A Life Changing Charity
When we began our journey with South London YMCA (following a rigorous tender process) in the Autumn of 2013, we had no idea where the work would end up. Still fully affiliated with the YMCA they were considering how they – and we – would work with the brand which was being developed for the wider Federation in the UK.
As time progressed it became clear that this new brand, which clearly positioned the YMCA as a Christian youth charity, would not be appropriate for an organisation who “work with ages and sections of the community in a completely secular way”, and the charity took the bold decision to disaffiliate and rebrand independently. The first YMCA to do so in the history of the movement.
It was not a move made lightly, but the charity seized the opportunity to work with us, its staff and customers, in a resolutely democratic and consultative way, to really understand how and what the charity was about, and how this might best be expressed. We ran workshops with key stakeholders to help them fully understand the process and what we were trying to achieve, and further workshops to help define what they believed in as an organisation and what they were like to work with and for.
The new name – Evolve – reflects the fact that the charity exists to provide a safe haven for individuals who are at a point of positive change and growth in their lives, helping them to to move forward to independent and fulfilling futures. The mark reflects that safe haven, and also their straightforward, no nonsense approach.
We developed a brand which was both inspiring, reflected the work that they do but was also pragmatic and cost effective to implement. Hero portraits were created in collaboration with Richard Lewisohn, showing YMCA customers at the moment of change, finding a place of calm in the midst of a busy world. They’re supported by graphic elements, simple portraiture and carefully-selected royalty-free stock imagery to enable the charity to implement the brand consistently with the minimum of ongoing costs.
It has been a long process and very hard work, but Evolve have been supportive, involved and committed at every level of the organisation. They made consistently good decisions at key moments and were both considered and bold in their approach.
For us, this was one of the most rewarding projects we have undertaken to date – the staff and customers of SLYMCA were generous, engaged and genuinely inspiring. It’s been an absolute privilege, we have been humbled by the courage and resilience of the people we met, and hope to have produced a brand which more accurately reflected the brilliant and important work they do.
We also designed and over saw development of their new website – which you can see here. Case study coming soon!