The American YMCA unveiled its new brand identity today (July 12, 2010). The organization’s new brand name is “The Y,” which is the colloquial way people call the YMCA. The previous brand identity withstood the test of time, and has lasted 43 years. It is also in use in other YMCA organizations around the world. It is unclear at this time whether these other Ys will adopt the new brand identity, keep the existing one or use a brand identity unique to their country (which some already do).
The press release announcing the new brand identity stated they expect that it will take up to five years for all 2,687 Ys in the United States to transition to the new brand identity.
It is difficult to comprehend what the Y’s design firm was thinking when they designed the mark and how/why the Y signed off on the design. The first impression is actually quite positive: There is a similarity to the previous mark (retaining the brand equity of the previous mark), the new mark is colourful (it comes in 5 different colour combinations), friendly and has forward motion, all positive. But they have inexplicably placed “YMCA” on a diagonal, as if this were a footnote or copyright notice. If the full name was required – which runs counter to the rationale given for this rebrand – then this should have been properly dealt with, not as a graphic footnote. What a way to ruin what would otherwise be a very good rebranding effort!
A review of this brand identity will be featured in the next issue of New Identity Alert.