A Facelift or a Rebuild? 3 Questions to Ask Before Changing Your Nonprofit Logo, Guest Blog by Christine Batta

May 27, 2014

Cancer Research UK used a new design to add the theme of “our progress is your progress” to their existing “together we can beat cancer” message.

Guest Blog by Christine Batta, Graphic Designer, SW Creatives
Read the original blog here

A thoughtful logo redesign has the potential to make a big impact on a nonprofit organization because its message can gather, focus and unify your key leaders, board members, donors and volunteers. Many nonprofit leaders are curious about how they can update or refresh their logo to concentrate the impact of visuals which have become diluted through time, use and modification. However, what may seem like a small logo adjustment could really uncover deeper demands to reevaluate your brand’s full visual character and messaging.

Jessica Hische’s recent facelift for the MailChimp logo makes a logo update seem deceivingly simple. With small budgets and hectic schedules, nonprofits are usually confronting much larger brand shifts when the attention falls on their logos and branding.

My guess is that your nonprofit logo update may not be this simple.

Because a logo update may just be the tip of your project’s iceberg, here are 3 questions we recommend you answer to determine the scale of your organization’s branding needs before beginning a logo redesign.


The first place you can start to uncover your organization’s branding needs is by pinpointing the individuals who are bringing up the idea of making a change. Even if it takes some digging to articulate why, if people in your organization aren’t happy with the logo it means the logo in some way does not successfully identify the work they do. If people are talking about the logo, you need to find out if something about the organization has changed.

You have to get everyone on your team on the same page in order to narrow & specify the goals that your logo’s personality should represent. Don’t spend your design budget on a bandaid for an organizational identity crisis. Seriously evaluating whether your logo aligns with your goals will help you decide if you are looking at a typographic or color adjustment or something as deep as a name change!

The nonprofit Northwest Church Planting updated their look with the intention of appealing to younger audiences and were able to keep their existing mark in place.


The imagery and symbolism of your brand is a strong foundation for representing your mission in a memorable way. You should carefully evaluate whether your logo tells the story of your organization’s involvement and impact. If your organization’s mission has drastically changed, expanded or narrowed, is your existing symbol telling stories that no longer exist? Still, also keep in mind that a new logo doesn’t need to start from scratch as many organizations seek to improve their existing brand language. Ditching an icon which your audience is familiar with demands additional time and research to make an informed choice.

The nonprofit Friends of Karen’s rebrand kept the balloon imagery because the symbolism of hope was important to the core values of the brand.


Leaders often look at their logo in a bubble and fail to envision what the new logo will look like applied to all the existing materials your organization uses to operate. If your logo is outdated in terms of style or message, the problem will often have a deeper root in your overall graphic style. Your logo’s new tone may clash with existing typography styles and imagery which were inspired by the older logo. Or a new name can be tragically wasted on an old website where your new tune is hidden by an interface no one wants to engage with.

By adding the tagline “Live United” to their already strong brand, United Way was challenged to build new typographic and layout styling to support it.

If you would like to get an expert opinion on the scale of your logo design needs, get in touch with our passionate team of designers at 

. We would love to chat with you about your nonprofit brand!


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