Brand report: National Migraine Centre

The migraine charity has a new name and a new logo

The National Migraine Centre's new branding
The National Migraine Centre's new branding

The National Migraine Centre is the only charity that specifically treats migraine sufferers. The organisation is 32 years old and, until last year, was known as the City of London Migraine Clinic.

The old name had two drawbacks: the organisation is now a national charity, rather than one serving only people in London, and it does more than run a clinic - it also conducts research and educates GPs.

So the organisation, which almost closed because of financial difficulties a few years ago, decided to adopt a completely new name and visual identity in March last year.

The City of London Migraine Clinic brandingThe charity, which allows migraine sufferers to choose how much they pay, has only three full-time equivalent staff. Its income for the year ending March 2011 was £386,629, almost four times more than four years earlier, but still a relatively modest sum that meant the charity didn't have a vast amount to spend.

But it managed to secure a £10,000 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund and another £10,000 from a supporter to pay for the rebrand. "We had wanted to rebrand for a while but did not have the funding," says Rebecca Sterry, business development coordinator at the centre.

"We felt the old name was holding us back. A lot of people thought we looked like a private clinic, which put them off. We are open to everybody, but we ask for donations."

Sterry says the old logo reinforced this sense of remoteness because it showed a door that appears to be closed.

The charity asked the brand consultancy Felton Works to create a new name and visual identity that reflected its activities better. The consultancy came up with the name National Migraine Centre on a teal background. Sterry describes it as clear, clean, crisp and calm.

The board agreed to the new name and look, as did a sub-committee of patients from backgrounds in the media, marketing and business.

In January the charity held an event to promote its new look. Francis Rossi, the lead singer of Status Quo and a migraine sufferer, lent his support.

Sterry says the charity is considering adding a strapline to the logo. In the meantime it is holding a series of events across the country promoting its new identity.

EXPERT VIEW - Dan Dufour, Head of brand, The Good Agency

Dan Dufour, Head of brand, The Good AgencyCombining a short name with a simple identity moves this small charity forward. However, ovals alone are not differentiating and, though unlikely to cause a headache, the design is generic and in danger of being bypassed by donors.

The green colour gives it a medical feel and is appropriately soothing. But it doesn't really say 'charity' to me: as a potential supporter, I need a bigger emotional hook, which the addition of a strapline - or a more distinctive and meaningful icon - could have provided.

Although the door has rightly been knocked down, images of buildings still remain on the website and these are almost as uninviting. I would prefer to see real people and more testimonials to deepen engagement from a fundraising perspective, especially if raising more money is the aim of the game.

Creativity 2
Delivery 2
4 OUT OF 10

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