Opinion: Hot issue - Will the new Charity Commission logo help to improve its image?

The commission has brought out a colourful, lime-green logo intended to suggest involvement and support. Will this 'funky' approach help the commission to change and modernise?


The Charity Commission's logo and graphic house style have been looking a little dated, and giving them a makeover occasionally is good housekeeping.

Although logos and house styles are easy to change, they have only a small impact on marketing success and the corporate reputation of an organisation.

Even the commission, with its monopoly of charity regulation, is concerned about its reputation.

The commission's problem is that it is trying to market itself as two very different organisations to the same customer. One is the friendly and helpful adviser; the other is the brutally unforgiving statutory regulator.

The present logo with its crown tells a charity it is dealing with a state regulator. The new logo, however, is more suitable for a friendly adviser.

The real danger for the commission is that charities that ask a friend for advice are all the more resentful when the 'friend' suddenly transforms into a policeman, delivers a sharp whack from a truncheon and arrests them. It's going to be even more important than before that the commission minimises the number of mistakes it makes when investigating charities and apologises convincingly when it does make mistakes. Corporate reputation cannot be built from logos.


The new logo is certainly an improvement, and one has to applaud the commission for deciding to upgrade its image. However, it doesn't quite go far enough. The previous version had a distinctly bureaucratic and stately flavour about it, but I feel the new one is an opportunity wasted.

As a design it's a bit half-baked and feels disposable. If it is an attempt to modernise, then it has partially succeeded - moving from the 1950s to the 1980s.

The commission wants to promote a new vision of "charity working at the heart of society", but this isn't reflected in the design. Indeed, the new logo looks as if it represents a charity itself rather than a regulatory body. Although the commission briefed a design consultancy, the logo was actually generated by an internal task force comprising eight people.

Perhaps this is where the problem lies. As the saying goes, "a camel is a horse designed by a committee".

To really improve its image the commission needs to look below the surface.

A new logo and 'funky' colours are all well and good, but ethos, approachability and responsibility need to be developed from within and demonstrated on a day-to-day basis.


At least I hope so. The Charity Commission is undergoing a rebirth and a rededication as charity law is being updated after many years of neglect.

A new logo is therefore appropriate in drawing attention to this changed focus.

I have no problem with the removal of the crown from the logo and I congratulate the commission for applying the Kiss principle: "Keep it simple, stupid."

If I have a concern, and this may be a missed opportunity, it is the continued use of the word 'charity'. Whereas all those reading this know exactly what it means, there are people who don't. Even in this day and age, some elderly people in my constituency stubbornly will not apply for pension credit, saying "I don't accept charity".

Voluntary and charitable organisations today are not about Victorian handouts or appeasing the consciences of the rich. They are about empowerment and facilitation of ordinary people and communities, especially those less able to stand up for themselves.

Raising this issue now is not a helpful act on my part.

I am sure that getting the right name for the commission is a debate that will last another hundred years. Perhaps it should call itself the Commission for Community Action.


The new logo will improve the image of the Charity Commission partly because the old identity was somewhat dated. It might have given the impression that the commission was an austere and reactionary organisation.

I would be a little concerned about this new look, because the commission's core role is to regulate charities, specifically to "increase charities' efficiency and effectiveness and public confidence in them".

So although the old logo needed to be refreshed, the commission must maintain some authority - and there is a risk that this doesn't sit well with being "almost funky".

The commission was right to want to be seen as more approachable. However, the type and flag-like element of the design were probably sufficient to achieve this without choosing a colour that is possibly a bit lightweight and may not suggest enough authority.

Organisations regularly get criticised when they adopt a new identity.

When 4Children relaunched, we were careful to accompany our new look with a new policy manifesto, so that there was real substance behind our new style.

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