COVID Emergency Response Communications


COVID Emergency Response Communications

City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco’s COVID stay home order was the first in the nation and we needed to get clear information out immediately. City employees were pulled from across departments to serve as Disaster Service Workers.

We needed to help people make sense of a lot of information in little time, and a consistent design language helped reassure people that information was from official sources. We chose clear, recognizable, universal icons, accessible to most San Franciscans, 40% of whom speak languages other than English at home.

We used bold, high contrast colors and kept the messages simple. We sent people to, a new, mobile-responsive website where we could continuously update information as we got it.

We created materials in many sizes and social graphics for all platforms. All items were designed in Chinese, Spanish and Filipino, and sometimes Russian, Arabic and Vietnamese. We created templates so our work could be quickly scaled and used by others.

Our emergency outreach team and city partners posted the information in all SF neighborhoods.
The information was clear, recognizable, in language, everywhere, and it may have even saved lives.

Key Team Members

Linda Acosta, Nicole Woo
Scott Tyler, Hannah Gribetz
Anita Cheng,

About the organization

The City and County of San Francisco is one of the largest employers in the city and recruits and maintains a very diverse workforce, closely representing the demographics of the city. When a person is hired to work for the city, they sign a pledge to work as a Disaster Service Worker, should the need arise. The need arose in March of 2020, when city workers were sent to Moscone Center to help San Francisco cope with what would become a global pandemic. Employees from many city departments formed the Joint Information Center. They coordinated all communications and were responsible for getting timely, accurate, easy to understand information to all San Franciscans.