Shelter's core problem was that, as a famous UK based charity that had fought for decades to get the homeless off the streets, they had largely succeeded in their original task. They were now concentrating their efforts on the issue of the million or so people in the UK living in housing that was simply unfit for human habitation.
But in research, both public and corporate audiences still associated them with people living rough on the streets, in cardboard boxes, and the old positioning, identity and communications were doing nothing to change their minds.
Working in association with their agency, Hooper Galton, new and simpler messages were agreed (like ‘Bad housing wrecks lives’), and a definite decision was made to try to ‘wake up’ the public to the new issues they faced. Our task was the visual identity and tone of voice, and one of our earliest and simplest identity thoughts won through, to slightly adjust the ‘h’ of the word to show a pitched roof.
We then carried this simple idea through all their communications and design, encouraging a narrow palette of colours, straightforward typography and no-nonsense writing styles. The idea of writing ‘h' words enabled them to brand words without the constant use of the logo as a back-up.
Here the identity is used huge across the glass windows of their London headquarters.
And here the identity comes to life in some of the early advertising campaigns that adopted the new identity and typographic style.
Showing stationery, adverts and tone-of-voice brand booklets is all very well, but all corporates (and especially those for cash-strapped charities) have to prove that they can be adopted internally. Above is a range of material all produced by their in-house team, all showing the identity in action and working well to present a new and consistent face to the world.
Since the project’s inception in 2004, Shelter has gone from strength to strength. In a way, after decades of presenting itself as a small, ‘agit’ charity, the identity change helped them move up a gear, and become a more ‘grown-up’ organisation that is clear with its supporters and clearly able to attract new and more powerful corporate supporters. It has also become one of the most recognisable projects in the johnson banks portfolio.