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A Crusade Against Long Names

Reviewed Jul. 21, 2011 by Armin

Industry / Religion Tags /

Cru Logo, Before and After

Established in 1951 in the campus of UCLA as an “interdenominational Christian evangelism and discipleship organization” focused on college students, Campus Crusade for Christ has grown to include professionals, families, athletes, and high school students. With active ministries in more than 1,000 colleges in the U.S. and served by more than 25,000 full-time and part-time team members in 191 countries around the world, Campus Crusade for Christ is one of the largest organizations of its kind. This week they announced a name change, Cru, and new logo that will become officially adopted in early 2012. Although Cru states that even though “Our primary and ultimate dependence is on the Lord,” they “enlisted the help of consultants because we don’t have the expertise in brand survey methods and testing that they do.” Prophet and Brandtrust are credited together, with naming by Prophet.

Our name presented obstacles to our mission. The word “campus” does not adequately represent all our ministries in the United States and confuses our constituency as well as potential partners. The word “crusade”-while common and acceptable in 1951 when we were founded-now carries negative associations. It acts as a barrier to the very people that we want to connect with. It’s also a hindrance to many Christians who would like to partner with us but find the word Crusade offensive.

Our surveys show that, in the U.S., twenty percent of the people willing to consider the gospel are less interested in talking with us after they hear the name. We are changing the name for the sake of more effective ministry.

“We want to remove any obstacle to people hearing about the most important person who ever lived — Jesus Christ.”
— Vonette Bright, co-founder, Press Release

The name, selected from a pool of 1,600 potential names, has a track record within Campus Crusade for Christ. Since the mid-1990s, it has been used locally on the majority of their U.S. campus ministries.
Press Release

The old name was not only a tough sell philosophically — way too many words with too much baggage — but it was graphically unwieldy with 22 characters and it seems no one figured out a lock-up that would make the shield more visible. The new name, despite sounding like a hip restaurant serving things with foams, is pretty good. It makes it more manageable, memorable, and given the size of the organization I’m sure it will get good traction very quickly. It’s also contemporary and without the load of all the other words.

The logo is not bad either. I’m not sure it needed to be all lowercase nor that it needed to be a sans serif with such a lack of personality but the weight and sizing of the characters play really well with the cross, which is a very nice asymmetric rendition and, in a way, it makes up for the loss of the word “Christ” in the name. Not the best logo ever but not the worst either, and considering the size of the organization and that identities for religious organizations — any religion — are rarely the best examples this is a relative success.

Thanks to Dave Hill for first tip.



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