Niamh is now Inspired, with a little help from Whitenoise…

Posted on 13·12·2016 by Mark Case

The Inspire family is a large, complex organisation with a turnover in 2014-15 of £16million, and it operates with a team of over 1,000 staff, counsellors and volunteers. As such, a change of name from Niamh (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) to Inspire in 2016 marks a change of both focus and scale and wasn't to be taken lightly... cue Whitenoise, who are proud to unveil a project that kept us very busy throughout a large part of 2015 and 2016. As Inspire continues to grow, it is vital that its new corporate identity grows with it, and so our approach was to build a ‘brand family’ to allow for such growth and to accommodate new developments in the organisation as they occur.

The Inspire brand family consists of a series of logos based on the parent Inspire identity. Each sub brand utilises its own unique pattern or ‘colour world’ and is further differentiated through a title and subtitle specific to each service offering. These colour worlds express the unique personalities of the Inspire parent, the Inspire sub brands and the Inspire group as a whole. The use of defining colours and patterns has long been associated with the organisation under its previous identifying name, ‘Niamh’ (an acronym of the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health), but this new system has been designed to allow for the organisation’s continuing expansion and growth into other sectors, service provisions and markets.

The current Inspire group structure is comprised of the Inspire parent and six services, with each entity having its own unique colour pattern. As other services are developed and launched, they will be added into the expanding portfolio of Inspire colour worlds. A complete brand toolkit was developed to assist in the launch and application of the new identity.

The decision to go for this radically different solution to branding was not taken lightly. The previous Niamh brand adopted a similar approach, but it had proven to be unfit for purpose – both inflexible and difficult to maintain and reproduce over time. We therefore had to go back to first principles to establish the best way to develop a ‘brand family’ and assure the client and all their various stakeholders of the validity of our approach. This process involved lengthy consultation and workshops with representatives drawn from the entire organisation, as well as a wider peer network, including service users. Our initial approach was to imagine exactly what sort of framework would be required to visually ‘glue’ a very complex organisation together – this essential stage was undertaken before we even started to give consideration to design concepts. This exercise also included a lengthy piece of work around naming and subtitling, which proved to be a vital part of the overall project.

Both the naming, descriptive subtitling and visual expression of each brand were developed by the Whitenoise brand team working in close collaboration with the specific business teams within Inspire. This working relationship ensured that all users of their new brand felt a sense of involvement and ownership, which has proven essential to the launch and roll-out of the new identities.

One of the most complex and challenging rebrand projects we have ever worked on, the end result is a testament to the insight of the Whitenoise brand team and considerable input from the client side.

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