Working with Piers and Dominic has been an absolute pleasure. They took our organisation through a consultation process on brand and had unanimity from trustees down to our users. We’re very proud of what we do so wouldn’t entrust our identity to anyone lightly, we’re delighted with how Piers and Dominic have represented us, and are looking forward to working with them again in the future.”

Jeremy Todd, CEO
Family Lives


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Introducing Family Lives

Family Lives, previously known as ParentlinePlus, has come along way since it started 15 years ago when it launched its free, 24 hour helpline to parents offering advice on everything from child birth to troubled teens. These days it has evolved to include online chat forums, personalised email support, face-to-face local support and a resource of printed and online advice targeted at immediate or extended family members.

And it is not just the delivery of this support that has evolved – Family Lives has now found itself as the champion of the family in the UK, advising everyone from social and health professionals, the government and the media.

The problem

With the changes in the charities operations, mentioned above, it was apparent that the ParentlinePlus name and its brand elements no longer reflected the charity as it was today. The name, ParentlinePlus, was limiting because the charity offered advice to all members of the family and it suggested that the only way of contact was via a helpline. It was also felt that “Parent” was too narrow in its meaning to signal inclusivity to fathers, other family members, caregivers, social/health professionals and governmental figures. It was also apparent that the existing brand elements weren’t sophisticated enough to appeal to all socio-economic groups and ethnicities, were mistargeted to adults and weren’t able to tackle difficult and taboo subjects, such as drugs, sex, gangs and domestic violence, sensitively.

The requirements

A new name and brand needed to reposition the charity as the main organisation for family support, accessible to all family members. It needed to reflect the charity as the key commentator on family affairs and as a collaborator with other relevant agencies. It also needed to allude to being totally inclusive, totally accessible, offering a familiar, safe space for non-judgemental advice. It had to feel fresh and modern to signal its forward thinking approach, dealing with the modern family and their issues.

In summary, as we wrote in their brand proposition, it needed to reflect that they “deliver 24 hour, free, confidential,
non-judgemental support to ALL family members across ALL family-related problems; big or small.”

The name

ParentlinePlus was the operating name of a charity that was registered as Family Lives. It was decided that Family Lives should be promoted to the operating name to better represent the charities extensive services and the diversity of families it served. Parentline, which still had a lot of equity, became the dedicated name of the helpline for parents.

The new logo

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Some background behind the creative process for the logo and other brand elements

Before working on the logo and the brand elements we developed the single-minded proposition (SMP) multi-family to focus and give parameters to the creative process (ie. an inspiring phrase that drives the creative process only – it is NOT for internal or external use). Multi-family is a compound word meaning “designed for many families” and when the two parts are considered individually they allude to more interesting connotations. Multi can mean – composed of many parts, diverse, collection, variation, difference, medley, eclectic and multifaceted. Family alludes to unity, support, kindred, group, relationship, network, circle, home and familiar.

We also developed the brand essence – Family Friend. A brand essence is the brand expressed in the simplest, most single-minded terms. The most powerful brand essences are rooted (pardon the pun) in a fundamental customer need.

The logo is inspired by the SMP and brand essence. It uses an “f” as the trunk of an abstract “family tree” supporting the diverse issues of the multi-faceted modern family.

Typography

We created a new hierarchy of fonts to support the brand through all its communications. There are three distinct levels. An illustrative display font that could be used on its own, if necessary, or compliment imagery such as photography and illustration. We designed this font and called it Family Matters and is “higgledy piggledy” to reflect the diversity and multifaceted nature of families and their issues:-

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Photography

 

 

The Family Lives photography needed to reflect the SMP “multi-family”. It needed to bridge all socio-economic groups and ethnicities and be able to tackle difficult and taboo subjects, such as drugs, sex, gangs and domestic violence sensitively. It also had to feel real, familiar and believable. This was achieved by selecting candid photographs captured in natural light. The interesting and tight crops ensured the images told a story without being overly descriptive to the families background or individual issue.

Picture frames as graphic elements

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One object that is found in nearly all family homes which is common among most family types is the picture frame. Picture frames are used to house memories of particular times in a families life. It may be a humourous holiday snap, a life event like a wedding, a proud graduation portrait or simply a child’s painting from school; a window into a families life and a glimpse at the personalities within it. Even the style of the frame can tell you something about the household.

With this in mind we saw an opportunity to use a frame as the perfect holding device for imagery, typography and illustration. Not only does it help to reinforce the family and the diversity of its issues, it is a linchpin that helps bring all the brand elements together in a unique and ownable manner (see below).

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