How to brand the Umbrella Revolution

It apparently doesn’t take long for everyday items to be appropriated as the unifying symbols of a movement. Take the Guy Fawkes vendetta masks that came to signify the Occupy Wall Street movement or the rainbow flag that represents the LGBTQ movement. Now there is Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Revolution,” the student-led civil disobedience movement clamoring for greater democratic reforms.

The revolution takes its name from the students’ use of umbrellas to protect themselves from tear gas and rubber bullets by the city’s riot police. So ubiquitous is the unifying visual that a professor at a local Hong Kong university is now taking it a step further.

Kacey Wong, an assistant professor at Hong Kong PolyU School of Design, is taking his teaching outside the classroom. He is collecting design submissions as part of the “Umbrella Movement Logo Competition” with logos representing  justice, democracy and freedom. So far he has collected 100 design contributions that have collectively received more than 600 likes.

“The desire for a symbol to demonstrate affiliation is nothing new, throughout time we have broadcast our allegiance through these visual references,” said James Fox, CEO of Red Peak Branding. “With today’s social media landscape and image-based culture, this need for visual expression is even more widespread, so it makes complete sense that Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution is seeking a symbol.”

Here, then, are some of the more popular entries.

This one evokes a recent Time magazine cover:


Merging an umbrella with the peace symbol is as understated as it is powerful:

The hand-drawn touch gives this one a DIY, grassroots feel:



The allusion to Tiananmen Square pulls no punches:


Same goes for the French Revolution:


This one has us thinking of Totoro for some reason, though:


Simple, elegant and stunning:

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