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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 in the United States and in 50 countries worldwide. MAW has granted more than 415,000 wishes to children worldwide!

Capabilities Used

Brand & Identity Development
Research & Strategy
Social Media & Digital
The Objective To Strive For

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

With their trademark swirl and star, Make-A-Wish is one of the most recognizable non-profits in the world. However, it had been quite some time since Make-A-Wish had taken a comprehensive look at their entire brand and they realized that the organization had grown beyond the dated look and feel of their logo and identity. In 2015, Make-A-Wish decided it was time to create one, truly global brand...and we got the chance to get in on it!


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

In the Make-A-Wish logo of generations past, the grainy star trail and whimsical typeface was difficult to reproduce, hard to read in certain contexts, and troublesome to integrate with chapter and region names. A new logo carries with it some trepidation – what if you lose your brand recognition and prestige? Our goal with refreshing the logo was to preserve critical visual cues, while adding contemporary flair.

Because of the organization’s brand equity worldwide, it was important in the brand refresh to preserve certain elements of the logo and brand system, while creating a more contemporary and refined look. There were several non-negotiables with regards to the logo – it was necessary to maintain some semblance of the swirl, star, and hyphens between words, as well as preserving the same blue brand color.

The new logo aimed to create a strong presence for the brand, while also maintaining the sincerity and imaginative appeal of the old logo. The serif type used signals a credible organization with established longevity, without appearing dated. It also gives the logotype a weightiness that presents Make-A-Wish’s message with a powerful, dynamic presence. “Make-A-Wish” is converted to sentence-case for increased legibility. Using the smaller, lowercase letterforms also imbues the logo with a casual, approachable feeling.

Now, the elongated swirl ending in the star represents a star shooting across the sky, matching the bright optimism a wish brings to wish kids, their families and the community at large. Additionally, the new swirl and star placement also creates a flat baseline along the bottom of the logo which allows us to place chapter and affiliate names closer to the logo, visually representing that our local chapters and affiliates serve as the foundation of the organization. The five-pointed star is an update to Make-A-Wish’s iconic star, now featuring softened points and curves that reference the soft, fluid curves of the lowercase letterforms, building a sense of cohesion between all 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. Along with the logo, one needs to consider a brand's messaging, collateral, photography, get the idea. With every brand refresh, there are a lot of outputs that need to be redefined in the process of making a "new" impression in the world.

One such output is the Make-A-Wish brand book. This piece explored all facets of the new brand – messaging, visual storytelling, and design elements – all with the goal of ultimately bringing each child’s story forward and inviting others to take part in the mission. We introduced an expanded and vibrant color palette, established updated typography, integrated some 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, 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 above and beyond invested in the brand refresh from the top to the bottom. As such, different regions and chapters were often asked to weigh in on the brand during the process and offer feedback about the new logo, the brand book, and other items. This buy-in gave us much needed insight and direction as we approached and 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) that included a launch 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!