The candle must rank highly as one of the great clichés of graphic design, in use by numerous organisations, including Amnesty International. It is a symbol of light, comfort and hope.
The Christie Hospital NHS Trust near Manchester is the major cancer hospital in the North of England. Its centenary in 2001 is being used as a focus for a major fundraising drive to pay for a number of new projects.
The campaign has been named and given an identity by London consultancy Spencer Landor. The name, Christie Hospital’s Centenary Candlelight Appeal, says it all, but, as Spencer Landor director John Spencer says, `it is by any standards a long name’.
The length of the name presented a problem but also an advantage. It needed to be held together by a graphic device, says Spencer, but the qualifying words offered an opportunity to move away from the idea of a candle.
`We presented four concepts, two of which they liked – including our favourite,’ he says. The favourite, which turned out to be the successful option, draws on light, rather than on a graphic representation of a candle.
The consultancy was after a device which conveys the magical quality of light. The `twinkling star’ effect was settled on as providing flexibility and being immediately understandable and striking. One, two, three and four-colour versions are available and the identity can keep momentum for the run of the campaign, which has at least a five-year lifespan.
Applications to stationery, T-shirts, and so on are in hand, and the identity is now ready for its launch, probably early in 1997. There’s nothing like planning ahead.