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D&AD New Blood Awards 2021 

Key 4 Life Futures

Create a typographic-led campaign that uses the power of words and the visceral qualities of typography to stop young people in their tracks and open their minds to bigger and brighter things. Help them to not only realise what the implications of knife crime can be but also discover that there are other paths to tread.


The biggest challenge is not only avoiding mass amounts of cliches, as this is not a new issue and there is a lot of visual communication already out there. But this is a very wide audience, there is a huge difference in personality and maturity between youths aged 10 to 17. Finding a visual language and tone of voice to cater to both will be challenging.


This is a massively sensitive subject for all involved, knife crime doesn’t only affect the victims and the criminals but the families of both left in the wake of the issue. Finding a way to educate, persuade and empower this audience is the key to its success.

The Solution

Futures is a typography-led multi-media campaign with the aim of showing today's youth that no future is set, there is always a choice no matter their situation, and that the choices they make today, shape their tomorrow. Persuading them to think differently, Opening their minds to bigger and better opportunities, engaging them with the right information, supporting them when they need it most.

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Every time we look into the mirror we confront who we are, reflect on what are doing, how we look, and our mortality. No one wants to catch their reflection when they are doing something they know they shouldn’t be. By placing shatterproof mirrors mixed with typography into the urban environments where the knife crime rate is higher, this outcome aims to stop youths that are carrying knives in their tracks and confront themselves. Asking them to consider what they are doing and their actions while they are looking at their reflections. Mirrors also bring across other metaphors, such as self-reflection, they are fragile and they can easily be broken, such as life is equally as fragile.


Mixing mirrors with the campaign slogan ‘I WON’T CUT MY FUTURE SHORT’, the aim is to get the audience to consider not only what they are doing that moment-in-time as they look at themselves, but to consider their future, to consider that their actions can cut their future short. This approach uses large-scale impactful mirror billboards, smaller bus, and public transport mirror posters but also using mirrors that are already in our environment.


Campaign Identity

The name FUTURES simply refers to the endless possibilities that life brings. No future is set, No future is written, it is the choices that we make today that determine our tomorrow. This identity aims to show the audience that no matter their current situation, they can control their path in life and make positive steps towards their future. It is bold and engaging, using a tall condensed typeface to create impact. The green cut-through has links to graffiti and street art while also lending itself to a pathway, showing that no path is straight. The colour palette also leverages the Key4Life current brand colours.

FIXTURE ULTRA, this typeface was the perfect choice for this campaign, it is big, bold, and makes a massive impact. Its variable capabilities open up many opportunities in creating a dynamic typographic language, emphasizing keywords to communicate to the audience in the best way.

To link to the urban environment where knife crime happens this campaign has adopted an urban street texture look. It gives the campaign a raw and authentic to place, looks, and feel. Using graffiti strike-throughs to add to the inner city street aesthetic. All typography has a slight transparency to it so the street textures show through, giving the type a tactile, street poster texture.

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To ensure that we are not only persuading the audience to choose a future without knife crime but offering them the support they need to make this choice, there is a need for a platform to make this possible. The Key4Life Futures Support app.


The app aims to enable youths to take control of their futures by taking steps to improve them. Giving them work experience options, mentor support if they are struggling and need advice, possible incentives eg. if they are interested in music they could win studio time. It aims to give them hope and direction where and when they need it most.



The physical environment has been tackled, we now need to dominate the digital. The Key4Life Futures advert aims to educate and persuade the audience on platforms that they are most likely to get captured on such as mobile, online video streaming (Youtube, Netflix, BBC iPlayer), and gaming platforms such as PS4 and Xbox.


The tone of voice needs to persuade them to make a change, the copy has been written from the audience's point of view, making it instantly more relatable to them and avoiding any sense of authority or being told what to do. It also acts as a promotional advert for the app. The advert uses energetic motion typography to engage the audience and create a sense of urgency.



To ensure that the stats and figures are being communicated, the best place to do that is social. Instagram stories enable quick and snappy information to be communicated without boring the viewer. This audience are likely to ignore or avoid statistics, so this is a great way to ensure they are getting this communication. It also raises the profile and awareness of the charity and the campaign as a whole.



Studio Knight is the design practice of award-winning freelance brand & motion designer Jez Knight Harris. Working with clients across Wales and internationally.

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