Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity on two vertical outdoor posters. One reads 'not feeling like yourself?' on a green background, the other reads 'Need to be heard? We're listening' on a purple background

Barnardo’s launches new ad and co-created visual identity

The children’s charity has revealed a refreshed identity designed with young people, along with a new spot illuminating the “silent struggles” that children and their families are facing

Brand agency The Clearing has designed a new visual identity for Barnardo’s, the largest children’s charity operating in the UK, which supported more than 370,000 people in 2023 alone. The charity has over 150 years of history to its name, but with many of its potential audiences unaware of the work it does, Barnardo’s decided it was time to realign its visual identity to set it up for the future.

“Children and young people today are forging their futures against a backdrop of huge uncertainty and disruption,” says Barnardo’s CEO Lynn Perry. “With rising numbers of children facing poverty, poor mental health and growing concerns about the changing harms online, at Barnardo’s we realised that children were on a burning platform. We needed to adapt – particularly as research showed that many children didn’t know who we were or how we could help them.”

The Clearing involved over 4,000 people in a consultation process to establish how the identity and strategy could better reflect their needs and experiences.

Some of the children who are part of the Barnardo’s network were also directly involved in the design process. The children were asked to make drawings featuring the first letter of their name, which were then turned into graphic shapes as well as lettering that appears in the custom typeface. These elements feature across the identity and in the Barnardo’s wordmark itself, which has been designed to reflect the spectrum of experiences that young people have.

Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity as seen on a graphic that reads 'be who you want to be' on the back of a bright green shirt worn by a young person
Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity on a beige tote bag filled with clothing, featuring the slogan 'one of a kind'

The Clearing also developed a new verbal identity to help the organisation resonate with younger audiences. “Like most children’s charities, Barnardo’s was designed to communicate with adults about children but not directly to the children themselves,” says Pete Dewar, founding partner at The Clearing.

“The new tone of voice we developed allows Barnardo’s to show that they really understand what matters to children and young people and gives them a way to amplify the voices and experiences of a wide range of children, young people and families. So that whether they already know Barnardo’s or not, they can see themselves in the brand and the community.”

Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity on two colourful vertical posters both headlined 'Pre-love, re-love, feel the love'
Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity on a green clothing tag attached to yellow rubber boots

The visual and verbal identities will be rolled out across all Barnardo’s touchpoints in the UK, from its website and social media channels to posters and clothing tags for stores, as well as display advertising and brand collateral.

While the overarching tone is bright and bouncy, particularly when addressing people outside of the Barnardo’s support network – such as charity shop customers and volunteers – the assets show how the mood can be dialled back when it comes to more serious communications.

Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity on three square Instagram post mock ups. One reads 'free bus travel', another reads 'What is anxiety?', and the other post features a portrait photo of a person
Image shows the new Barnardo's visual identity on two vertical graphics. One reads '1 in 4 children are living in poverty', the other features a badge that reads 'Join our team'

Both the identity and the new strategy line, ‘Feel like you belong’, feature in the new TV spot created by Don’t Panic, which centres on a child who has literally retreated into their shell. Although the wider campaign deals with poverty, this is handled with subtlety in the ad.

“Child poverty looks and feels very different from what many people might expect. It can impact the lives of people we wouldn’t immediately think of – our neighbour, our friend, our colleague. We want to challenge that perception and help people to empathise with the silent struggles that many children, young people, and families are facing right now,” the charity says on its website.

By using a light touch to illustrate this context, the ad manages to convey a holistic perspective of what life is like for children who feel like they don’t belong for myriad reasons, laddering back to the charity’s broader strategy.;