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Follow-up: the Y

Reviewed Jul. 19, 2010 by Armin

Industry / Non-Profit Tags /

The Y Follow-Up

Whenever we reach over a hundred comments in a single post it’s typically an indication of not just the popularity of a given brand but also of the attachment (positive or negative) we have to the identity of that brand. Last week’s the Y discussion fit was a good representation of this with plenty of strong opinions. As a follow-up, that will either change or further cement your opinions, Siegel+Gale’s Co-President, CEO, and Chief Creative Officer, Howard Belk, has shared some additional clarifications and intentions behind their work.

The Y Follow-Up

Click image for bigger view.

All of the text that follows is from Belk.

The conversation around the new identity for the Y has been great. This is clearly a brand that people feel passionate about and of course those are the most exciting ones to work with. I noted a few questions have been asked repeatedly and thought your readership might appreciate some background on the assignment.

The underlying reason for change was simple. The mission of the Y has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years and the organization’s brand — its story — needs to better express its highest order impact on our world. The new identity is that of an organization that strengthens the essential foundations of community.

Here is what the new brand needs to accomplish…

The Y Follow-Up

– Convert brand awareness to action. The new mark is an expression of the Y’s commitment to a higher cause, namely, strengthening the foundations of communities, as well as its personality, which is welcoming and hopeful. The previous mark was intended to serve primarily as an identifier for facilities and was not reflective of the brand.

– Align with the Y’s newly articulated areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The new identity appeals to and is more relevant to youth by being fresh and accessible. It reflects healthy living through its brightness and sense of movement. Social responsibility is conveyed through the range of colors and its direct relationship to the areas of focus within communications.

– Counter misperceptions of the Y as merely a provider of programs and services and instead convey the true spirit of the Y as a ‘movement’ committed to strengthening communities.

– Build on the heritage of the Y as a beacon within its communities. The new identity is more of beacon, a visual call to action, than it is an identifier.

The Y Follow-Up

– From severe, static and rigid to friendly, approachable and dynamic.
– Forward looking, optimistic, contemporary.
– Preserves heritage of the triangle.

The Y Follow-Up

– From corporate red and black to hopeful and bright.
– Better reflects diversity of the organization and its members.
– Provides a freedom within a framework.

The Y Follow-Up

– Gradients bring depth and dimension.
– Is sympathetic to key applications such as signage and contributes to the beacon effect.
– Is not problematic from a production POV given current technology.

The Y Follow-Up

– The previous logo was a standalone “Y” with the letters YMCA underneath. The communicative name was adjusted to reflect what people affectionately call the organization, “the Y”.

– Trademark law requires the inclusion of the full YMCA name as well as the ™ mark.

I hope folks find this interesting and enlightening. I must say, it was a privilege to work on this assignment. We’re all terribly excited here at S+G about the great things the Y has ahead of it.



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