Making a world of difference
World Vision Australia (est. 1966) is a Christian organisation that works with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. It is a part of the World Vision International Partnership and is the nation’s largest charitable group by revenue. Its work includes long term development programs, emergency relief projects, advocacy and education. While it operates primarily to assist overseas communities living in poverty, it also carries out development work in Australia with Indigenous communities. (World Vision Australia)
The concept established by the old logo is that of a cross/star appearing over a horizon (the orange graphic), and so the space to the bottom left of the arch suggests the globe. The cross/star symbolises World Vision’s Christian values and signifies the “light of hope” it brings to recipients through its work. The bold use of orange represents optimism but also has a practical function. Workers wearing orange, signs in orange, food trucks and temporary shelters with orange, are all designed to help those in crises identify a source of aid. The orange means “this person can help you” and “this is a safe place”.
The wordmark has a rather distinctive, high-contrast look with interesting flared terminals on the r and the s. Before the refresh, the letters i and o in “Vision” were connected to form a ligature. It was an unorthodox pairing, but it kind of worked – it was legible and gave the logo a unique hook.
My main gripe with the logo was that it wasn’t optimised for flexible positioning. The single right angle created by the horizon symbol meant that the logo should be placed in the upper-right of layouts wherever possible. In fact, the guidelines state that “at least 70 percent of [World Vision’s] materials must be produced using the logo in this way”. It looked a bit odd otherwise, especially as the horizon symbol was a bit too dominant.
That being the case, there were actually three versions of the old logo, each of which varied the relationship between the horizon symbol and the wordmark. The version displayed above represented an “equal relationship” and was for general use applications such as stationery, promotional literature and advertising. There was also an additional set that omitted the “shine” gradient of the cross/star in situations where it could not be reproduced faithfully. You can see them all here.
With so much equity already built into the brand, World Vision was reluctant to change its logo, typeface and hero colour palette. So Interbrand repurposed them. The word mark and logo were separated for the first-ever time, with the logo – or ‘Beacon’ as it came to be called – used to draw attention to the various causes, projects and people that World Vision supports. Bold and adaptable, the Beacon acts as a guiding light for change makers, as well as a symbol of hope for those who need it most.
As mentioned in the project description, there was so much equity in the old logo, so to give the brand a complete facelift would have thrown all that recognition out the window. (Perhaps Interbrand didn’t have much freedom anyway, given that the logo is used internationally.) While the changes in the new logo are, therefore, minimal, they are no less welcome. The kerning in the wordmark has been tightened up; the ligature has been consciously uncoupled for the sake of functionality; and the cross/star is now clearer without the “shine” gradient. I think the biggest improvement is the more balanced relationship between the wordmark and the symbol.
In applications, the horizon symbol is the star of the show (pardon the pun). Now that it can be separated from the wordmark, its role is elevated as it is used to “tag” various other words, drawing attention to the many causes, supporters and people that World Vision supports. These words are set in Gill Sans Heavy, and when locked up with the horizon symbol, they communicate with warmth and humanity, but also with directness and authority. The effect is extremely eye-catching, especially against white backgrounds as above, and I would imagine that in the chaos following a disaster situation, along with the colour orange, the large type would connect quickly with those in need.
Even the little things make a big difference – the coffee cup above demonstrates the dynamic nature of the horizon symbol, inviting people to offer their support by literally embedding their name into the logo.
Overall, Interbrand’s solution for World Vision is splendid. The logo is technically better in every way, and the use of the horizon symbol as a shorthand for the brand helps establish a strong connection between the organisation and the people and projects it supports. Even Gill Sans’ naysayers
can should appreciate the font’s unexpected beauty when paired so confidently with the symbol. The changes are simple but so powerful, and are sure to inspire a new generation of change makers.