Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish serves children with critical illnesses in every community here in the United States and internationally in 50 countries. The organization has granted more than 415,000 wishes to children worldwide!
In today’s image-driven, digital world, the look, and feel of nonprofit brands have become increasingly important when vying for funds and support especially if your brand is international. With their trademark swirl and star, Make-A-Wish has always been one of the most recognizable nonprofits in the world. However, 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!
Working with a comprehensive brand equity study and competitive analysis done by Make-A-Wish we started this rebrand by pairing our own research with that work by interviewing chapter leaders from around the world. This gave us an opportunity to hear from those working with the brand every day their hopes and any local or country-specific cultural concerns we needed to understand for this update.
For the new 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. By 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, we were able to build a sense of cohesion between the logo’s various elements.
To ensure consistency across such a global organization, we knew a comprehensive national and international Brand Book would be vital. 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.
Once the logo was finalized, our next task was refreshing Make-A-Wish’s messaging, photography, collateral, big events—redefining all the key outputs in order to make a fresh, new impression in the world.
Now, a cohesive Brand Book 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 also created an appendix containing guidelines to help different chapters interpret and implement the brand guidelines when hosting galas and other fundraising events. A separate globally-focused version of the brand book was created for the international chapters of Make-A-Wish, ready to be translated into different languages as needed. We put together sample shirts, water bottles, and signage to help demonstrate ways the new brand could be implemented in new collateral. And based on feedback from the Make-A-Wish team, we had fun developing a library of 100+ icons that could be used in a variety of visual communications.
Once the final brand was established, we helped draft a strategy for the internal launch and training of the updated brand, including a video, HTML emails, and presentation decks.
There are certainly challenges with input from chapters and affiliates from around the world, 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.
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 response to the new, refined Make-A-Wish brand has been overwhelmingly positive by the Make-A-Wish team worldwide and their cosponsors, and we continue to enjoy building out the brand through a variety of avenues.