Third Sector Excellence Awards: Brand Development

Mencap has moved from working to understand learning disability to being the voice of learning disability.

Mencap publications
Mencap publications

For the best new, changed or evolved branding

Judging panel:
John Palmer, director of marketing and communications, the Scout Association
Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, chair, Office of the Third Sector Advisory Board
Mike Wade, director of fundraising and communications, National Deaf Children’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society
Environmental Protection UK
Hillingdon Association of Voluntary Services (Havs)
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Trafford Housing Trust

Winner: Mencap
The world of learning disability has evolved significantly since Mencap’s formation 60 years ago. There have been progressive legislation, advances in public attitudes and big changes in the needs of learning-disabled people and their families.
However, the charity discovered from its recent research that 87 per cent of people had heard of it, but only 7 per cent knew what it did – there was widespread confusion about its work and structure.
All this meant Mencap needed to change, both in the way it works and in the way it presents itself. Extensive research and consultation led the charity to the conclusion that it needed to move from understanding learning disability (the strap-line on its old logo) to being the voice of learning disability, with a visual identity to match. That process is now complete, Mencap says.
Learning-disabled people were included in the brand development process, helping to select the creative agency and producing the first font ever designed by people with learning disabilities. Mencap’s entry said: We have moved from being a passive, supportive organisation to one that is taking leadership of the learning disability community. We are proactive, inclusive, young and strident. Our new logo reflects this change – bright, open colours, clear images, simple font.
By leading with the voices of people with learning disabilities, we are fighting for what they want. The speech bubble in the logo demonstrates this, and lends itself to including real stories from real people.
The judges were impressed by the way the new branding, which cost £150,000, fitted with and expressed the redefined purposes of the charity. John Palmer, one of the judges, said: It’s about how you use visual ideas to support the values of the organisation. It builds on what was there before, but moves from understanding learning disability to being the voice of learning disability.
Mike Wade, another judge, said: They’ve rethought the whole organisation, moving subtly and building on what they’ve already got.

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