Written and published in partnership with Social Change Consulting
Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company. – Saul Bass
A non-profit’s brand – visually centering around its logo – is crucial to telling the story of your organization: who you are, what you stand for, what you work for. Just like any for-profit company or organization, there comes a time when you need to evaluate the image of your brand and determine if it’s time for a refresh, or a rebrand. A rebrand is a big investment; it takes budget, time, resources, and a commitment to closely look at your brand’s story, success, and image. Before you make that investment, Social Change Consulting (SCC) can offer guidance when you’re deciding if it’s time to hire someone to breathe new energy into your brand. Here are a few questions to consider:
Is your logo effectively conveying your message?
Your non-profit’s logo is often the first thing a constituent will see; it should communicate a clear, understandable message and be appropriate to what your organization represents. Your message and the visual should be in sync. If the non-profit is bold, the logo should be bold. If the non-profit provides support, the logo should have a caring tone. The graphic elements used in the logo should help represent your organization and its mission in the best light. If your mission has changed, it may be time for your logo to change too.
Is your logo current?
If your logo was created when the non-profit was founded in 1985, it’s possible it looks like it’s still 1985. You don’t want to appear dated; it could negatively affect your outreach. Ideally, your logo has stood the test of time, if not you want to consider ways to make it timeless through some design changes (font, graphic style, colors, etc.) The best brands evolve, in many ways, including their look and feel. You want to look – and be – current, relevant to your audience, and think ahead to the future. There is value in a non-profit’s legacy mission, but you don’t want to be perceived as tired and old.
Is it memorable?
You want people to see your non-profit’s logo and then remember it. And, of course, remember what you do. If not, explore how you can rebrand to give it more of an impact, possibly through the use of color or graphic elements. Part of memorability is simplicity. People respond to simple logos, ones that succinctly tell a story without being too complex or complicated. Repetition also supports memorability. Never miss an opportunity to include your brand, from the sign on your front door to simple correspondence. Don’t forget t-shirts and pins: give your volunteers a chance to embrace your logo.
Does your logo speak to your audience?
Your logo should appeal to the intended audience, whether it is youth, educators, environmental enthusiasts, or, more broadly, the general public. If your audience has changed, it may be time for a change. The youth audience you were talking to 20 years ago likely doesn’t respond to the same design as contemporary youth. Also, think about your audience in relation to similar organizations. It’s not unusual for the public to confuse nonprofit organizations; a unique logo that stands out within your sector will help you limit that confusion.
How is your logo currently used?
Your logo will exist in many places, from small on a business card to large on a banner. Think about all the places you’re using it to build your brand, and then consider if its use is working. If your logo has been around for some time, it may be a challenge to work it into more current applications, such as your Twitter or Facebook profile or Constant Contact emails. You want your logo to appear well on a promotional item and on the big screen at a conference. If you’re encountering challenges, it may be time to evaluate and explore a design solution that will give your more versatility.
Do you have a brand system?
Your logo works best as part of a larger brand system that supports your non-profit’s identity. A logo alone doesn’t make a brand; it needs to be accompanied by supporting elements. A brand system includes a color palette, fonts, images, graphics; elements that work together to help make your brand recognizable and provide visual consistency. You want your brand to provide an experience for your audience; a system helps create that cohesive experience and extend your brand across multiple mediums.
Your logo is an essential part of any brand’s identity and deserves your attention. If these questions got you thinking it’s time for a rebrand, SCC is here to help guide you through the process to create a stellar new logo that will support your non-profit’s success.