The US spy agency CIA has launched a full-scale rebranding effort to encourage a younger, “more diverse” talent pool and distance itself from its “old boys club” reputation. The organisation has debuted a new website and logo design, sparking memes on Twitter.
Interestingly, the agency is currently headed by a woman, which itself is a first.
CIA Director Gina Haspel had told Associated Press that she hopes the new website gives people a sense of the “dynamic environment that awaits them here”.
“We’ve come a long way since I applied by simply mailing a letter marked ‘CIA, Washington, DC’,” she had said.
The new black-and-white circular logo depicts the CIA and the Central Intelligence Agency against an array of parallel and intertwined lines. The agency’s eagle-based emblem remains unchanged.
“We are the Nation’s first line of defense,” reads a message on its website, alongside a rotating series of images of diverse individuals.
However, the effort to change the image has twitterati in splits.
“CIA rebranding as a modular synthesizer festival in Berlin,” comedian Sarah Squirm said, while journalist Max Pearl went on to point out that the logo is “literally a Mutek poster.”
Others found positive elements. “I’m actually quite stunned—in a positive manner—at what they’re trying to achieve,” says Pentagram partner Eddie Opara, who was surprised to see this redesign approach, as it was devoid of the traditionally iconic patriotic elements. He sees the site as effective in what it’s trying to do: recruit, with clear call to actions above the fold. Dark tones create a sense of distance and curiosity, he says, adding that the site “indicates a really telling aspect about what the nation needs at this moment of time, and that sense of inclusivity and diversity is coming through in an active manner through young, millennial-type diverse faces.”
Though the agency has been able to dismiss its involvement military coups, assassination plots and rigged elections across the world, it hasn’t been able to shake the perception that it’s a white Ivy League boys’ club.
The agency also claims that women lead all its five major branches, but still lacks the diversity that hampers its ability to accurately represent the racial groups. In 2015, a declassified report revealed just 10.8 percent of its leaders were non-white. “The Agency’s workforce is not diverse,” reads the report’s conclusion, going on to add that “the more senior the Agency’s workforce is, the less diverse it is.”