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Branding a Not-For-Profit To Attract Young People

Updated on June 5, 2013

Attracting young people to a brand takes a specific skill. Teenagers often have a rebellious streak and aren’t likely to be attracted to a brand which seems ultra-conservative and conformist; and they definitely won’t be impressed by a brand which has a condescending tone of voice.

YATI (Youth Advocacy Training Institute) is a not-for-profit created by Health Ontario and the Ontario Lung Association. When they needed a brand, they didn’t want just an outstanding and memorable brand, but one which would appeal to the young people which comprised their target market. The brand identity needed to resonate with youths and persuade them that YATI was a cool organization and one they would be proud to join.

The Objective

YATI was created to support youth orientated groups in Ontario to help adults and young people work as a team to improve the health of their communities. It was designed to empower young people to make a difference – to advocate for change in their neighbourhood.

Choosing the Brand Development Team

YATI required a logo, stationery, brochures, flyers, presentation folder and a website, and put the project out to public tender. All items were to comply with the strict Ontario Lung Association branding guidelines and to be developed in only two months.

YATI chose New Design Group based on their ideas, skills, price and the fact that the company team members were around the same age as the YATI team leaders. In addition New Design Group was very enthusiastic about the project as they strongly believed in YATI’s aims.

The Branding Project

New Design Group aimed to create a brand identity which would appeal to Canadian youths, would show YATI as an innovative organization for young people, and would encourage youths to join the institute.

  • The Logo: The chosen logo shows a silhouette of a group of people wearing baggy clothing which suggests they are young. The soles of the feet of two of the group are clearly visible kicking out from the logo giving it a dynamic and energetic feel. To make it clear whose logo this is, YATI is shown in strong red and appears to be created from the shadows of the group.

This is a bold and effective design. This is not indicative of a group of passive teenagers – this group has power and plenty of get-up-and-go. It shows that members of YATI will have an active role and their opinions will be sought. It is cool and will intrigue young people who will want to learn more about what YATI is all about.

  • Stationery & Presentation Folder: The logo is used clearly on the branded stationery along with that of the Ontario Lung Association. Both logos comprise red and black and so complement one another perfectly. T he presentation folder uses vigorous red panels further underlining the fact that this NFP is a forceful organization and one to get involved with if you want to see results.

  • Brochures and Flyers: Brand harmony is maintained using the YATI logo on the brochure and flyer designs. In one brochure, the main image of a young man’s head in grey is seen in front of a beautiful landscape – an open field, sea and sky - representing a clean and healthy environment for all. Another brochure design features an enlargement of the group silhouette from the logo, along with a strong red header. The flyers similarly feature the group silhouette although in these designs, parts of the logo have been lifted and used artfully in a mosaic layout.

All of these designs are bold, memorable, outstanding and intriguing: teenagers who see them are bound to want to learn more about the organization behind them.

  • Website & Software: Since YATI had no technical specialists, New Design Group was responsible for the software architecture of the website. Once again the design had to comply with the stringent Ontario Lung Association guidelines.

Using its in-house website software and graphic design experts, New Design Group was able to create a website which is unafraid to stand out from the crowd. Its modern and edgy look is achieved with an eyecatching header showing the heads of young people set against a healthy, bright sky. The logo is boldly placed, and the use of strong red and a trendy, distressed background all combine to achieve an overall look which demands attention.

The Story Boards

Six different story boards were presented to the client to showcase the different design options across various marketing elements: logos, stationery, flyers, brochure and website.

What Happened Next?

YATI implemented their preferred designs and the logo was incredibly well received by government officials and youths. It is now worn proudly by YATI members on T-shirts, pins and backpacks – an excellent outcome of a successful project.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Collins. New Design Group Inc.


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