Re-Design: Hospice of Humboldt

Throughout my career I've had long-time client relationships lasting as client contacts move from position to position in their own careers. I first met Paul Mueller in Seattle, when he was associated with the Seattle Men's Chorus and I was doing design work for the organization in our shared office space. Years after I had relocated to Portland, and was doing all the graphic design work for Our House of Portland, Paul became the Development Director for the residential care facility for people with HIV/AIDS. After working together for a while, he then left to become the Executive Director of the Hospice of Humboldt in Eureka, California.

In 1999 came the call that the Hospice of Humboldt was having an identity crisis. For some time the organization had been graphically identified by a one-color, simple image of a tree and a roofline (below left). No clean, original art seemed to exist and the over-photocopied, over-printed logo was beginning to look a bit worn and bitmapped.

The Hospice of Humboldt offers in-home care for people in the community who are in the last stages of life, allowing them to die in a familiar environment, surrounded by their loved ones. Mueller expressed a desire to have an identity that reflected the beauty of the geographic area, warmth, love, care and a "down home" feel. He suggested that retaining some tree image, and some graphic representation that would relate to the roofline in the old logo, would probably help in the approval process of a new identity.

The design I created (above right) presented a cheery, colorful and perhaps simplistic solution to the organization's identity issue. The light in the windows of the house elements, and rays of the sun, conveyed warmth and comfort. The tree, hills and mountain images conveyed a sense of the local region served by the the hospice group. The identity put a new face of the organization of the web presence, stationery package, collateral materials and wearables.

Many of the marketing and promotion pieces produced are featured in The Big Book of Designs for Letterheads and Websites. The logo also was honored with a Bronze in the Summit Creative Awards and appears in the Spanish book Logos from North to South America.

Somewhere along the line another designer has tweaked the logo to what is now used on the organization's website. I don't mind the new type treatment, but the new tree image really comes across as scrawny.

(Note: My new book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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