“Your organisation doesn’t stay still and your brand needs to adapt to reflect those changes.” We often start conversations with the charities we work with on rebranding project and we thought that we should apply that principle to Red Pencil too. Practice what we preach, etc.
So on 23 September 2016 at the CharityComms’ inaugural small charities’ conference, we launched our new look! The image at the top of this blog is a slide from the presentation Natasha gave at that conference – on branding!
When Red Pencil started in 2002 the name Red Pencil was already taken. We had to launch as Red Pencil Projects, which was OK. Most of our early work was project-based.
Our early commissions also involved a lot of writing, reflecting Natasha’s background as a writer, editor and manager. So, Red Pencil was a reference to the ‘red pens’ loved by editors but adapted to be softer and more collaborative. The original pencil shavings and ‘typewriter’ font in our logo was a retro nod to the core tools of a writer.
Over the years, the other Red Pencil went out of business so we took the opportunity to register the name we wanted originally. It also made sense for the work we were doing by 2011. We were doing less project delivery and more strategic consultancy and the range of services had broadened.
As we entered 2016, we felt our lovely logo had served us well but it was time to update to a more contemporary look. The links back to writing, editing and journalism, while still embedded in our work, were less directly relevant to many of the commissions we were delivering.
However, like many organisations, we are proud of our history and wanted to keep visual references to it. Changing our name was not on the cards but we also hung onto our heritage red as the main brand colour and the buff cream that references wooden shavings and pencil tips.
Having taken others through the process, it was a good lesson to do so ourselves.
It is very true that you need to be clear about what you do and why, before you can rebrand with confidence.
Partly because we were very clear about our brand story, our rebrand process was relatively quick. We were able to make decisions quickly and confidently (and there are not very many of us). We were also lucky enough to work with Waterbear Design, who were really responsive and excited by the brief. They are also based in the same part of London as we are – so that made meetings very easy.
We are delighted by the results and are really enjoying using it.
You can read about the benefits of branding and rebranding for small charities we revealed in a research project we did with Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness.