Established in 1973 in Devon, England, The Donkey Sanctuary is the world’s largest donkey and mule charity, providing a home for 14,500 donkeys and mules and care for more than 400,000 across 28 countries over its near-thirty-year history. At its headquarters in Devon, The Donkey Sanctuary offers the opportunity to visit over 200 donkeys at its Slade House Farm. This month, the charity introduced a new identity designed by London-based The Allotment.
We wanted to take what was best from the current identity. Research showed that the supporters loved the use of illustrative donkeys. We built on this idea and develop an illustration that communicated a feeling of sanctuary, devotion and care. The resulting brand identity has created a clear and consistent badge and proposition for the charity that works internationally and across all media channels.
— The Allotment Case Study
I love these kind of cases, where a charity does not visually match its actual influence because of a poor identity and bad collateral yet despite it manages to succeed. Which, obviously, points out that good design is not always necessarily needed in the world of nonprofits — a good cause will move people to help. But, if possible, why not elevate its presence and appearance? This is exactly what The Donkey Sanctuary has done, moving from what look like tired old clip-art donkeys into strong, furry, healthy, loved donkeys, custom-drawn just for them. I could have done without the swoosh that completes the heart and the chin highlights look a little bit too sports-logo-ish in contrast to the rest of the softer fur, but it’s a good drawing that works well big and small. The applications are slightly confusing, with a few too many visual devices going on, from the diagonal stripes of the rescue bus to the distressed look of the ad to the minimalist icons of the visitor centre. On their own they are all good but lack cohesiveness as a whole. Nonetheless, the improvement is vast and the numbers prove it all: According to The Allotment the launch of the brand in this summer’s donor campaign led to (a) 76% increase in donations for July/August 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, (b) 56% increase in merchandise sales for July/August 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, and 69% increase in revenue from a seasonal mailer as a result of the rebrand. Hard to argue with that. Or with lovable-looking donkeys.