Refugee Phrasebook

 The Refugee Phrasebook is an open collaborative project to provide important vocabulary to refugees. It assembles important phrases from various fields and encourages designers and experts in the field to improve on the material. While the first collection of phrases was still limited to a closed document with a narrow use case, volunteers quickly migrated the data to an open table in Google Sheets and significantly increased the number of participants with their network. This step also emphasized a commitment to transparency and openness by publishing the data with a Creative Commons license (CC0), reuseable for refugee aid projects everywhere. As a designer it is hard to think of things you can do for the refugees, and soon I joined the project to help and design the book and icons for the phrases (for the Red Cross regions of the Benelux, including small parts of Arabia and Greece).

The Process

The phrases now include a broad range of topics, from a simple “Hello” to “I need to see a doctor”, covering a general set of phrases as well as sentences for juridical and medical needs. Local initiatives are welcome to adapt, print and distribute all contents of the page to support refugees in all regions. It currently contains vocabulary in 28 languages. 

Within the team I was responsible for designing the book's icons and cover, translating the phrases from the translators to images and making it understandable for everyone. After that I helped with the DTP-Process, making grids for the phrases as minimal and neat as possible.



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Creative Team

Andre Castro - Design lead, Codewizard
Jochem Walboomers - Graphic Design, DTP
Camie Roos - Graphic Design, DTP
Jerry Estie - DTP, Distribution
Marieke Den Ouden - DTP, Distribution