A few weeks ago, a colleague asked me to write a quick guide for a non-profit professional association she belongs to. The organization does great work but their branding is sub-par. I am sharing the brand refresh recommendations I wrote for them in hopes that it may help you.
1. Use typography
- Incorporate more interesting typography into your logo (right now I believe it is Helvetica, which we see everywhere). The American Institute of Graphic Art has a slick yet elegant logo with only their acronym, and it is always set in a black box (sometimes they change it to different colors):
- Consider only using a wordmark without the papers image above the wordmark. Consider incorporating the name of the organization under the acronym wordmark. My favorite agency, Pentagram, has done many elegant and simple logos like this. You can view their website for inspiration:
- You could start using a custom typeface on your website. Some typefaces are an investment (for example, a suite can cost upwards of $200), but it is an investment in your brand and gives a very polished look to your communications. For example, I recommend the typeface Chronicle Display which you can purchase through Hoefler Frere Jones (typography.com).
- If you are going to purchase a typeface, it would be helpful to consult with a designer who will be able to identify which typeface(s) you should purchase, how you would use them, and what standard typeface would contrast well with the one(s) you purchase. On the Hoefler Frere Jones website, they have a good tool which mixes and matches different typefaces together.
2. Expand the color palette
The color palette is good; blue and green inspire trust. However, you could work to incorporate accent colors, or other shades of blue or green that contrast or compliment the current colors. A good tool for doing this is kuler.adobe.com. Here are two examples of color palettes:
3. Be consistent
While you are working out the details above, keep a record as you move toward creating a consistent brand identity. A style guide will help all members of your organization be consistent in how they use typefaces, the logo, and colors. A professional designer will be able to create a style guide.
A few templates that the organization may need are: one-pager templates; digital and printed letterhead; email marketing templates; and powerpoint templates.