Rise for Animals is a national animal rights organization with a mission to end animal experimentation. The group works to save animals from torture in labs while advocating for more innovative, humane and effective research alternatives. Pentagram has created a new name and brand identity for Rise for Animals that is an inspiring call to action. The refresh includes brand strategy and positioning, brand voice and messaging that mobilizes people to the cause.
Pentagram worked closely with the leadership at Rise for Animals to develop the rebranding, which also looked at ways to more clearly articulate and communicate the organization’s mission. Founded in 1895 and based in Boston, the non-profit was formerly known as the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS). With a history that stretches back over a century, it was a pioneer in the animal protection movement and has grown to become one of the most effective organizations working in anti-vivisection today. It achieves this through grassroots activism and educational initiatives, exposure work and governmental lobbying.
The Pentagram team first conducted a comprehensive brand audit, looking at other organizations in the animal activism space such as the Humane Society, PETA, Best Friends Animal Society and Cruelty Free International. Rise for Animals focuses on ending the use of animals in research, testing and science education and replacing them with modern alternatives that are ethically and scientifically superior. To this end, it has helped establish the Center for Contemporary Sciences, a sister organization that conducts research in viable alternatives for animal testing using technology.
The NEAVS name (and acronym) was long and unwieldy and tied the group to one region of the country. The organization wanted to replace it with something that was more direct and empowering. As a name, “Rise for Animals” is universal, rousing and instructive, and conveys the passion behind the activism. It appeals to a wide-ranging community that includes animal lovers, activists, donors, scientists, lobbyists, organizers, educators, students and policy makers.
The brand strategy and positioning build on the name with a voice that is engaged, passionate and persistent. The team crafted a mission statement––“Together, we will end animal experimentation in our lifetimes”––that is clear and confident and speaks to the collective action needed on every front. Messaging emphasizes that animals deserve our love, that no animal should suffer––for any reason––and that every action supporters take makes a positive impact.
The logo illustrates the name, with “for” rising above the rest of the wordmark. The move visually reinforces the uplifting message of Rise for Animals and that the animal rights movement is an uprising. With the raised element, the wordmark also forms a shape that abstractly suggests an animal. A period added at the end of the name turns it into a statement of activism.
The identity utilizes the versatile typeface Ginto, a friendly geometric sans serif (designed by Seb McLachlan and published by ABC Dinamo) with organic curves. The logotype itself is set in Ginto Nord, which expands the width of characters and at its Bold weight has a powerful sense of mass. The compact Ginto Normal is used for secondary typography.
The visual personality of the brand is dynamic and a little rough around the edges to capture the spirit of grassroots activism that supports the organization. For maximum graphic impact, the branding appears in primarily black and white, with splashes of color reserved for images of animals. These appear framed in portrait-like vignettes with backgrounds that suggest natural environments––as a sign of respect for the animals––and that have been treated with a screen print texture to create an expressive duotone effect.
The designers had to develop an approach that would accommodate different types of images, including journalistic photography and the low-res documentation informally taken by supporters in undercover surveillance of lab locations. The system has been applied to brand expressions ranging from the website and social media to collateral like posters and an activism starter kit.
Animals are also represented in colorful illustrations made of gestural strokes with a hand-drawn quality that brings warmth and vitality to the brand. These also appear as animations created with a frame-by-frame technique reminiscent of rotoscoping. One sequence pairs human and animal faces together in a series of portraits––capturing the organization’s mission to show respect for the creatures with which we share the world.