WMH&I has rebranded London-based education charity Inspire, with an open-door logo that seeks to convey its key aim of creating career opportunities for young people.
Following a merger with education business partnership 15 Billion – both charities aim to link schools with business and diversify workforces across London – Inspire reached out to WMH&I to devise a new visual identity and strategy. The studio has a long-standing relationship with Inspire, with the charity’s marketing manager having judged a student design competition run by the studio in 2019, so the studio carried out the work pro bono and helped to form the brief.
“If you look at charities that work with young people, particularly from more diverse boroughs, they try to paint a picture of a disadvantaged group of kids that need real help,” says WMH&I board director Wybe Magermans, adding that Inspire was keen to avoid those “very cliché tropes”.
Working with the charity to convey a singular, positive message was crucial to the success of the project, according to Magermans. He defines the charity’s key aims as being “the flag-bearer of a more diverse workforce in London” and “opening doors to opportunities” across the capital.
To convey these goals, WMH&I opted for a logo that was “on the nose” rather than something “super complex with lots of layers”, says Magermans. He reveals that the initial idea for the logo came from a junior designer in the team, who drew an I with an opening door in the corner of their sketch pad.
The logotype is a modified version of Geograph Bold with added weight. The door graphic can also be used in isolation, while the favicon – the door graphic contained in a circle – is intended for social use, such as Inspire’s Instagram profile picture.
WMH&I designed the bulk of the logo, bringing in typographer West One Arts – which also worked pro bono – to do the final typesetting. Magermans says the open door embedded in the logo is “catalyst for everything else that happens in the identity”, as it was designed to house everything from illustration and photography to messaging.
Starting in the next school year this September, the studio plans to hold a competition with Inspire, asking sixth from students in Hackney and Islington to draw illustrations that show diversity for inside the door graphic, says Magermans. The top ten illustrations will be used within brand collateral and social media, while two winning students will get a short internship at WMH&I. The studio is also planning a similar photography competition.
Inspire’s motion design elements were done in house at WMH&I. Magermans says it tries to do “as much with as little as possible” so that Inspire’s designers can “easily replicate and do things with it”. He adds that the “simplicity in the logo” allows for easy-to-apply motion principles, such as logo stings and video introductions.
WMH&I sought to create a contemporary colour palette that aligns with Inspire’s three key audiences. While the charity’s work benefits young people, Inspire talks mainly with educators and businesses, so Magermans says the palette had to “speak of and have the vibrancy of young people” without being “too childish or juvenile”.
Inspire’s website was created by web builder Denny Armatrading, who also worked pro bono, following templates and guidelines provided by WMH&I .