I am proud to have championed Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in charity branding through my work with Scope, RNID and Mind. So when Kids knocked on my door, I was delighted to put my knowledge of charity disability brands into action – and have some fun. It is for 'kids' after all.
The charity had a new corporate strategy, so the brief was to create a new brand to deliver the strategy. A brand which will inspire more people to seek support and to give their support, through donating and campaigning.
We followed a brand development process based on sector best practice. A discovery phase included desk research, cross sector market analysis, and brand workshops with staff and families. So what did we find out?
It was very clear, people wanted the brand to focus on what children and young people can do, not what they can’t do. People also wanted the brand to celebrate individuality. The fact that we’re all unique, and that’s a wonderful part of life.
We found out that the word 'disabled' was very divisive. Whilst for some people it is a proud part of their identity and helpful in claiming rights, others do not like or want to use the label. We have therefore used the words 'disabled children' sparingly and only as a shorthand, within the strapline and proposition, placing the preferred full description of the charity’s audience at the start of the new mission statement:
"We’re here for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities, young carers, and families. We’re on a mission to create a world where all kinds of kids have all kinds of opportunities. We create life-changing opportunities by providing a wide range of support. Together, we’ll empower you to stand up for your rights."
The market analysis showed the brand could stand out by projecting its innovative side, one of the charity’s strategic pillars. So we drew inspiration from brands outside the charity sector. Brands like Disney and Lego which have an inspiring sense of imagination and creativity.
The market analysis also showed Kids could stand out by dialling the volume up on their campaigning side, uniting their community and amplifying authentic voices to achieve social change.
A define stage included developing two brand positioning concepts and researching them with the charity's core audiences, both existing audiences and potential supporters. Importantly it also included a collaborative workshop with young people with special educational needs and disabilities, so their voices were at the heart of the brand solution. They were brilliant and helped us craft every single word.
A new purpose and proposition sit at the heart of the brand positioning strategy: 'When the world says we can’t, kids say we can.'
We live in a branded world these days. It’s not just companies like Nike or Apple. Charities are brands too, and brands have personalities. Greenpeace is gutsy and fearless while Macmillan Cancer Support is caring, human and warm. Kids new personality is an Opportunity Creator. This is brought to life with four new values which guide the brand on the inside and outside: Celebrate Individuality, Think Creatively, Work Together and Speak Up.
A brand story has been carefully crafted with a reading age of 11, using children and young people’s preference for shorter sentence and paragraph structure. There are also complimentary versions for encouraging people to seek support and give support. A tone of voice guide explains how to flex the tone using the values as a guide, much like a mixing desk or graphic equalizer.
On the side of over two million children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, young carers, and our families.
We’re on a mission to create a world where all kinds of kids have all kinds of opportunities.
We create life-changing opportunities by providing a wide range of support.
From early years into adulthood.
Learning and development.
Playschemes, adventure playgrounds and youth groups.
Together, we’ll empower you to stand up for your rights.
When the world blocks us, we speak up.
To get the right information at the right time.
Piece things together.
Jump through hoops.
Educate, inform, and inspire.
We’re one team.
However tough life gets.
Childhood should be joyful.
Not defined by what children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities cannot do. That’s wrong.
So let’s unite and speak up.
Because when the world says we can’t, kids say we can."
Once the brand positioning strategy was agreed, independent brand and design agency Red Stone were brought on board to bring the brand to life with accessible digital-first visual identity design.
The logo is made up of the brand name Kids in a unique flag symbol which mirrors the kicking-K for Kids and is accompanied by a shorthand 'K' icon for social media. The charity can now proudly fly the flag for its cause.
The typeface Poppins has been chosen for its accessibility but adapted to make it unique to Kids. Accessible features include unambiguous letter shapes, robust stroke weight, broad horizontal proportions, distinctive ascenders, and open spacing and counters.
The colour palette has also been carefully crafted with accessibility front of mind. A primary palette is made up of Ink and Cream to allow strong contrast complimented by Hot Pink and Bubblegum. The secondary palette is made up of tonal sets including Violet, Teal, and Lemon.
One of the most distinctive features are graphic devices called 'sunbursts', made up from children’s artwork. They allow kids' individuality and creativity to radiate throughout the branding.
The photography palette has been based upon the values and includes reportage, portraits, and cut-outs.
Illustrations include emotive expressions and colourful stickers to capture verbal expressions.
There is no doubt that when combined, the visual identity and tone of voice create a distinctive brand full of energy.
Claire Coussins, Kids’ Director of Fundraising and Engagement said: “Dan brought a wealth of cross-sector experience to Kids, expertly guiding us through a comprehensive brand strategy process. He engaged, inspired, and excited key stakeholders every step of the way. Co-creation with disabled children and young people was essential, and Dan enabled meaningful participation, ensuring concepts were always evaluated through the lens of disabled young people’s experiences. The result has captured the heart and soul of Kids. The brand strategy gives us exactly what we need to deliver real and positive change”.
The new branding has been launched with a new website.