The Children’s Society

Contributed by Simon Manchipp of London-based SomeOne.

The Children's Society identity design

The Children’s Society has unveiled a new brand identity, as it steps up its fight to expose the hard truths behind child poverty and teenage neglect across the country.

General awareness of the charity’s work has fallen over the last few years and in-depth research revealed that investing in a more impactful visual identity was crucial to having the greatest possible impact on the lives of this country’s most disadvantaged children.

It is the first time The Children’s Society has changed its visual identity in 16 years.

This change will support the charity to strongly communicate what it does and have more traction with supporters, commissioners, funders and other key audiences.

The Children's Society identity design

The Children's Society identity design

The Children's Society identity design

The Children’s Society had conducted eight months of research before our involvement, talking to children, staff, supporters, volunteers and the church audience from across the UK to find common values as well as input for the charity’s vision and mission. At this stage we did our own interviews with trustees and the senior leadership team as well as sending a team including our creative director Laura Hussey and designer Cosmo Jameson to talk directly to a group of disadvantaged children. The “away day” consisted of a brand workshop followed by a paint balling session(!) which our designers found really useful (as well as painful) as it put a face to the people we were trying to help.

The Children's Society identity design

The visual identity places a strong emphasis on storytelling and the revealing of hard truths.

The Children's Society identity design

The black and white palette emphasises the serious nature of the charity’s work, while allowing great flexibility to work with bolder colours and designs for different audiences.

The Children's Society identity design

The Children’s Society will gradually roll out the new identity over the next year in order to help keep costs down, put value for money at the forefront, and make sure it is implemented in the most effective way.

The Children's Society identity design

The Children’s Society’s chief executive Matthew Reed said:

“For the last 130 years, The Children’s Society has been an organisation constantly changing and adapting, pushing the boundaries whilst looking for new and innovative ways to help disadvantaged children.”

The Children's Society identity design

“We are an ambitious organisation and we want to have the greatest impact on the most children possible. To do that, we are investing in significant changes to every part of the organisation. We are changing the way we deliver services, engage supporters and campaign for change. Investing in a new brand and visual identity is a vital part of that change.

“A brand is about more than a visual identity and a logo. It informs everything we do as an organisation: Our vision, our mission and our values and behaviours. It reflects the history of our charity and will determine our future.”

The Children's Society identity design

SomeOne’s executive creative director David Law said:

“It was a key criteria of our work that the new identity had to not only be bold and impactful to recognise the hard truths that The Children’s Society seeks to expose, but it also has to stand out amongst the rest of the charitable sector.

“The amazing work The Children’s Society does really resonated with us as an agency and our designers worked hard to create an identity that could live up to that.

“Transformational change comes from within and we see this as a symbol of change, not just a change of symbol.”

The Children's Society identity design

The Children's Society identity design

SomeOne elsewhere on Identity Designed: The Halcyon, National Maritime Museum.

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11 responses

  1. An outstanding rebrand. The purple branding of old was doing nothing for this fantastic organisation.

    Someone had quite a challenge on their hands here. But they have handled it brilliantly.

    A superb and transformational piece of work.

  2. Bland, unmemorable and not very engaging. I doubt this will have much traction with the public or do much for “general awareness” of the charities work. I have always admired SomeOne’s thought process in theory, but as always the execution leaves a lot to be desired – and one has to question their expertise in the recent run of dud identities. While the previous identity wasn’t fantastic, it was definitely more appropriate for work with children than this dark, dull scheme.

  3. The new identity is characterized by a strong black and white contrast as well as rigid forms which together create formal drama. I’m not convinced that this is the most effective form for the stated goal. I am reminded of identities for organizations that use a lot of brain power and dilligence like accounting firms and companies that have a strong formal process like a law, design, or engineering firms. The aspect of empathy, human drama and fighting for justice and attention seems under represented in this identity.

  4. ^I agree Christian, this identity lacks any kind of warmth or human feeling that should definitely be communicated with an organisation like this. This identity is cold and abrupt.

  5. It’s very corporate. I like the photos, but the boxy look is a bit unappealing to me. Black and white will save quite a bit on ink I guess…

  6. I am so sad about this design. I used to work for The Children’s Society and I am so disappointed that this is the path they’ve chosen.

    I knew a charity that put children at the heart of the organisation – including making sure all communications were youth-friendly.

    I knew a charity full of warmth, empathy and hope. This design is depressing, corporate and void of The Children’s Society’s values. I understand the need to reflect the hard work the charity does and the tough challenges it faces, but there is no reason to present it in such a dark, judgemental and unimaginative fashion.

  7. Anon

    Thanks for your comments as it’s always good to get feedback. I thought I would take this opportunity to reassure you. The Children’s Society is, as you say, a charity that puts children at its heart and it’s full of warmth, empathy and hope. The identity we created that the public sees is deliberately bold and issue-centric simply because the public that need to donate and the government that needs to listen are not won over by warm, friendly communications. These have become a category generic and all the research conducted by The Children’s Society confirmed this. Our aim was to help the organisation become focussed and work harder to be noticed. What I can reassure you is that the identity adapts when it is present in centres and programmes such as Christingle. We invited contemporary illustrators to augment the identity with a bright colour palette. So the identity is ultimately all about the children and flexes its design muscles where appropriate. I hope this clarifies things for you.

  8. I think the identity works very well.

    It immediately had an impact on me, making me think that cases involving children in need, and the stories and issues behind them, aren’t always black and white (due to the colour scheme).

    The shapes reminded me of the constraints organisations such as this often have to work under, which led me to think of ways that I could help (my first thought being donating time and/or money).

    Finally, although I’m not a huge fan of serif fonts in general, the font here adds an element of formality and seriousness befitting the work The Children’s Society does.

    All in all, I think it shows that behind good branding there’s always a great deal of thought and research. The most obvious answers are not always the most effective and I think this rebrand will help The Children’s Society stand out and attract the kind of attention and support it deserves. It doesn’t look like an average charity branding, which I think is a very good thing.

    Excellent work.

  9. That’s what I thought, too, Richard, it’s not your average charity branding, and that’s a good thing. There’s no point hiring SomeOne if you want what everyone else has.

    David, thanks for the extra details, and thanks to everyone else for sharing thoughts. I like when there’s a difference in opinion.

  10. I first saw this identity when Mr.Manchipp shared in Linkedin. It is an outstanding identity. I like it very much.

    In adult world, we have not only white and black, but also uncountable grey areas. We are no longer pure as a child. Every adult and this society is a mix of goodness and badness, kindness and evilness, etc

    Black and white perfectly demonstrated children’s society.

    1), Black and white represent what children at this age think about world
    2), Black and white also tell world how to treat children and next generation.

    This identity gives me a lot of thinking in deep. It is simple, but means everything.

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