Brand Report - Fairbridge

The charity changed its logo but retained its name after reviewing its identity


There has been a recent trend of charities adopting self- explanatory names. NCH, for example, became Action for Children and the RNID will change to Action on Hearing Loss next year.

The young people's charity Fairbridge considered this route when it embarked on its image overhaul a year ago. The charity, which helps disadvantaged 13 to 25-year-olds in 15 locations, is in some ways hampered by a name that says nothing about what it does. In the end, it decided to keep the name and adopt a new logo, strapline and look.

Mark Frodsham, head of communications and information at the charity, says that the name is not well known nationally, but is recognised by local funders in areas in which it operates.

"There is equity in the name," he says. "At a time when local funding is tight, changing it would not have been the right thing to do."

Fairbridge was founded in 1982 and employs 300 people. Before the rebrand, its look had not changed for a decade. Consultation revealed widespread support for the charity's services, but not for its brand. The old strapline, "Supporting inner-city youth", was considered dated.

Good (Beta), not-for-profit sector partners of communications agency (Beta) London, agreed to help develop a new visual identity free of charge. Fairbridge also received free mentoring from Richard Swaab, executive vice-chairman of the advertising agency AMV BBDO.

After holding workshops with Fairbridge stakeholders, Good (Beta) came up with three logo designs. The successful one divides the charity's name into two lines to suggest that it is 'fair' and a 'bridge' towards better lives. The logo is arched in a bridge shape to reinforce this idea. The strapline "Inspiring young lives" encapsulates what the charity does.

Frodsham says the rebrand, which was unveiled at the charity's annual general meeting on 7 October, cost nothing, but estimates the bill would have been £80,000 had Fairbridge paid commercial rates.

"Fairbridge is a vibrant, youth-led organisation," says Andrew Purvis, chief executive of the charity. "We wanted that ethos to be reflected in our logo and to have a more contemporary brand identity."


EXPERT VIEW - David Jenkinson, Creative director, Interbrand

David Jenkinson, creative director, InterbrandFairbridge's decision to keep its name for fear of losing local funders might be one it regrets. 'Does what it says on the tin' might be a trend in this sector, but with the abundance of charity messaging fighting for our attention, a clear articulation of your purpose is a handy shortcut.

The design language does feel more positive and vibrant. Maintaining black and orange helps to establish consistent identification and the logo is an adequate evolution from the old version.

But has Fairbridge missed an opportunity to get to the heart of what it says it does in terms of turning young people's lives around, and building on this in its strapline to make for a more engaging hook?

If I saw the logo and strapline in isolation, I'm not sure I'd know what the charity covered, which is a shame, given the great work it does.

Creativity: 3
Delivery: 4
Total: 7 out of 10

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