The United Nations’ Creative Department

Oct 3, 2014  |  By Accepted Protege  |  

An article was recently posted on that sheds light on possibly one of the biggest creative advertising groups that you’ve never heard of. The Graphic Design Unit (GDU) is a department within the United Nations responsible for all their creative content all over the world. This 10 person team has what Print Mag says is “probably among the coolest gigs in the world.” The team consists of international talent with members coming in from all corners of the globe.




Very few advertising agencies whether independent or in-house have an audience like the GDU does. The UN consists of 193 countries, all of whom the GDU creates visual messages for. While this type of exposure is almost unprecedented, with it comes a sea of challenges for designers to overcome. Aside from the obvious language barrier, the GDU must also come up with words and imagery that transcend cultural differences as well. Sometimes the cultural barrier is so great that the GDU has to build a basic template for a design and message which they essentially outsource to a UN Information Center to build upon and clarify for the specific area they are located. Because the GDU’s end goal is to increase knowledge and awareness, it is of the utmost importance that things don’t get lost in translation and that the U.N. maintains a centered and singular stance on a variety of issues.




At the end of the day, this is the type of advertising that many people dream of eventually doing. When the message you’re promoting is one driving change towards a more unified and peaceful world, it is probably a little bit easier to hop out of bed in the morning. We here at Civilian are lucky enough to work on a variety of projects that allow us to craft messages inspiring positive change, and now we have a very high benchmark to aspire to. Thanks, GDU!

Isaac Maltzer

Digital AP

Mood: Inspired


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