We have blogged before about the new YMCA logo makeover. We then waited to see the new logo design appear on signage… and waited… and waited…
Many communities simply were not using the new logo design when it was initially introduced. However, this New Year is finally bringing design and branding to YMCAs across the country. Organizations that were still using the old logo are finally making the switch to their new and improved logo. This will happen gradually across the world, but it is indeed happening.
The new logo is being rolled out with appropriate fanfare. Many YMCAs are offering a free day for the public to try out their facilities and see what the new Y is about. Other types of ‘open house’ events will also be featured. The new athletic logo design deserves a certain amount of recognition, as it is the first logo design change for the YMCA in 43 years.
The new logo features a kinder, gentler color palette in modern bright hues. It also includes a ‘the’ in front of the Y that is the main image, referring to the organization’s nickname. The full name is below in similarly friendly lower case lettering. The rounded corners and gentle bend of the main letter give a feeling of movement that portrays an organization on the go.
Why the change? This is not your grandfather’s YMCA. Most modern members are not young male Christians, as the name seems to suggest. Most modern YMCAs are fully stocked athletic centers that also include a variety of activities and services for families and singles alike. Our YMCA has a full-time childcare center and special “Teen’s Night Out” events that give local kids something to do besides their usual mischief.
The global organization is focused not just on young men, but on effecting social change in communities. It is still an organization with “Christian values”, but these are secondary to other causes. The pointy, austere old logo design did nothing to portray this shift, which happened gradually. The new logo has not been exceedingly popular in the design world, but it is a better representative of the new, family and community oriented organization.
Of course, the change will be gradual. Like most nonprofit organizations, the YMCA cannot afford to throw away everything bearing the old logo. In my town, and likely in yours as well, signs will be gradually replaced, and stationary with the former logo design and brand will be used up before the new boxes are opened. The rebranding process will be gradual and slow, which is often the best plan for established companies such as this.
Regardless of how you feel about the new logo design, it is certainly an improvement over the old one—although that is not really saying much. We look forward to seeing how the new logo changes the organization’s public image and whether it is up to the task of representing a brand that is so well-known throughout the world. Keep an eye on your local Y to see if the new brand and logo design is a good fit for your community.