Surfrider Foundation Catches a New Wave


The Surfrider Foundation is a well-known group dedicated to preserving the ocean so it can be enjoyed by all. However, even the best known nonprofit foundation needs an occasional renovation. In this case, a slight rebranding and a very new logo design is bringing this well-known charity into the new decade and we can learn some logo design lessons from surfing.

With more than sixty chapters supported by more than 50,000 members, this rebranding is affecting multiple people. Certain elements remain the same in both logos because their message is still relevant. For instance, the clear sea blue is still being used because it is a timeless element that perfectly shows the organization’s focus on the ocean. The swelling wave also is present in both logos, because it represents a movement growing stronger over time while obviously tying into the sport of surfing. Lines help to emphasize the sense of movement, which is a key element of the brand and the image.

However, there are a few key differences. First, the square has been removed from the image. This is a benefit as the shape was a little dated. However, it gave the wave logo a more ominous feeling of strength and energy. It was a tradeoff, but perhaps one that was necessary to create a more modern feeling. Second, the writing was changed substantially. Instead of a classic, italicized font, the writing has been made plain and modern in a sans serif print. The writing gets thicker as you read from left to right, which is intended to further convey the feeling of strength and movement growing over time. The wave has been subtly shaped to add to this impression. The coloring remains almost the same, but it has been inverted; instead of blue against a white background, we see white against the blue.

One of the major benefits of the new logo design is one that only graphic designers will recognize: it will be easier to copy. The old logo had many interesting details, but these could detract from both ease in printing and the image’s ability to be scaled down to a very small size. This will make it easier to place the logo on t-shirts design, wetsuits, and bumper stickers, and to have it consistently recognized once it is there.

While the feedback on the logo has been mainly positive, there of course have been people who are unhappy with the changes. The main criticism is that the old logo didn’t need to be completely overhauled and that a few small changes would have been sufficient. It is true that this brand was strong, especially in coastal areas where surfing is popular, and that as much of it should be preserved as possible. However, we think that many of this organization’s enthusiasts will understand the reasons behind the changes and embrace the new logo design.

As you can see, even the strongest brand needs an occasional boost. If you think your brand isn’t working in the modern business world, talk to a professional logo designer today to make yours a rebranding success story.