The world is always in need of a helping hand and many NGOs are doing important work for the betterment of their community. But how do you get the word out? Well-designed, compelling charity logos are the first step in making your non-profit stand out from the crowd and connect with donors and supporters.
The main goal of your charity logo is to convey the mission of your organization. It should align with your non-profit’s visual identity and illustrate what you stand for to compel people to take action. The best NGO logos are also aesthetically pleasing, timeless, and adaptable for use across multiple mediums such as social media or fundraising mail.
Maybe your foundation logo is in need of a fresh new look, or you’re starting up a new nonprofit. In this article we’ve collected examples for different categories of nonprofit services to use as inspiration for your new design.
First, let’s look at some local, national and internationally focused NGO logos to see what works and why.
IRL NGO logos and why they work
The YMCA rebranded in 2010 to a simpler but recognizable logo. With more than 2,700 locations in the US, each location can design their own look within their style guide colors to create a unique identity and still be on brand. The bright happy colors convey the nonprofit’s mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
World Wildlife Fund
WWF has probably the most recognizable nonprofit pictorial logos, where they use an image as their focal point. Since it uses a monochrome color palette, it’s very adaptive and can be easily used in multiple mediums. The positive (black) space gives just enough definition, so that a viewer’s eye can complete the rest and recognize the panda in an instant. The cute panda brings focus to the foundation’s mission of conserving wildlife and nature.
The Happy Hippie Foundation
As far as foundation logos go, The Happy Hippie Foundation has got to be the most fun! The altered smiley face embodies the “Miley Cyrus brand” and engages the younger target audience. This logo clearly conveys her nonprofit’s mission to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.
Aggregate Space Gallery
Aggregate Space Gallery (ASG) is an artist-run, nonprofit exhibition and performance space in West Oakland dedicated to the exploration and presentation of immersive works. They used a lettermark design which turned their initials into a stylized logo. The fun part is that their design is easily adaptable for different updates or messages using the positive and negative space, like when they moved to a different location. They also came up with a clever design for their stickers using their “Install the Unimaginable” tagline and cut together photos from their past installations.
The charity logo for Feeding America is very simple, effective and aesthetically pleasing. The stacked “I”s forming an ear of wheat swiftly convey the message of food and the charity’s mission of nationwide hunger-relief. A logo that gets straight to the point.
St. Anthony Foundation
The St. Anthony Foundation logo has a timeless design that conveys their mission and history. They use an emblem logo framed by a badge, which conveys the historic part of its identity. Their logo is connected to their history as a church-based organization in the spirit of St. Francis, and their mission is to feed, heal, shelter, clothe and lift the spirits of those in need in San Francisco.
As a simple logo, it is also easily adaptable. For example, with the Black Lives Matter protests, they were able to easily change their logo color to black and shared messages of support for the black community in their struggle for justice.
charity: water’s non-profit logo is an elegant, modern design that clearly illustrates their mission of bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. It combines the pictorial element by using the water jug as a focal image and the “charity: water” wordmark, meaning the uniquely stylized typeface of the organization’s name. The iconic graphic can also be used without the name in different settings, making it very versatile.
City Youth Now
City Youth Now has a colorful design connecting to their mission which supports youth in the San Francisco Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems and providing services that promote stability, personal growth, and long-term success. The arrow in the logo clearly shows action, and if you ask me, almost looks like a house. Do you see that too?
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America NGO logo uses a simple yet distinctive design. Their logo would be described as an “abstract mark”, which is a unique symbol that conveys a big idea in an interesting shape. The Boys & Girls Club design alludes to holding hands to mean support or mentorship, and further, their mission of enabling young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. With 4,300 Clubs across America, all use the same logo design and list the specific city our county it serves.
Seva’s foundation logo illustrates their mission in the design with the two eyes and swirl as a bindi. Seva (pronounced Say-Va) is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service to others.” They are a global nonprofit eye care organization that works with local communities to preserve and restore sight.
Amazing non-profit and charity logos to spark inspiration
You want your logo to reflect what your charity stands for and what you’re working towards. That’s why your logo design needs to be tailored to your organization. Below are some ideas to inspire you and help you figure out what’s right for you.
Organizations that support the environment often have nonprofit logos with symbols of trees, water or animals and use natural colors like green, blue or brown. This instantly creates a connection to nature—a great way for environmental non-profits to show what they care about.
Charities supporting wildlife put animals forward, because who doesn’t love cute doggies and majestic elephants?! Using animal silhouettes is a great way to keep your logo simple while including creative details at the same time.
Let colors speak
It’s a good idea to also consider color meanings when designing your logo. Blue and yellow are common colors for social justice and housing NGO logos. Blue is a color for peace and wisdom and yellow is a symbol for optimism. Red is a great color choice to express passion and love.
Ace the test
Health and education non-profits often focus on symbols of people or hands and hopeful themes in their designs.
No matter what symbols you choose, always keep your audience in mind. For example, when working with children you want a friendly and approachable design, yet in fields of health or education, you want a more sophisticated and trustworthy look.
Arts and cultural foundation logos are often colorful and usually include symbols of music or art to convey their mission. Charity logos with abstract shapes and designs can be a great solution for this type of non-profit.
Turnip the support
Charity logos promoting healthy eating or food access often use symbols of fruits and vegetables or like with soup kitchens, bowls of soup. Farms often use natural green colors with a focus on symbols for growth or planting, whereas for kitchens and other food related charities logos with warmer tones and homely imagery are a great choice.
Time to make a difference
Whatever your non-profit’s mission is, be sure that your logo clearly illustrates it with a memorable, timeless logo that works in different settings and situations.
Don’t underestimate the power of great charity logos, they can be an invaluable asset for your organization. A compelling and creative logo can attract the attention of new supporters and really drive your message home.