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Principal and creative director: Justin Ahrens
Creative producer: Bob Davidson
Senior designers: Tim Damitz. Kerri Liu
Designer: Susan Herda, Kara Ayaram
Production designer: Dawn Bjork
Studio manager: Katrina Strich
Interns: Steve Czech, Andy Kenney, Megan Lee Earl, Kellen Scott
Additional team members:
LIfe In Abundance
Life In Abundance (LIA) is a nonprofit organization that works in several countries throughout northeast Africa. Their goal is to mobilize, train and equip local churches to implement holistic ministries that focus on the poor, orphaned and vulnerable
within their own communities. In a market with many voices, they asked us to help them stand out. We have worked with this organization since 2007, first assisting them with their strategy and process and then with their branding both here in the U.S. and
in Africa. We designed a new communication system for them that included logo and collateral, as well as ads, brochures and their annual reports. Additionally, we created two documentaries about their work in Africa and produced their first book.
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Our Rule29 team developed much more than a typical business relationship with LIA. After reading and immersing ourselves in the statistics surrounding the unbelievable poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, we knew that only a trip to Africa would do—to experience for ourselves
what the facts could merely suggest. Two documentaries, a brand overhaul, several fund-raising campaigns and a book later, we are only beginning to understand.
Because LIA’s founder and CEO wanted to keep the meaning behind the existing bird image as their logo, we researched the iconography for the main countries in Africa where the logo would appear, exploring different colors, styles and options. We read statistics
and tried to wrap our heads around what they meant: Could it really be that bad in so many areas? We wrestled with the impact these huge issues had on how we handled the brand development. Gradually, a clearer picture of the needs, the people and
the statistics emerged for us. We knew that we needed to create a bold brand, but one that was also simple, peaceful, hope-filled and usable in all countries throughout the continent. All of this needed to work in conjunction with a fundraising and communication
strategy that would convey the magnitude of the need, the existence of hope and the possibility of sustainable change.
Creating a brand for a nonprofit poses different challenges than one might encounter in less mission-driven companies. It took a lot of client interaction to develop the necessary understanding of what they were about and what they wanted to accomplish—not just in the U.S. but also in Kenya and Ethiopia. For example, their original logo, which used a bird image, didn’t communicate the help, peace and friendliness they desired (we nicknamed it the “war bird”) here in the U.S., where the majority of fundraising
would take place.
To introduce a new logo required trust and collaboration on LIA’s part as well as ours. For us, the challenge was to truly understand the culture of the Africans that LIA serves; it necessitated actually experiencing it by traveling to Africa multiple times.
On LIA’s part, they had to trust us with their story, and they gradually gained confidence that we understood the challenges of cross-cultural communication and that we “got” what they were attempting to achieve—we understood their “why.”
Our collaboration with LIA over the past five years has helped the organization grow dramatically and serve more people in more places:
In addition, we believe LIA branding is consistent and relevant both in the West and in the countries the organization servies (cross-cultural recognition and professionalism has been achieved). LIA has become a viable force that many look to as a trendsetter in faith-based community development.
For more on the work of Life in Abundance, visit their site.
Grant McCracken, PhD, talks about how anthropology
should be a core competency of designers because it’s far too important
to be left to the anthropologists alone.
Section: Why Design -
Conference , culture, business
Because in-house designers regularly collaborate with different departments, they can develop a well-rounded view of needs and opportunities within their organization. By applying their unique design thinking skills to non-design problems, in-house designers have the ability to effect positive change from within.
Section: Tools and Resources
Portland-based designers The Original Manufacturing Company (OMFGCO) reinvent what a sports bar could be.
Section: Why Design -
branding, environmental design, signage, strategy
In late July, National Public Radio launched a new and improved website. Senior interaction designer Neylan describes the massive task.
Section: Why Design -
experience design, web design
Museum of Modern Art Identity
External Resources (cont.)
Grey Group Signage and Environmental Graphics