Searching For Syria

Data visualization, and research for "Google Searching for Syria" immersive website. Project in collaboration with Google Brand Studio and UNHCR.


Process & Research ↴


Google Brand Studio, in collaboration with UNHCR , aked R/GA to help define, research and build Google Searching for Syria: an immersive multimedia website designed to get people around the world to interact with a very complex topic. The goal was to encourage users to engage with the content and help them empathize and understand the Syrian refugee crisis better.

The project's success relied on users wanting to share the experience and/or become a regular donor. Since the project launched, 30% of over 2.3 million site visitors have taken action by donating, joining, or sharing. The average time on the site is 2:43 minutes, with some visitors spending upwards of 45 minutes.

The site combined UNHCR data and stories, Google Search Trends, and other sources to deliver answers to the five most common queries that people around the world are asking about the Syrian refugee crisis:
What was Syria like before the war?
What is happening in Syria?
Who is a refugee?
Where are Syrian refugees going?
How can I help Syrian refugees? 
I joined the team to help conceptualize and research around Data Visualisation. Google didn't have specific guidelines around it, but the real challenge was different: How could we create a neutral yet human and respectful language within such a delicate subject? How can we create a universal language that everyone can understand, engage and act responsively? Refugees are not numbers. They are human beings in the context of a war and a significant biased conflict.

This case study shows more the behind scene process of sketch and research around this. We studied different geometry and behavior around the main topics that the content team was developing: humans, shapes, geography, movement (migration).
R/GA ↴
London, 2017

Experience / Design Team ↴
Lucio Rufo (Executive Creative Director, Visual Design)
Jen Heazlewood (Head of UX, Creative Director)
Muriel Boughardani (Design Director)
Cris Mascort (Design Director)
Ludvig Sandstrom (Senior UX)
Zac Ioannidis (Creative Technologist / Data Visualization)

Campaign Team ↴
Andrea Vergara (Art Director)
Michael Venner (Copywritter)
Ciaran McCarthy (Creative Director)

All Rights Reserved

Cris Mascort
Brand & Interactive Design


Based in NYC
International comissions
Currently ↴  
Founder, Creative Director

Former ↴  
Head of Design
Open, NY + LA
Character NY
R/GA London