Building the plane (or, our brand) while flying it
When Ezra first tweeted out the link to the Google Doc guide on December 14, 2016, it’s safe to say that branding wasn’t top-of-mind. We put out the doc thinking that maybe our friends and family would take a look. Then something crazy happened: despite the typos, formatting errors, and our interesting color choices for text boxes, people read it.
And we were overwhelmed by messages from all over the country—amazing messages from people who were energized, ready to take control on their home turf, and full of questions about how to best do that. There was so much traffic on the Google Doc that people couldn’t download it. We designed a PDF and a website in 72 hours just so that people could continue to print and share the guide.
I spoke on a panel not that long ago where an Indivisible group leader asked how we decided to use the photo of Lincoln, if the font choice of Montserrat meant anything, and how we settled on the particular shade of red, white, and blue. I wish I had better answers, but here’s the truth: we just liked them.
Buried somewhere in my email are 12 different iterations of that cover with different imagery, colors, and fonts that we mocked up at our coffee tables late at night and sent to each other with notes like, “How about this?” We settled on the design really quickly and admittedly without a lot of thought about the long term implications our choices would have.
I’m going to be honest: Indivisible was just text on a page until you, the groups, picked it up and made it something more.
Our initial lack of a national visual identity made our brand stronger.
Hundreds of Indivisible groups made their own logos. And they’re all beautiful, diverse, and representative of their group’s values. Design agencies and marketing firms would shudder. But here’s the thing: when you look at the logos of groups across the country side-by-side, it’s a powerful testament to what makes Indivisible incredible. Indivisibles are diverse, eclectic, creative, spontaneous, brave, bold, and impactful.
We come from different backgrounds and walks of life, we have different stories, but we stand together, united in the belief that we can achieve more when we do. We’re committed to the same principles and we’re all working together to build power, locally. We’re fighting the same fights at the national level no matter if you live in San Francisco or Billings. But, we’re doing it in different and unique ways. And those differences are what make us stronger—and what make us a force when we show up arm-in-arm.
Leah is the one who came up with the name Indivisible—and it’s rooted in the idea that our power lies in showing up together… the notion that if we don’t stand together, we’ll fall. It’s what drives us as an organization on issues we prioritize and our continuing work to ensure we are tireless allies in the most important fights being fought here in Washington. Your logos represent that idea. Different groups, different people, fighting together.
Expanding Indivisible’s Visual Identity
While Indivisible groups were building off of and improvising from a visual identity developed for the guide, Indivisible Project the organization was restricted by it. As an organization we needed to grow our brand to encapsulate all of the amazing work that has been done under the Indivisible banner since the launch of the google doc.
For creatives, building an organization’s visual identity is serious business. It’s not something you jump into or take lightly. Especially when it comes to the mark (or logo). It’s an exhausting process of back-and-forth (and a lot of really deep conversations about what symbols, colors, and text treatments represent). You agonize over marks that get torn apart in the media and in Facebook groups. You wonder if what you’ve come up with is too similar to another organization’s identity. And you second guess every iteration of a design.
Over the last several months (really, since April), we’ve gone through 8 rounds of designs. We’ve done a focus group with a representative sample of group leaders across the country. We’ve worked with branding experts. We’ve defined goals. We argued (none of us are speaking to Ezra). And we’ve spent a lot of time looking at Indivisible group logos from across the nation.
We started out wanting something nostalgic. Traditional Americana. Something immediately recognizable as powerful. Focus group participants challenged us to come up with a mark that was representative of the future progressive movement. But what does the future progressive movement look like? It’s not an easy idea to convey in one simple 2”x2” square. As we went through concepts with flags and statues and fists raised in power, we kept coming back to one thing: you.
Our brand was born in your living rooms and community centers. It was built by hundreds of thousands of people who showed up this year to make their voices heard, gathered around windows of a church because the meeting was standing room only. Our brand is the work you’ve done outside and inside of congressional district offices. It’s the phone calls you’ve made and the signs you’ve created. It’s your calls to actions in emails and Facebook groups. It’s the victories we’ve celebrated, together.
You built our brand, you are our brand, and now we have a mark that represents that.
Starting today, you’ll see a new logo on our social media accounts and website. We brought back IndivisiMerch with the new logo for you to wear your IndivisiPride on your sleeve or purchase gifts for family and friends (just in time for the holidays!). We’re working on updating the design of our emails to make them more streamlined, easier to read, and a bit prettier. And we’ll be providing information on our new visual identity to groups that want it.
We’re excited to show you what we came up with… and, as always, we’re thrilled to build this movement with you day in and day out.