The Organization of American States Centennial Rebranding Project

Fall 2009  

The goal of this transdisciplinary studio was to conceive and develop a multi-component branding and communications strategy for the OAS Centennial in 2010.

Design Brief

The goal of this transdisciplinary studio was to conceive and develop a multi-component branding and communications strategy for the OAS Centennial in 2010. This strategy was to include contemporary design elements and vehicles for messaging and outreach utilizing social, participatory networks and technology for viral communications. Led by a team of graphic design and film faculty, the class would focus on the development of an integrated multimedia campaign that would receive extensive international visibility during the 2010 celebration, and would explore digital, motion and print vehicles to capture this important moment in the organization’s history.

A major goal of the class was to create a campaign that would not only pay tribute to the OAS legacy and its core values, but would also visualize and propel a far-reaching forward lens: in other words, help target audiences to imagine the significance of the OAS during the next 100 years, and reaffirm its importance in this ever-evolving global landscape.

About The Organization of American States (OAS)
The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world’s oldest regional platform for political dialogue and collective action in the Americas, actively promoting values of peace, democracy and justice throughout North, Central and South America. It is celebrating its centennial in 2010 with a year-long series of cultural events and communications. Through Designmatters, Art Center College of Design is formally affiliated with OAS as a civil organization member.

Research and Project Development

After conducting their initial research and interviews across the country by phone to their target demographic, the group of students and faculty determined that the OAS was largely unknown to the American public, and especially to youth populations. With these findings, the class saw an opportunity to rebrand the entire organization so that it would appeal to a younger audience.

Midway through the term, the class was flown to Washington, D.C. to present a new identity —”On Common Ground”—to the leaders of the various OAS secretariats and to the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza. “On Common Ground” was then approved and dubbed the core message of the new Centennial Campaign. “The new Centennial Campaign is now a priority for the entire organization,” said Insulza.


“Up to this point, I hadn’t really experienced design beyond the businesslike framework of concept proposals and deliverable applications. That is why the OAS Centennial TDS was such a game changer for my outlook on design.”

–Jason Huang, Graphic Design student

“I think the Designmatters department has opened my eyes to new possibilities about what my advertising education can allow me to do. I really think I’d be happy to spend my life re-branding and advertising non-profits, international organizations, governments, countries, etc…”

–Jonathan Goldman, Advertising student



After much deliberation and research, the class created a new identity and core message for the organization – “On Common Ground.” This identity espouses the organization’s goals of democracy, human rights, security and development, and also engages a younger audience with its edgy sensibilities.

As part of the campaign, the class created a Public Service Announcement for television, a new visual identity for the OAS Centennial events, a new website to help connect young people from across the hemisphere, as well as advertisements targeting the millennium generation.