The YMCA Logo Gets a Makeover

By Mash Bonigala

Does a nonprofit organization need a brand? Absolutely! However, it is hard to think of a nonprofit brand as well known as the YMCA. With a logo recognized around the world and a pop song that still retains much of its thirty-something-year-old charm, the YMCA logo just may be one of the best-recognized sporting brands in the world. However, there is no doubt that the old logo was just that: old.

However, even the strongest brand needs an occasional makeover.

The YMCA has begun this process, beginning with their highly recognized brand. The original YMCA logo featured a Y, the initials by which the organization is best known, in the company’s traditional black and red color palette. The symbol is full of bold lines, sharp corners, and even a triangle, all of which contribute to a feeling of strength and dominance. This is an excellent impression for a sporting club to make. However, there is no doubt that the image is somewhat dated and now conveys more retro charm than modern strength.

The new logo retains many of the elements of the old.

The Y is similarly shaped, with the same bent line and triangle formation. The original red is kept as well. However, the rest of the identity has been changed. The wording has been added to tie ‘the Y’ in with the organization’s full name. Instead of a heavy black, a youthful and even feminine purple is used. All lines have been softened and all sharp edges rounded to allow for a kinder, gentler image.

One benefit of the new logo is that the lines feel more active.

While the old identity was similar to a statue, the new one shows movement. This is definitely a better match with the company’s goals. The rounded edges also feel more approachable and less harsh, which again is a better impression for this organization. There is nothing unapproachable about the YMCA, and its logo design should reflect this.

While the design shown here is purple and red, there will actually be several color options used by the company. While this would be a poor choice for any other company, as it might cause brand confusion, it actually will work very well due to the iconic nature of both the organization and its brand. Further, a diverse color palette may actually be of benefit to a company with locations in many different areas across the United States and the world.

The YMCA is a diverse organization with a presence in a variety of communities, with each location offering a variety of different classes and services to meet the needs of the people it touches. This soft-hearted, people-minded organization certainly did not need a hard-edged image or the brand that naturally comes with it. A bubblier, more active design with colors that change with the occasion is a much better match for this company’s history and goals. This surely will be a benefit to the Y and represent it more accurately to the communities that it serves.