In the months of May and June, I led a rebrand of the non-profit I work for, INITIATIVE. Our original “brand” was all graphics we had thrown together on our phones or a website we built before we even knew who we were. It all worked, but it just wasn’t us. It didn’t communicate who we are or what we do. Six months in, it was time to create a brand that truly represented us well and that’s exactly what we did.
Starting with the logo, we wanted something both modern and evergreen. Something that looks good now and will look good in 50 years. We wanted something that communicated youth, unity and action while also paying respects to our heritage in Dallas. Also, it had to be both a symbol and the name, not just one or the other. The symbol had to be recognizable no matter where you saw it.
We commissioned a designer friend of ours from San Francisco, Leanne Kawahigashi, to design the logo for us. What she sent back was fantastic. A complicated pair of concentric circles representing the messiness of unity enclosed in a full circle representing the one thing that holds us all together, Jesus. The line and circle in the center representing Reunion Tower in Dallas as a reminder of our heritage, all while resembling the classic Power On design to represent youth and action. It was perfect.
After the logo was designed, we turned our attention to the new website. The old one was built on Wordpress, but we decided to build the new one using Squarespace. This decision was made because of the clean design and easy user interface of Squarespace. We needed the website to be able to be managed by anyone, not just a web specialist. Squarespace’s platform makes that possible.
We wanted to follow Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle in regards to our website, heavily incorporating our “Why”, “How”, and “What” in the front page of the website. The site had to tell our story and say exactly who we are. We didn’t want to leave one shadow of a doubt about our purpose or function once someone had come to our site. That’s why on the very first panel of the site, we describe why we’re a network, not a movement and we list our three primary functions: Connect, Expose, Empower. After that, you see our four values, the things we will always fight for. Followed by our four events that practically make our values happen.
We made the website extremely photo heavy. Our old website had pretty sub-par photos. Not because our photographers were bad, but because we had only had two events at most when we made it. The photos did not tell the story of who we are at all. On the new website, we went through and selected our finest photos from the past seven months and also contacted some of our photographer friends in Dallas and asked for their best photos of the city and incorporated them into every aspect of the website. This gave us a beautiful, visual representation of who INITIATIVE is and what we do.
We also wanted to make it incredibly easy to join the INITIATIVE Network. Before, there was a button you clicked that took you to an intimidating looking form that asked for some additional information to name and email like “What is your passion?” and other stuff like that. We need people to fill out that form so our Mobilization team can do their job, but we were finding that many people weren’t because of how intimidating it was. Now, we’ve replaced it with a simplistic form that just asks for name and email. We set up an autoresponder through Mailchimp to send them an email with a link to the other form for them to fill out if they want to. This creates for a less intimidating, more friendly user experience.
For those of you that followed INITIATIVE from the start, you would know that our original URL and social media handles were INITIATIVE Dallas. Now, they are all INITIATIVE Network. We didn’t make the switch because we don’t love Dallas anymore or because we don’t want to reach Dallas anymore, but because we wanted to open our hands to other possibilities in the future. God is already opening up doors for us to possibly duplicate ourselves in other cities. We wanted our brand to be ready for such an expansion before it was necessary, so we’re not scrambling and doing another rebrand once there was another city in the picture. That’s why we decided to push the Network more than the city-specific side of things.
In another post, I will lay out the why behind branding as a whole. I think it’s incredibly important for any organization to have a clear, beautiful and engaging brand. However, that’s a post of it’s own. In the mean time, I hope this post on the in’s and out’s of the INITIATIVE rebrand was helpful.