Established in 1896 as an affiliate of the British Red Cross Society, the Canadian Red Cross Society Act (1909) legally established the Red Cross as the corporate body in Canada responsible for providing volunteer aid in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. The Canadian Red Cross (CRC) is one of 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and operates 300 branches across the country with the help of 20,000 volunteers. Recently CRC introduced a new identity designed by Toronto, Canada-based Concrete.
The CRC engaged Concrete to review its current identity system and develop a comprehensive set of guidelines that addresses the identity’s general usability, public perception, and accessibility, all while representing the organization’s core values of humanitarianism, leadership, trust, expertise, safety, protection, hope, neutrality, and unity.
The revised identity guidelines details a comprehensive system of scaling the symbol along with directions for using the symbol in all stakeholder touch points, including communications materials, digital applications, signage and field applications.
This isn’t a traditional before/after comparison since the Red Cross’ red cross is never going to change nor is there a lot of room for making it feel friendlier or classier or target millennials. It’s about clarity and efficiency. The new logo drops the one graphic ornament the old identity had — a rectangle with an odd cut on the lower left corner — and simply typesets the English and French names in a basic lock-up in a non-attention-grabbing sans serif — Neue Haas Unica — following a similar configuration to the Government of Canada’s logo. It’s nothing to get excited about but it’s serious and gets the point across quickly and effectively. The bottom of the red cross dipping below the baseline is the one flair this logo has and it helps balance out the wide length of the main logo.
I could potentially stop at every image and have something to say about the applications as there are a number of interesting things happening but ultimately this is Grids 101 and they are getting an A+. The grid is nearly visible and they have done a great job in modulating the relationships of the elements, sometimes allowing the red cross to be huge, sometimes the message to be huge, and other times all elements be small and quiet. The hierarchy throughout the various applications is as good as it gets. It will be tempting for some to dismiss this as boring and basic and something a student could do — don’t because it’s not and, no, they couldn’t.
Overall, this does exactly what it needs to do — communicate with clarity and efficiency — while avoiding flash, pretense, or cleverness. It presents the organization with the gravitas it deserves.