By Marguerite Kahrl
In 2018, Permaculture for Refugees (P4R) created a visual identity with the graphic interaction designer, Yuluck. I facilitated the participatory design process to reach a consensus for our visual identity and objective with Yuluck and the other P4R founding members. Navigating the logo development was a rich and complex process; we integrated different positions, needs, cultural and social requirements, design directions, and sensibilities.
The P4R logo was born from a dissection puzzle called a Tangram, consisting of seven flat shapes called tans, which, when fitting together, form shapes. The logo emphasizes the function of permaculture design principles, as the tans can be assembled to reflect various criteria.
The logo family includes five diverse images to complement the activities and offerings of P4R. Each of the five variations is assembled by repositioning the seven tangram pieces. This references the role of integration and observation in permaculture, where the same elements have multiple functions and enable different perspectives.
We selected the house/lodge/tent form as our primary logo, intending to incorporate other variations as the project evolves. The puzzle format itself suggests the possibility of multiple interpretations and contexts. The visual identity also recalls the importance of participatory design, resilience, and learning to read and respond to patterns in the living world.
When preparing to teach a PDC course for Syrian refugee women in Turkey with Rowe, I learned the importance of not bringing teaching tools to the venue but learning from, celebrating, and adapting to local conditions by creating and improvising tools on-site. By restricting ourselves to locally sourced materials and empowering the students to do the same, the effect is more uplifting. Similarly, permaculture principles offer a tool kit for migrants/refugees who need to adapt to diverse living conditions with few resources.
Using the screenprinting technique at the creative laboratory and print studio, Print Club Torino in Turin, Italy, Yuluck and I handprinted flags for P4Rs planned PDC training courses in refugee camps across three continents.
The P4R visual identity helps us to communicate our project and raise funds for administration, communication, networking, training courses, and follow-up projects. It must be readable across cultures so anyone can understand our message.
The visual identity also applies to the website, emphasizing mobile accessibility, a template proposed for a family of brochures and business cards. With each aspect of the design, attention is made to supporting users’
needs and conveying content in a helpful way. The brochure template can be adapted to different contexts and printed in A4 format in black and white with the option of a colored paper cover to simplify production and editing efforts.
The newest addition to our visual identity is the production of stickers with a QR code created for the upcoming Australian Permaculture Convergence.