Empowering Girls Around the World
Beyond is a non-profit initiative focused on recruiting government agencies, foundations, corporations and startups to invest in solutions to overcome the barriers to girls' education in developing countries.
Now proudly a part of the project, our design studio worked as design consultants to the Beyond’s team to create a strong brand identity to amplify its mission.
Over five months, we collaborated with the co-partners based in France and in the UK to define a visual system built upon the brand's purpose to accelerate Beyond’s ambitions to create an impact, and empower girls across the world.
Scope of project
Brand Strategy – Naming – Identity Design – Social Media and Email Campaign – Web Design and Development – Digital and Printed Marketing Assets
A collaborative approach
Our collaborative process began with a series of interviews with every stakeholder, before we dived into the research phase of the project. This initial phase helped us to develop the new brand strategy for Beyond.
The core team guidance and specific feedback were essential during this phase.
We also conducted brand research looking for opportunities to differentiate the brand from other non-profits, while distancing ourselves from the for-profit visual language and avoid confusion with the commercial world.
Distilling the story
With identity design, the main purpose of a logo should be to identify the organization and not an attempt to define the organization itself. In fact, we often view a logo as a storytelling opportunity rather than a storytelling device.
However, when presenting the first logo solution to the core team, it became apparent that they wanted to infuse the brand mark with meaning, to inspire their audience and forge strong connection within their communities.
A powerful wordmark
Made up of two parts: the wordmark and the forward slash symbol, the logo in its final form aim to illustrate Beyond’s commitment to address the many challenges to overcome the barriers to education for girls.
The wordmark has round and geometric letterforms and extended x-height that challenge counters and apertures, and reveal a focused and confident logotype that inspire confidence in the brand and help build a sense of trust.
We designed the forward slash using an angle of 20 degrees to give a nod to the year in which the project started: 2020.
We kept the design simple for two reasons: to be timeless and easy to implement.
Simplifying the system
When designing the visual identity for Beyond, we tried to focus on one thing. Guided by the insights gained from the strategy phase we developed the identity system around just one feature to help achieve differentiation and create a unique and memorable visual identity, leaving the viewer with only one attribute to remember.
At the heart of the visual identity is the forward slash symbol.
This strong visual complement for the word Beyond is freed from the logo and amplified to create a connection between the brand and the challenges this initiative aims to address, across the different campaigns.
Brand name and logo combination
For this project, we were commissioned to find a new name and develop a visual identity for the initiative. During the naming process, we wanted to offer different options, matching each name with a design solution for the logo.
With the word Beyond and the forward slash symbol, we wanted to illustrate that girls are still facing barriers to education in the developing world—caused by poverty, cultural norms, violence or even poor infrastructure—and the concept supports the commitment of this initiative to find solutions to overcome these challenges and go beyond that.
Purpose drives the brand strategy
With a new story to tell the brand can now evolve to further inspire the public, rally more organizations to the cause and build strong partnerships for stronger impact.
We also felt that it would be important to create a visual identity that would be worthy of Beyond’s mission and that everyone would be proud of.
By offering the forward slash a life on its own, it became a symbol that could be used in media campaigns and that every person who engage with the non-profit initiative (staff/volunteers, donors, program recipients) would continue to champion in their communities.
Branding for the non-profit sector
Whether it is to recruit volunteers, raising money or competing for private funding, a brand for non-governmental organizations is a valuable asset, if not the most valuable asset, in the competitive environment that is NGO fundraising. In the non-profit context, a brand image helps establish credibility and gives potential donors assurance that the organization can achieve the objectives for which it exists.
These brands need to inspire and captivate the public to rally people to the cause, but also resonate with an audience of potential contributors.
If we consider that non-profit organizations rely on two types of donations—money and time donated through volunteering—contributors are not only the donors, but also the staff and the volunteers giving their time in the day-to-day operations of the organization and through volunteering.
Bolder than the others
The story is around the heroes and heroines: the activists, the education advocates, the volunteers and the teachers and the forward slash symbol became an important element in the brand story. This concept can take a number of forms depending on its use: background image, patterns, or words orientation.
We used a gradient palette to differentiate Beyond, making the brand identity bolder than the more classic visual identities that exists in the non-profit sector.
The project scope included different applications for both web and print, including posters, landing pages and a school supplies kit.
To present the facts and data about girls’ education challenges, and raise public awareness, we alslo imagined a platform to bring these data to life and a book to present these insights.
The path forward
Working with non-profit and socially oriented organizations is certainly what we love the most at We Are Colette.
We are proud to have built a brand identity that will evolve and shine as Beyond continues to expand the impact of its initiatives and projects, while infusing the brand with its core purpose.
It has been an exciting journey working with the team at Beyond to develop a brand that would strengthen their ties within their community, and within the company itself even more.
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