Stepping into the Future: The Evolution of Our Brand Identity
From “just a logo” to a fully realized brand, the Community Foundation’s brand identity has gone through several iterations over the last 30 years. In 2023, we embarked on our latest brand refresh, which resulted in our newly refreshed logo; updated graphics, color scheme, and messaging; and a fresh take on the overall look and feel of our brand.
“When I joined the Community Foundation team in 2005, we weren’t thinking about our brand in the way we do now,” shared Alison Metiva, our Chief Operating Officer. “We had a logo, of course, but it's only in reflecting that I see how our earlier brand identities focused more on the ‘what’ or ‘how’ of our work rather than capturing the essence of our mission, vision, and future potential.”
Figure 1: Seven iterations of the Community Foundation’s logo since 1992, with our new logo featured at the end of the spread on the bottom right.
THE BRAND REFRESH PROCESS
To embark on our latest brand refresh, we sought support from our long-time, Traverse City-based design partner, Brand Tonic in early 2023. Throughout the rest of that year, we worked with Brand Tonic to engage our staff and board directors in driving the direction of our brand evolution. Engagement efforts included:
- An initial discovery survey and discussion session with a cross-section of our staff and board directors
- A brand engagement survey for our full Board of Directors
- Creation of a core feedback team consisting of five staff members and our Board Chair and Vice Chair
- Presentation of brand mood board, updated brand messaging, and logo concepts to the core feedback team
- Presentation of selected mood board, messaging, and logo to the full staff and board
From these engagement steps, Brand Tonic patiently took in everything that came their way to turn the draft concepts into our final brand products that you see today.
Figure 2: Our new brand mood board which highlights the different ways we can use our new brand elements, including both messaging and visuals.
EVOLVING OUR BRAND
Our brand identity was due for an upgrade. While our previous logo had remained relatively unchanged since 2007, what ultimately drove our refreshed brand is that our organization has evolved over the last decade.
Since the Community Foundation’s start in 1992, we’ve maintained our role as a partner in donor-directed giving, but we have also grown our role in collaborative leadership and convening; equity and inclusion; and as a steward of Community Funds, which are flexible, responsive dollars that we invest in the areas of greatest need.
“Our new brand maintains a few core pieces from the past, including our unique role and commitment to the future and long-term impact, as well as the donor and community partnerships we steward,” shared Alison. “But our new brand also reflects how we have evolved over the last several years; it more strongly highlights our role as a leader in giving and community impact.”
So, how has this evolution been captured in our current brand refresh?
According to Brand Tonic, our brand has continued to “build upon storytelling.” This can be seen in the local photography that’s used throughout our materials (whenever possible) and in the consistently clean, simple layout designs with a balance of color and white space. In terms of our new logo, it hints at our previous one while adding a modern flare.
Figure 3: Our new logo variations, including as an icon, horitzontal logo, and vertical logo. The logo has five orange-yellow semi-circles on the top and a solid teal bottom with white wave lines reaching in from the right-hand side.
“The new logo signifies connection, growth, building upon layers and new ideas,” said Brand Tonic. “The water elements bring movement to show a forward-thinking organization. And the circular shape continues to represent community focus and evolution.”
With our new brand in place, we’ll continue to strengthen our ability to benefit the people and places of our region. This will mean walking alongside donor partners to build assets for community benefit now and long into the future; collaborating with community partners to design and invest in solutions to support a healthier, more resilient, and thriving region; and cultivating communities that are inclusive of all.
“Our new brand reflects the belief in the power of generosity to do great things,” shared Alison. “It invites and demonstrates the value of partnership among local people and organizations to create a better future for all.”