Change of PerspectiveS

Semiotics: Do you think that the imagery used by an NGO is harmless? We know that it can be problematic. Get cultural insights.

Insight: Out of Africa

How we helped a Swiss NGO develop culturally sensitive visual communication in the context of fundraising for nature conservation in Africa.


A Swiss NGO asked us to conduct a critical analysis of its imagery. The organisation promotes nature conservation in an African country by raising the required funds in Switzerland and providing financial and administrative resources to fund the employment of over 200 workers in Africa for the production and sale of energy-efficient cookers. Semiotics analysed the imagery that was being used in the NGO’s digital and print media and identified a problematic colonial perspective (#whitesaviorism, #whitesavior) that was being communicated. In the context of a workshop, this imagery was discussed with the employees of the NGO and subsequently reworked. The result was a set of guidelines that will support the communications team in the culturally sensitive implementation of its visual communications. A film being produced in cooperation with the African communications team is also taking these parameters into consideration.