“How a Fundraising Agency Redesigned Their Brand to Stand Out in the Nonprofit Space”
Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Wingo is not a typical fundraising firm, so redesigning our brand was not a small task. At our start in 1996, during the height of the AIDS epidemic, all first clients were AIDS organizations. Keeping with our roots in social justice, today we work with a broad array of groups creating change in many areas. And we grew organically, adding teams focused on special events, graphic design, communications and digital marketing.
Our work is rooted in engaging communities as donors and advocates. We are amplifying more issues and diverse voices than we have ever before, from environmental to criminal justice, and so much more. A brand is much more than a logo; it’s a visual representation of the company’s approach to our work, and a distillation of our personality, mission, and values. Our brand is our first impression to the world, and we wanted to make a great one.
Design Builds Actionable Change
We’ve been helping nonprofits fundraise for almost three decades, and we’ve learned quite a bit about engaging and retaining donors. What we’ve found is that design has a massive impact on how people think about an organization, initiative, or campaign. In fact, design has always had a seat at the table when building social change because it engages people visually and psychologically, ultimately getting ideas to stick.
Design to some may seem frivolous, when in actuality, it’s quite strategic–especially for brand identity. Brand design considers multiple points of view and contexts in order to create a visual brand that communicates the right information at the right time, all wrapped up in a color scheme or logo. Design is the result of deliberate choices, each made to work harmoniously together to communicate in a way that people will engage with.
Brand Identity Includes Everyone
We needed a brand design flexible enough to reflect our history and our future growth.
All the teams across Wingo–Design, Events, Fundraising, and Digital Engagement–participated in many Zoom calls over a 4-month period to collaborate and redesign the company brand. Even though each team had their own ideas of what the brand should look like, we all agreed on one thing–it needed to reflect our present while also looking to the future. Together, we came up with a list of opportunities we wanted to address with our brand redesign:
Differentiate ourselves from others in the nonprofit consulting space
Refine the look and feel of our brand design to reflect our approach to work
Bake our values into the visual design of the brand
Live in two places at once–in the present, but alluding to and speculating the future
Getting Everyone Involved in the Design Process
Brand design can be overwhelming and even daunting when it comes to determining how we want it to look. Where do you even start? What we found valuable was starting out with a company moodboard.
We asked each person on our team to submit a few logos or graphic design examples that they like and present them to the team. This not only revealed how our coworkers think about the brand, but also provided a starting point that we can work off of. This exercise got people excited to get involved and solidified a unique look and feel we could build from scratch.
Once we started piecing all our design examples together, we immediately saw some commonalities:
Heavy focus on large typography
Abstract fonts that act as shapes for double meanings
Bright, warm colors
Mapping Out Common Approaches
Our conversations started out by identifying the commonalities between each department’s approach with clients. After some discussion, we came up with two major similarities:
Community-based Collaboration: Each of our teams believe in and approach work as community collaboration. We believe that creating social and cultural change requires relationship building within our communities.
Amplifying marginalized voices: Although we work within many different realms of nonprofit advocacy, all of them (whether events, design, digital engagement or fundraising) are essential ways to build voices around a cause. No matter the team, we see our work as a powerful form of advocacy for social justice.
The Wingo Design System
At first glance, our branding looks simple–an abstract and colorful letter “W”, however its meaning is much more complex. Two shapes come together to form a completely new orange space in the middle. Similar to a venn diagram, our logo reveals the commonalities between two groups collaborating to create something new.
The logo is dynamic and flexible, leaving its mark on any area and within any context. Our original logo was a wordmark that, as we continued to grow, became too rigid in application and context. Sometimes the text was hard to read when in smaller spaces or too typographical when something more visual would have caught more attention. Our latest brand is fluid enough to live on any surface for any occasion.
One piece of the logo–the pink triangle–alludes to our start as a company, while also paying homage to our LGBTQ+ ancestors. The pink triangle in our logo was originally a symbol used to alienate and oppress the LGBTQ+ community, but has since been reclaimed and became a popular symbol for LGBTQ rights and liberation in the 80’s and 90’s.
Our branding as a whole uses triangular shapes that mimic the nostalgia of hexagonal learning tiles and block puzzles we played with as kids. The goal was to make it feel approachable because it felt familiar. Ultimately, these shapes, and the way they’re intersecting, elicit community-based creativity and allude to our hands-on approach in our consulting work.
Primary Color Palette
Secondary Color Palette
When we got to thinking about colors that represented Wingo, we kept asking ourselves, “What do we want people to think or feel when they see our brand?” One phrase stuck out: to feel like we’re celebrating with confetti without the mess.
Our fonts are based on three qualities–playfulness, readability, and approachability. For example, we chose Nunito because it’s a san-serif font with rounded edges, giving it a softness that makes it easy on the eyes and unimposing on the page or site. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, doesn’t feel too exclusive, and is therefore more approachable to the everyday person.
All the components of the design system–from the logo to the typography–are carefully organized, effectively mapping out the ever-changing and living Wingo brand identity across a variety of contexts. This system aims to be specific with just enough wiggle room so as not to be too rigid where legibility or relevancy is lost.
Our Commitment to Social Change
Wingo isn’t just talk–we’re dedicated to building social change by working exclusively with nonprofits to spark action. It’s who we are and it’s weaved into the fabric of our company’s story. Many things have changed since 1996, but our relentless focus to reach our mission has not.
Design has always been at the center of social change, because it can instantly get people to take action, help shift mindsets, or even solidify ideas. It’s a powerful tool we use to build our ever-changing brand identity, ultimately helping nonprofits gain support and donors for their initiatives. What goals does your organization have, and how can design help you exceed them? Wingo can help you figure it out.
Interested in our design services? Contact us below to learn more.