Established in 2000, New Leaders (formerly New Leaders for New Schools) is a nonprofit organization that “develops transformational leaders for high-need schools and promotes the system-level policies and practices that allows strong leaders to succeed.” New Leaders runs its training programs in 12 urban areas throughout the US. In the last ten years, New Leaders has prepared almost 800 educators through a variety of their programs like the Emerging Leaders Program, Aspiring Principals Program, and the Principal Institute. In September New Leaders introduced a new identity, designed by Chermayeff & Geismar, to reflect their name change. Disclosure for whatever it’s worth: While at Pentagram and later as UnderConsideration I did collateral material work for New Leaders, 6 and 4 years ago respectively.
We gained many valuable insights, including that our name was too long and implied that we only prepared leaders for brand-new schools. By shortening the name to “New Leaders,” we are capitalizing on the shorthand that people use for us internally and externally and putting the focus squarely on leadership — our abiding focus as we work to drive academic excellence in public schools nationwide.
Our new logo has an arrow pointing upward to very clearly represent the transformational effect we aim for leaders to have on underperforming schools and the lives of students who attend them.
— Press Release
The old logo was very nonprofit-ish, largely generic, swoosh-based, with some Verizon-esque tapering gradients to boot, and set up with a very strange lock-up. The new logo improves vastly in execution. The typography is a slightly bolder and more defined serif and the icon is sturdy and gradientless, but… it’s so generic it could pass as store brand aspirin from Walgreens, Duane Reed, CVS, Target, or Walmart. This is the kind of icon that bounces around different client presentations until finally someone chooses it. The arrow-pointing-upward concept could be pitched to anyone from a bank (higher savings interest!) to a corporation (higher profits!) to a widget maker (higher sales!) to you get the point. Nonetheless, it’s very nicely done, and it looks great small and large. The rest of the identity turns up the boldness with a thick condensed sans serif and thick, colorful borders that add some punch to the identity.