Following the positive reception of OCHA’s set of 250 public domain humanitarian icons in 2012, the organization is releasing an extended and completely redesigned new collection in 2018 (295 and counting).
The original suite was developed because at OCHA we understand that during the response to an emergency it is critical to share and understand complex information in a timely fashion. Icons — with their easily accessible, universal visual language — are vital to achieve this.
Covering themes of common interest to the humanitarian community such as clusters, disaster types, categories of affected people, and relief items, version 1 icons became by far the organization’s most popular product. Their users include UN agencies, NGOs, general public designers, and of course OCHA offices from around the world.
Version 2 is the end result of a long and meticulous redesign process. While the 2012 collection grew organically as OCHA designers developed illustrations to meet the organization's needs, the new series has been drawn from scratch following standardized design rules. Because of this, all the new icons look similar in terms of visual complexity and appear to belong to the same ‘family.’ Moreover, the original set has been extended to include new themes (‘cash transfer,’ for instance) and individual icons have evolved to reflect changes that occurred since 2012 (in technology, for example).
Together with the icons, available in a variety of common formats, we are releasing the detailed guidelines developed to guide their design so that users can extend OCHA’s collection to fit their own needs. The Design and Multimedia Unit, within OCHA’s Strategic Communications Branch, will gladly include suitable new icons developed by third parties in the v2 set.
All files can be accessed here.
The Humanitarian Icons v.1 from 2012 are still accessible on this page.