Designing a charity sub brand
For our latest project we were set the task of creating a sub brand for EKO Kitchen, a small charity providing fresh meals to Syrian refugees. The aim of the sub brand was to sell products online and generate revenue to fund the charity. We were asked to create a branding style as well as a potential product that could be sold in the sub brands online store.
I started by looking at a lot of research into why charities are successful and more importantly why they are un successful. My aim was to find the main reasons why we don't give to charities and then solve these issues using the sub brand and its products. I found that the main reasons why we don't give are because either the charity is not relatable to us, we feel our donation is too small to make a difference or because we don't know how our money is being spent. To flip this around; the sub brand needs to be personal and relatable, customers need to know that their contribution will make a difference and they need to know how their money is being used. I also looked into what charity items sell best and found that the product needs to be personal, desirable and if it is functional it will have greater appeal to consumers.
I then did a lot of research into other charities and which aspects of their brand works well. Gucci's charity Chime for change has a very over-produced website that looks too polished and professional. It gives the impression that the charity has lots of money and therefore doesn't emphasise the importance of visitors donations. What the charity does do very well, is allow visitors to choose exactly how their money is being spent. This makes it easier for people to donate as they can send money to a project that is more relatable to them
I started by thinking about different products that the sub brand could sell and came up with the idea for a small card or ticket that costs 40 pence, the cost of 1 hot meal for a refugee. If someone purchased one ‘meal card’ they would know that they have paid for one meal for somebody, and if they purchased 10 they know that they have funded 10 meals. I then thought about ways to get consumers to purchase 50 cards, when I realised people have been purchasing cards in packs of 52 for hundreds of years. The thought process for this idea was a very fluid because I had conducted a lots of research and had a key concept.
The idea then turned to playing cards, where each card still paid for one meal. So a pack of 52 cards would cost around £22 and would provide 52 meals for refugees. Decks of cards could be themed with images, illustrations and collaborations with artists. The design is simple with neat iconography and clean fonts. I wanted the cards to be beautiful and was pleased with how they turned out. In early versions of the playing card design, there was a feedback that the icons in the centre need to have the same layout as traditional playing cards, so this was something I fixed.
After discussing ideas with other people at a feedback session, the name ‘Heart to Heart’ was chosen for the sub brand, playing on the idea of giving and taking the ‘heart’ element from playing cards. I started sketching ideas for a logo and came up with the idea for 2 hearts overlapping. I wanted to create a clear mark that could be used on a small and large scale. The colours were taken from the Syrian and Greek flags and were enhanced to appear more vibrant and energetic. When choosing colours for this logo I spent a lot of time trying out different concepts and making minuscule changes and comparing them against each other. After seeing the results this really showed me the importance of spending time on all of the little details.
For other products in the online store there needed to be a consistent graphic style that could be used, so I designed a series of Super-graphics that could be overlaid onto items such as tote bags, mugs and T-shirts. The Super-graphics were made up from the design language of playing cards and featured hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.
I decided that on products I didn't want the name of the sub brand or charity to appear, as this can be off-putting to people, so only a scaled down version of the brand mark is visible, with the colours changed to match the Super-graphic. This colour picking effect allows all items to feature the brand mark but still concentrate on the design, so consumers aren't constantly reminded of the charity.
The branding and product received good feedback and I was pleased with the outcome. The research I carried out early on was vital and significantly influence the end design. The research allowed me to create a sub brand with a clear concept behind it and with consumer appeal. I learnta lot about spending time looking at the bigger problems and seeing how they can be solved though research based design. In future projects I will defiantly be carrying out more research and spend time on all of the little details.