted information and changes media consumption practices to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

It was a deserved winner in this year's The Indigo Design Award, a global contest that aims to reward rare talent in the fields of graphic, digital, mobile design, design for social change and branding.

As part of our current series looking at this year's Indigo Award winners, we chatted to Purpose's Head of Creative, Emma McDonald, and Jen Thomas, Purpose's creative producer on Verified about how the campaign came about.


Purpose is a social impact organisation that builds movements for a more open, just, and habitable world. With offices in New York City, London, New Delhi, Sao Paulo, Sydney, and Nairobi, it uses public mobilisation and storytelling to help leading organisations, activists, businesses, and philanthropies create campaigning labs and new initiatives that can shift policies and change public narratives.

"Our creative team works in close collaboration with our strategists, campaigners and project managers when we're working on a project," explains Emma. "We try to stay away from having a singular 'style' for our work, but rather be responsive to the campaign strategy and social context with creative thinking.

"For Verified, we were building a global campaign and we knew would be working in collaboration with multiple organizations. So we built the brand to be flexible enough that it could either stand on its own or act in a supporting role to a collaborator’s existing branding."

Emergency response

Verified was launched in May 2020 by the United Nations Secretary-General as a response to the Covid-19 crisis and resulting "infodemic" – the surge in dangerous misinformation that was costing lives. "Like the virus itself, misinformation spreads person to person, heightening the risk to our health and spreading fear and division," says Jen Thomas.

Success meant spreading information widely and creating content locally that could resonate with specific audiences, she adds. "Verified collaborated with dozens of organisations around the world to make sure content reached those audiences most in need, creating over 1,000 pieces of content in over 50 languages."

And the results have been spectacular. "In the last year, Verified has reached over one billion people with reliable, accurate information about Covid-19, sharing life-saving content and stories from the best of humanity."

Winning an Indigo Award for the campaign has been a cause for celebration at Purpose. "We work on some really tough issues here," says Emma. "So it always feels good to be recognised and to take a moment to celebrate our staff’s hard work. Awards like these help attract talented creatives to join our team so we can create even more impact."

Enter the Indigo Design Award 2022!

Fancy entering for next year? Then you'll be pleased to know the Indigo Award 2022 is now open for submission. You need to enter your work by 30 September 2021 and can find all the details you need at indigoawards.com.

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