- Greg Elliott
New MoveOn Logo & Identity: A Truly Progressive Redesign
New MoveOn Logo by RedPeak
MoveOn is a public policy and advocacy organization that focuses on creating support and awareness for progressive causes and legislation. MoveOn has two main activities: MoveOn Civic Action, a nonprofit that focuses on education and advocacy; and MoveOn Political Action, a federal PAC that raises funds and supports political candidates of the Democratic party.
Founded in 1998 in response to the Clinton impeachment, MoveOn uses grassroots efforts and individual financial contributions to make a big impact for progressive causes and candidates. The new logo, designed by RedPeak, is a 20th anniversary redesign. RedPeak describes it this way:
“We built an iconic brand identity designed to engage today’s audiences—across platforms—with a visual system built to mobilize members to both stand up for and resist against today’s most pressing political issues. This brand positions MoveOn as the force fighting for the progressive values that unite everyday Americans."
Regardless of whether you believe that any "progressive values unite everyday Americans", I’m confident that no matter your political persuasion - liberal, conservative, or libertarian; young or old; male or female – we all can come together in agreement that the redesign of the MoveOn logo and visual identity was long overdue. For an organization that has national exposure during every election cycle, and has a voice in nearly every discussion on social issues, the old logo was agonizingly amateurish. If the initial choice of using ITC Eras as the word mark font wasn't enough to cause you to question if a designer was consulted at all, the added oblique and the small caps “ORG” must have certainly confirmed your suspicions. I know this is an organization that prides itself on low-cost grassroots participation, but it feels like a logo update should have been addressed long before the 20th anniversary. At some point, there had to be some young, go-getter graphic designer that said, "Ugh!"
MoveOn Logo Before & After
A Step In The Right (or Left) Direction
The new logo is crisp, clean, and bold...striking in its simplicity. By using protest/rally placard imagery, the word mark creates strong symbolism and connection to MoveOn's activities. The breaking up of the word, and the subtle allusion of overlapping letters reinforces the conceptual display of social activism and adds vitality to the logo. It makes for a slightly disjointed visual, but one that creates dimension without sacrificing readability.
The new visual identity also uses powerful coloration with clear meaning. RedPeak’s rationale is to create a simple system to highlight MoveOn’s positions that “stand up for or resist against today’s most pressing political issues”. While the colors are both bright and vibrant, the Support-Blue and Resist-Red seem to be obvious references to political party affiliation, and the Democratic/Liberal views of the organization (resist the red Republicans, and support the blue Democrats). There is no subtlety.
As much as I love the vivid colors, and the quick reference to the organizations position on political issues, it may be a bit redundant. Either you’re familiar with MoveOn or you’re not. If you are, then it’s no secret that they align themselves with more left-leaning (i.e. Democrat) ideology.
The one area of the logo that I think could be improved is the arrangement of the placard signs. First, it feels a bit too uniform in its straight horizontal positioning and parallel juxtaposition of each card. On one level, this disconnects it from actual protest signage. It would have been more realistic, and dynamic, if the logo would have been created similarly to the way RedPeak depicted the logo in signage (see image) - one with divergent angles that would emphasize the tension and motion often present in political activism. In contrast, the height of the third card is visually unsettling. The uniformity of the card sizes and shapes in the mark would suggest the step from card two to three would be the same as from one to two. However, the stepped height is slightly increased…yet not enough to be completely sure it is intentional. Why!?
One of the key elements in the visual branding is the use of typography set in blocks of color. That application is not particularly innovative, especially for many political non-profits, and it has even become commonplace in stock video and web templates that are used by and for all types of organizations. However, it does help create emphasis and perhaps even serves as a call to action. Where I see this treatment as most powerful is when it is partnered with a simple black and white photograph. The use of a b/w photo conveys a lack of hyperbole. It’s just the depiction of facts. It’s just journalism. It’s "not biased". The headline, and message become the prominent area of focus, and can tell the story or state the position (OK, enter perceived or real bias here).
The final component of the visual identity is the grouping of human silhouettes to form different icons representing MoveOn's core values. This treatment is not particularly unique. I think there are dozens of similar images on most stock photography sites. It also feels a bit forced, and frankly, I’m not sure what opportunities for additional iconography there are. It's definitely a departure from the simplicity of rest of the branding. MoveOn is using the illustrations to state their core values, and that’s probably as far as this visual application should go. Use them as an introduction (perhaps on a poster) to reinforce values, not call out specific issues.
With a redesign as desperately needed as this one, anything would have been an improvement. But the new logo and identity are a better than just a step forward. The simplicity, vibrancy, and visual system that allows consistent application across a wide variety of social issue activism and election cycles is a clear win for MoveOn.