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Make-A-Wish® is the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. They serve children in every community here in the United States and internationally in 50 countries. Make-A-Wish has granted more than 415,000 wishes to children worldwide!

Capabilities Used

Brand, Logo & Identity Development
Research & Strategy
Digital & Social

Our work with Make-A-Wish has won several awards, including the Worldwide Logo Design Award and Indigo Design Awards. It has also been recognized by a number of design organizations including Graphic Design USA, Communication Arts, HOW Design, and Brand New.

The Objective To Strive For

In today's image-driven, digital world, the look and feel of nonprofit brands has become increasingly important when vying for funds and support.

With their trademark swirl and star, Make-A-Wish is one of the most recognizable nonprofits in the world. However, after taking a comprehensive look at their entire brand, Make-A-Wish realized the organization had grown beyond the logo and identity they created back in the late 1990s. Make-A-Wish decided it was time to create a fresh, energized look that truly reflects the scope of this global brand…and they turned to Rule29 to make it happen!


There are certainly challenges with input from chapters and affiliates, wish families and potential donors...ultimately Rule29 along with our internal Creative Services team was able to synthesize all of that feedback and develop a logo and design system that was energized and fresh, yet paid homage to the logo and system that served us for the past 18 years.

The Process of Creating a Globally-Recognized Logo

The original Make-A-Wish logo featured a grainy star trail and a whimsical typeface that was difficult to reproduce, hard to read in certain contexts, and troublesome to integrate with chapter and region names.

But because of the organization’s brand equity worldwide, we knew it was important to preserve certain elements of the logo and brand system while creating a more contemporary and refined look. There were several nonnegotiables: retaining some semblance of the swirl and star, maintaining hyphens between words, and keeping the same blue brand color. Our goal with refreshing the logo was to preserve critical visual cues while adding contemporary flair – all without losing brand recognition or prestige.

The new logo creates a strong presence for the brand while still maintaining the sincerity and imaginative appeal of the old logo. We used a serif type to signal a credible organization with established longevity, yet without appearing dated. This also gives the logo type a weightiness that presents the Make-A-Wish message in a powerful, dynamic way. We converted “Make-A-Wish” to sentence-case for increased legibility, and using the smaller, lowercase letterforms imbues the logo with a casual, approachable feeling.

The newly elongated swirl ending in the star represents a star shooting across the sky, matching the bright optimism a wish brings to kids, their families, and the community at large. Additionally, the new swirl and star placement creates a flat baseline along the bottom of the logo that allows us to place chapter and affiliate names closer to the logo, visually representing that local chapters and affiliates serve as the foundation of the organization. Updating the iconic Make-A-Wish star to a five-pointed star featuring softened points and curves that reference the soft, fluid curves of the lowercase letterforms builds a sense of cohesion between the logo’s various elements.

The Building Out Of A Brand

As anyone in the creative field will tell you, a logo is only part of the brand experience. Also important to consider is a brand's messaging, collateral, photography, big events…you get the idea. With every brand refresh, multiple outputs must be redefined during the process of making a "new" impression in the world.

One such output is the Make-A-Wish brand book. This contains all facets of the new brand – messaging, visual storytelling, and design elements – with the goal of ultimately bringing each child’s story forward and inviting others to take part in the mission. We introduced an expanded, more vibrant color palette, established updated typography, integrated new design elements (including a catalogue of over 100+ icons), and refreshed guidelines for photography and videography. Rule29 and the Make-A-Wish team took a comprehensive look at every component to ensure that everything collectively helps to enhance and strengthen the brand. A separate globally focused version of brand book was created for the international chapters of Make-A-Wish, ready to be translated into different languages as needed.

When It's All Said and Done…

With large, global organizations, it can be a struggle to get everyone to rally. Fortunately, Make-A-Wish was totally invested in the brand refresh from top to bottom. Different regions and chapters were often asked to weigh in during the process and offer feedback about the new logo, the brand book, and other aspects of the process. This buy-in gave us much-needed insight and direction as we finalized the various creative assets.

Once the final brand was established, we helped draft a strategy for the internal launch of the brand in October 2017, including a video, HTML emails, and presentation decks.

The response to the new, refined Make-A-Wish brand has been overwhelmingly positive, and we continue to enjoy building out the brand through a variety of avenues. Read more at the coverage from Brand New!