Identity for an Identity

UIDAI, or Unique Identification Authority of India, is a path breaking project in many ways. With the onus of allotting a unique number to each one of India’s 100 crore + population, thus creating an unique identity for each one of them, this is one of the biggest project of its kind, anywhere in the world. Also, the fact that its headed by Mr Nandan Nilekani from Infosys, has lent it huge credibility. The UID issued will be linked to the resident’s demographic and biometric information, which they can use to identify themselves anywhere in India, and to access a host of benefits and services. In April earlier this year, a new name, and the Brand Identity for this project was unveiled, which was chosen through a public competition. Unlike other logo contests of government agencies, this one was fast, fair, and produced convincing results.

Official Press Release: The name ‘AADHAAR’ communicates “a foundation over which public and private agencies can build services and applications that benefit residents across India”. AADHAAR would also be a foundation for the effective enforcement of individual rights. (The Sun) represents a new dawn of equal opportunity for each individual, a dawn which emerges from the unique identity the number guarantees for each individual. The sun symbolizes a promise that shines on all residents equally.


The idea of ‘light’ within the logo also communicates an important vision of the UIDAI – that AADHAAR’s uniqueness in identity verification would allow the governments to implement greater transparency in welfare programs, bringing more light into the delivery of services and resources. This idea of light can also be used to communicate another core promise of AADHAAR – that with this number, the poor will no longer be invisible to the state. AADHAAR would throw light on, and recognize the existence of each poor individual, by registering their identities with the government.


The red and yellow colors of the logo, representing the shades of the sun, are also festive Indian colours. They would help incorporate the logo easily into local Indian art forms and styles, and will draw attention when painted on village walls and distributed on leaflets.

Well, having read that, there is not much left to say. Rarely has an identity been so meaningfully depicted, and explained. The only hitch, I think,  is with the typography, which could have been a little more impressive.

So, knowing what the Identity means and represents, let’s now shift our attention to a few other aspects. First, the credits – for the Verbal Identity, the name AADHAAR has been chosen among various options including ASMITA, & ABHIGYAN. Though no formal credits have been given for the naming, it is assumed to be an internal output of the UIDAI, with a panel of experts from the branding & advertising industry being their guiding light. A good idea this, considering that UIDAI is somewhat tough to pronounce, and was getting shortened by people and media alike. And replacing it with AADHAAR (foundation ,base) is not just meaningful but good Branding too.

AADHAAR makes for a far more powerful brand than UIDAI could ever hope to become.

For the Visual Identity, UIDAI invited public entries in Feb 2010, receiving 2000 + ideas. The 5 shortlisted entries were from:

Sudhir Horo
Michael Foley
Saffron Brand Consultants
Jayanth Jain and Mahendra Kumar –
Atul S. Pande

Atul S Pande, from Pune, designed the winning entry, an Identity that’s received appreciation from all quarters.

Aadhaar and it’s new Identity have begun their journey across the country, and will reach out to every Indian over the next few years, giving each one of them an Identity they can call their own.


Strategy : 85%        Creativity : 75%        Execution : 80%


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