Equilibrium leads Women’s Institute brand overhaul

Equilibrium's new branding
Equilibrium’s new branding

The Women’s Institute is undergoing a brand overhaul led by consultancy Equilibrium that will see the organisation’s iconic tree marque dropped in favour of a ‘modernised and consistent’ typographic identity.

Equilibrium was invited by the client to talk about brand positioning in December 2008, and developed a strategy for the WI which included the rollout of a new identity, following research with staff, members and non-members.

A creative director, Ian Haughton, was appointed by Equilibrium partner Shailendra Kumar to work as a consultant on the project.

The previous "tree" identity
The previous “tree” identity

Kumar says, ‘Within the organisation there was a small majority belief that it needed to modernise, so it opted for a change of identity.’

The new identity ‘has been designed to attract a new generation of members’, says Kumar, who adds, ‘The idea is that it appeals to a new generation of women without alienating existing members.’

The rebranding of the organisation – which has kept its tree logo for more than 30 years – follows a recent surge of young women joining the WI, which has seen the establishment this year of the first two university WI branches – at Goldsmiths University and King’s College in London.

‘The only links to the past in the identity will be the colour green,’ says Kumar.

The WI was founded in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during World War I. Since then, its aims have broadened, and it now claims to be the largest women’s organisation in the UK, with 6500 branches.

The new brand will attempt to unite the institute’s 205 000 members, made up of stakeholders from its national board, federation groups and local WI groups.

The intention is that the new identity can replace or work alongside thousands of individual logos, which are very confused and disparate at the moment,’ says Haughton.

A strapline, ‘Inspiring women’, came out of the brand-positioning research.

According to Houghton, this ‘was the driver behind the whole identity’. The intonation takes on a different meaning if levelled at the organisation or its individual members, he points out.

‘The new typographic marque – The WI [pictured above] – doesn’t need symbolism. It’s very clean and simple, and fits in with the brand architecture,’ Haughton says.

He adds that, ‘[The new marque] can be followed by a place or a job title, so it can be used throughout the organisation.’

A roll-out of the new identity across all collateral will begin in the new year, when a website goes live.


  • The Women’s Institute was founded in 1915, aiming to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to grow food during World War I
  • It now has 205 000 individual members and 6500 branches
  • In 2005, a group of young women in London’s Fulham set up a branch
  • In 2006, an Islington-based branch started up, followed in 2008 by the setting up of The Shoreditch Sisters and other branches in Leeds and Manchester, and the launch of a network of university Women’s Institutes
Hide Comments (4)Show Comments (4)
  • Stephanie Brown November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Lovely work – shame that Morning Design wasn’t credited for the identity design.

  • Noonanio November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    If this is what passes for a brand these days, what are we all doing? I agree with the strapline; motivational and forward thinking – but the logo is diametrically opposed to it’s statement of intent. Where is the inspiration?

  • Mrs. Bowden November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I just wonder how much this new logo cost the WI? Will we ever be told?
    If I had asked my nephew’s son, aged 4, I am sure he would have done just as good!

  • Shirley Husselbeent November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    You can already buy perfectlyu wholesome(no additives or preservative) food from Country Markets once WI Markets at the 367 outllets trading weekly, some monthly.
    The WI appears to be operating double standards here – having spent the last 90 years encouraging people to feed their families could wholesone meals. Or is it that they are more interested in msking monery out of their members by encouraging them to purchase food that weill be full of preservatives.

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