The bold and the not so beautiful
Ovarian Cancer Australia (OCA) is an independent national organisation that takes action for people affected by ovarian cancer. Its vision is to save lives and ensure no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone. They support those affected, give them a voice, facilitate research, and raise awareness on a national scale. OCA was founded in 2001 by people who had been affected by ovarian cancer, either themselves or through someone they loved. (About Us)
OCA approached branding agency Principals to review and renew the organisation’s voice and visuals, and create a new look and feel that “continues to stand for the hope, determination and uniqueness of Australian women living with ovarian cancer, and represents the boldness and strength of [their] team and community”.
We’ve kept the iconic teal – the international colour of ovarian cancer – but added a bold attitude and powerful imagery. We are putting women front and centre of our brand, as they are in our work and our community. Our visual style is clean and modern, our tone of voice is strong and empowering, and we’re looking to the future with hope and determination.
The old logo looked suitably feminine, not least because of the flower motif. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the selectively darker colour of the top “petal” and the centre of the flower produced the image of an exclamation mark – perhaps a subtle prompt for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The typeface, FF Cocon, had a relaxed (and, dare I say it, seductive) style with details reminiscent of brush strokes. It was also perhaps a bit too quirky. The teal colour, adopted internationally, is fine; it’s distinctive and could potentially become as recognisable as pink is for breast cancer. Overall, the old logo had a light appearance and calming feel that portrayed the organisation as friendly and approachable.
The new logo naturally retains the teal but includes a darker shade for a more confident appearance. The flower has been replaced by a graphic which combines the letters O, C and A. The impression I get from that graphic is that it looks like a logo for a camping equipment brand, primarily because the “A” looks like a camping symbol. The C section (so to speak) isn’t top-to-bottom symmetrical, the A is sharp and unpleasant, and overall the graphic seems unresolved and conceptually weak.
The text is set in Gotham look-alike Montserrat, a functional typeface with geometric proportions that naturally complement the circularity of the graphic. The designer has chosen to use the darker teal to differentiate the word “CANCER” (as well as the respective C in the graphic). I appreciate that it adds visual interest, but it has the unfortunate effect of calling attention to what could be an unpleasant word for those with the condition.
In applications, the circular graphic is incorporated into messaging by replacing the letter O. It’s an interesting way of using the logo and saves room in layouts – as long as the word contains an O. You will also notice that on dark backgrounds, the colouring of the word “CANCER” in the logo has too little contrast, so you mainly read “OVARIAN AUSTRALIA”.
Overall, the new logo certainly reflects the “bold” and “strong” new direction of the organisation, but it feels far too corporate and masculine. The circular graphic feels half-baked and lacks personality, and the use of all caps only adds to the “hardness” and sterility of the new design. The logo’s redeeming feature is that striking, albeit predetermined, teal colour, but otherwise it just seems out of touch.