The Histiocytosis Association was 20 years old, struggling with the impact of growth and the increase in competition for support. Our work together redefined the brand with new positioning and a suite of tools for engagement.

Over three years, we rolled out visual identity, as well as organizational and fundraising communications. The effectiveness of the brand stems from shared valued inside and out. It’s supported by a flexible brand system, a toolkit of templates and training the staff on execution.

The brand positioning of coming together to fund and find a cure inspired members throughout the country to form Circles of Friends. These groups provide local support for members planning fundraising events as well as dealing with the disease.

Research revealed members had no significant recall or attachment to the organization’s logo, beyond the fact that they “thought it was blue.” Using that as a hook, we were free to completely reimagine the imagery, creating a new icon that represents the intermingling of doctors and patients in one community. The new tagline “A Rare Community” is a play on the rareness of the disease and the specialness of the space they have created together. A true win in this process was convincing the board to go with an inspirational tagline and resist the urge to add more words to clarify.

There was no budget to create an organizational brochure and an annual report the first year. Thinking long term, we put the money into a brochure that highlighted capabilities and created an annual report info card that tucked into a pocket in the back. In keeping with the positioning of finding a cure, notice that all the images have an element of searching and incorporate the organization’s blue and green.

During our research we realized that children were the primary patients of this disease, and the organization had no direct paths to support their needs. We proposed the idea of creating a friendly mascot character, and the organization told us that parents already called their kids “warriors.” We designed a girl and boy “histio warrior,” and these characters are now are used in events, educational materials and numerous products for sale. This has created new revenue while offering families better resources.

To maintain visual consistency across communications, we created templates for program and fundraising brochures that the staff could update in-house.

Rebranding is more of a process than a project. Over time, all organizational materials need to be transitioned to the new brand. For most clients, we help them decide which pieces we should create and which they can handle. For pieces that need to be revised often, a template that can be updated in-house is often the most practical solution.

Our brand and our direction was implemented in the website, developed by Blackbaud. The site incorporates navigation that aligns with the focus on both patients and practitioners as well as images that support the idea of “searching.”