Graphic showing elements of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity's new branding featuring a palette of blue and white, and designs revolving around illustrated shapes and animals

A new identity for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity

Multiple collaborators have contributed to the new positioning and refreshed branding for the charity, which raises funds for the leading children’s hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London is known for changing and saving the lives of children with serious illnesses. Though the running costs are covered by the NHS, it’s only with the help of its dedicated charity that the hospital can continue researching innovative treatments and access the best equipment and facilities for children and their families.

To support its fundraising activities and reassert GOSH Charity in the minds of new and existing audiences, the charity has unveiled a new identity that recentres children in the way the charity comes across. Emma Guise, the charity’s director of marketing and communications, explains that “our unwavering focus on childhood and our pivotal role in protecting every aspect of it guided the essence of our new look and feel”.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity branding featuring a illustrated logo of a smiling child with a tear on its cheek

The new identity involved a collaborative effort from independent creative director Stuart Gough, JKR, Pentagram, and Impero, who worked variously across brand narrative, identity, strategy, and motion.

Staff at both GOSH and its charity, as well as charity donors, corporate partners, and members of the public were part of the pool of around 3,500 stakeholders. But the approach was steered most of all by the input of GOSH patients and their families, whose “call for boldness and acknowledgment of the harsh realities of serious childhood illness resonated deeply”, Guise explains, as well as the moments of joy that the hospital manages to provide.

This is evident both visually and verbally, as GOSH Charity’s new brand voice emphasises the young people in the hospital’s care. “We wanted to tune our ears to the authentic voices of GOSH kids and their families, so you’ll see and hear more playful, child-centred language in the tone of voice,” explains Ashley Johnson, head of brand narrative at Pentagram, who promises “a braver and more direct authenticity in the copy”.

The new logo only features modest tweaks to the pre-existing design – a humble illustration of a child who is smiling and crying at the same time, first created in 1987 and based on a patient’s drawing. This part of its design history has informed the wider identity, according to creative director Stuart Gough.

“We saw an opportunity to create a design system that leveraged the love and character of the original sketch. The concept throughout the identity is to embrace the energy of a child’s drawing; the charm and mistakes that this can bring – when harnessed carefully it can make a distinct and positive identity system that is recognisable through its entire personality, not just the logo.”

This includes a new suite of illustrations representing animal characters lifted from ward names at the hospital. These, along with other elements of the branding, come to life in motion as a way of standing out on digital and “enhancing emotional connections and storytelling capabilities”, says JKR’s Tom Gould, who led the motion design.

The new visual and verbal identities are launching in the charity’s first brand campaign, which has been conceived by its in-house team in partnership with Stuart Gough and Pentagram.

Red double decker bus showing an advert along the side for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity that reads 'until no childhood is lost to serious illness'

Creative Director (Brand Identity): Stuart Gough
Designers: Richard Clarke, James Wright
Agency (Brand Narrative): Pentagram
Head of Brand Narrative: Ashley Johnson
Writer: Ruth Jamieson
Agency (Brand Motion): JKR
Creative Director, Motion: Tom Gould
Motion Designers: Chris Frost, Ella Marie
Photography: Liz Seabrook
Illustration: David Vallade 
Agency (Research): Supernova
Strategy: Impero