First organized in 1924, BBYO — an acronym for B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, but not formally used anymore as the movement is no longer associated with the B’nai B’rith organization — is a “pluralistic teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences.” With more than 600 local chapters, and regional outposts throughout the U.S. and the world, BBYO has over 250,000 alumni who have participated in one of the many programs and events the organization offers from travel experiences to social outreach. This past September BBYO introduced a new identity designed by Washington D.C.-based Levine & Associates.
The refreshed BBYO brand — an updated logo along with the release of the organization’s new five-year strategic plan — was launched this week. The logo’s design, says Portnoy, is meant to convey a “sense of tradition with modernity.” The iconic menorah symbol was maintained, while asymmetrical lengths were added to the branches and heights of the flames to convey individuality through self-exploration.
— From article on Estee Portnoy, chairman of BBYO’s board of directors and business manager and spokeswoman for Michael Jordan
For a teen-focused organization the old logo was the equivalent of taking a teen’s phone and chewing gum away and stuffing him or her in a room watching C-SPAN. Its use of the Menorah — one of the more well-known symbols of Judaism, a candelabrum with 7 arms, one for each day of the week — as the “Y” was slightly clever but mostly awkward. It also emphasized the distinction between BB (B’nai B’rith, the organization that used to run it) and YO (Youth Organization) and now that BBYO is independent it didn’t help to have that visual distinction. The new logo is a great evolution, especially the icon with its asymmetric (yet symmetric) approach that gives the otherwise static object some dynamism. The typography isn’t particularly good and shaping the top of the “b”s like the flames is a little too cute for me, but it’s not terrible.
The applications for brochures and flyers are very teen-ish. Doesn’t get me very excited, but I’m not the target audience and I feel like anything that tries to be cool, as this is, ends up looking a little flat in the eyes of teens. But the system is solid and seems adaptable to BBYO. I do have to give props for the choice of an off-the-beaten-path typeface selection in Torque, it’s the one element that gives this identity some edge. Overall, a very good evolution.