Project diary: how Designworks rebranded history

Despite being Australia’s oldest charity, the Benevolent Society found itself without a clear purpose and role as it approached its 200-year anniversary. Designworks’ job was to give it a new identity by transforming the organisation and redefining its purpose.

Annika Weis, Design director

The Benevolent Society is one of Australia’s most important charities. It makes a crucial difference to people in dire need, helps change lives and gives people in desperate situations a real sense of hope. Benevolent is also a very progressive charity: it’s non-religious and is the only charity in Australia that supports same-sex fostering for children. Despite these positives, Benevolent is largely unknown and as its 200-year anniversary approached, it was also facing a crisis of identity. For a long time it managed the Sydney Royal Women’s Hospital, but when the hospital was absorbed back into the public sector, Benevolent’s centre of gravity went along with it.

It’s fair to say that Benevolent also had something of a presentation problem. When it first came to us, it used a shocking, gritty tone in its communications, which made it feel downbeat and negative, no matter how compelling its communications were. The result of this was that the charity wasn’t perceived very well, and it faced a major challenge in trying to engage with people in a more positive way.

Designworks’ Derek Samuel and Annika Weis look over their rebranding work

Designworks’ Derek Samuel and Annika Weis look over their rebranding work

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