Comic Relief and Red Nose Day rebrand to clear up “confusion”

The poverty-fighting charity has a new identity, as does its annual televised fundraiser Red Nose Day, in a bid to create a distinction between the organisation and the event.

Comic Relief and Red Nose Day have been rebranded, in a bid to “re-energise” the charity and eliminate confusion around the charity and the fundraiser.

Studio Whistlejacket has completed the project, and designed two separate identities, one for Comic Relief, and one for its event, Red Nose Day, which takes place on 15 March.

Comic Relief is a UK-based charity, founded by scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in 1985, which looks to help reduce poverty worldwide. It was started up in response to famine in Ethiopia. Its main annual fundraiser is Red Nose Day, which has been broadcast on TV every year since 1988 and asks viewers to donate.

According to Comic Relief, Red Nose Day reached peak donations in 2011, raising £108 million. Its fundraising total has since dropped, raising £73 million in 2017.

The two new logos take on the same style, of a sans-serif, white typeface set inside a block colour shape – a square with curved corners for Comic Relief, and a circle for Red Nose Day. The core colour palette is black, white and red for both brands.

Animated versions of the logo have been created for broadcast and digital use, which includes an extended colour palette of yellow, green, light blue, navy blue, purple and pink.

This is the first time Comic Relief has been rebranded since it began 31 years ago, with the previous identity being made up of a circle with a drop shadow, and the name set in a sans-serif typeface at the centre of it, with a red circle used to create the “O” in “Comic”, indicating the well-known red nose.

Matty Tong, partner at Whistlejacket, says the aim of the rebrand was to “re-energise and modernise the brand”, as well as clear up “confusion” about the relationship between the charity and its fundraising event, as “some believe that Red Nose Day is the charity,” he says.

He adds that the target audience of the charity is “pretty much everyone”, so the new look aims to target both older generations and younger people.

Kathy Kierlty, creative director at the design studio, says that the new identities aim to be both “fun and entertaining” and “serious and compassionate” to suit different situations.

“By stripping everything back to a very simple, bold and confident mark, we were able to achieve a balance that can sit comfortably in either environment,” she says.

The new logotype and circle/square lock-up logo also aims to be “flexible”, she says, so it can be used to contain the names of different Comic Relief fundraisers and activities, aside from Red Nose Day.

The studio did not respond to a request for comment on whether the rebrand was in aid of boosting donations to the charity and fundraiser, which have depleted over the last eight years.

The project took eight months to complete, and the new identities are currently rolling out across all of Comic Relief’s and Red Nose Day’s touchpoints, including the websites, collateral for commercial partners, such as t-shirts for TK Maxx and British Airways’ in-flight safety films, and on marketing materials. Red Nose Day takes place on 15 March 2019.


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