Established in 2012, The Why? Foundation (W?F for short) was founded by cancer survivor Allison W. Gryphon, a novelist and filmmaker, with the goal to “help alleviate the fear and empower people to learn more and to fight” through a real and honest way to talking about cancer. It supports people “through their cancer fight on the ground level, day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute.” Allison is also working on the aptly titled documentary, What the F@#- is Cancer? And Why Does Everybody Have It?. A new identity for the foundation, introduced in February, was designed by New York, NY-based Safari Sundays.
Safari Sundays came up with a concept entitled ‘the fighter’. The core identity serves as an attention-grabbing, edgy shorthand to the organization’s name (W?F) while representing the heart of The Why? Foundation; the many questions surrounding cancer. The mark also serves a s a nod to the documentary film created by founder Allison W. Gryphon entitled What the F@#- is Cancer? And Why Does Everybody Have It? due to debut in the Directors Guild of America Director’s Finder Series this May. The brand essence ‘knowledge is power’ is further brought to life across stationery collateral and merchandise.
— Provided press release
This is not one of the typical projects we show — it’s neither a super well known organization nor is the breadth of the applications exceedingly large or innovative for that matter — but I really appreciate an unapologetic and in-your-face identity for an organization dealing with a very sensitive subject. It’s no pink ribbon, that’s for sure. And as much as there is value in that and the delicate management most cancer awareness organizations approach their branding with, it doesn’t work for everyone. This identity and the organization itself scream “Fuck you, cancer” and that can be as helpful an attitude as any. I also like the new shorthand version of the name, W?F, which is obviously a play on the now famous WTF? (“What the Fuck?” for the uninitiated) and reminds me of the, at the time, provocative name and campaign by fashion label French Connection UK, which pushed its “fcuk” acronym quite, um, hard in the early 2000s (late 90s?). (See some of that here).
As far as this logo goes, it uses the proven aesthetic of thick brush strokes to render the short name in an energetic, raw execution. It works. It’s bold and recognizable. The name of the organization is a little shy by comparison; I realize you can’t have too much boldness in there, but it still seems like a bit of a disconnect between the two things. In application, as mentioned, there is not much to it, but there doesn’t need to be: just slap the acronym, big, on stuff. Done.