Advocates for Trans Equality

Brand Identity, Digital Design, Naming

Brand positioning, naming, identity, and website for the transgender advocacy organization.

Since 2016, a wave of anti-trans bills have fueled an explosive increase in national attention around transgender issues. More than 500 bills targeting LGBTQ people were introduced in state legislatures in 2023, shattering the previous year’s record of 315. The effects have been devastating: trans adults and youth are routinely stigmatized, threatened, and in some cases legally barred from leading the healthy and happy lives they deserve. 

To meet this challenge, two of the leading organizations within the trans equality movement—the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund—are merging to become Advocates for Trans Equality, or A4TE for short. A4TE will be a new, integrated organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of trans people in America. Collaborating closely with A4TE’s leadership and staff over a year-long period, Pentagram designed the brand strategy, name, visual identity, and website for the new organization. 

The new brand called for far more than a fresh coat of paint; it represented a comprehensive re-imagining of A4TE’s public voice at a critical moment in time. “We’ll be able to operate with double the influence, double the power,” remarked Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Advocates for Trans Equality’s new Executive Director. “At a time when states are considering a record number of anti-transgender bills, trans voices are needed now more than ever, and we have to be operating at a different scale,” he said. 

Pentagram’s work began with an extensive research phase, which included a brand audit, competitive assessment, audience definition, and staff and board listening sessions. Staff from both organizations, as well as prominent movement leaders from across the country, were interviewed to understand the opportunity for the new brand at this critical moment in the fight for trans equality. By virtue of its size and stature alone, the newly merged organization would command respect from day one, appearing on par with established (and better known) players like the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Transgender Law Center. But what would long-term impact look like? It would be essential for the new brand to position A4TE as a force to be reckoned with for years to come. 

The new name, “Advocates for Trans Equality,” defines the new organization in no uncertain terms. The name implies a big tent movement of trans leaders, communities, allies, and partners, all working in coalition for trans equality. The name is paired with a new mission statement, brand pillars, and tone principles to help unify all the organization’s communications with clarity, energy, and spirit. And at the center of it all is the notion of a brand “of, for, and by the trans community”—optimized for the people it serves and the audiences with which it must engage. 

The visual identity establishes A4TE as a credible leader within the LGBTQ+ movement. It balances the vitality and dynamism of trans people themselves with a sense of gravitas essential for navigating the legal and political institutions with which the organization works. The brand needed to be equally at home at a rally; in a courtroom; at a fundraiser; or in a congressional hearing. Graphic elements were developed to effectively balance these competing needs, allowing the brand to modulate its voice when and where necessary. 

The brand’s new mark is simple, solid, and easily reproducible. It reinforces the name’s shorthand acronym and emphasizes the “T” for trans. The color palette centers on an ownable shade of magenta—unique amongst advocacy organizations—while subtly nodding to the colors of the trans flag. Photography, illustrating A4TE’s work and impact, similarly references diverse trans communities nationwide. Pentagram also developed an additional kit of patterns derived from the logo geometry which can be used in print and digital contexts. 

Pentagram also collaborated with the digital design agency Decimal to create A4TE’s new web presence. The site introduces the organization’s work and also includes essential resources for trans individuals, their families, and their communities. 

“Advocates for Trans Equality will show exactly what can be materially achieved when trans advocates come together and seek nothing less than equality for trans people in America,” remarked Andrea Hong Marra, A4TE’s new CEO, upon the merger’s announcement. Equipped with its new brand, A4TE is poised to do just that. 

New York
Giorgia Lupi
Project team
Phillip Cox
Ed Ryan
Julia Saimo
Abby Matousek
Zach Scheinfeld
Madeleine Garner
Giorgia Roscini, animation
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