PATH, a global public health NGO, was founded forty years ago on the conviction that people everywhere should benefit equally from health innovations. Now a robust organization 1600 employees strong with operations in 70 countries, PATH remains committed to solving some of the worlds most complex problems through innovation and technology, pioneering advances in vaccines, diagnostics, advocacy, policy, and much more.
In the Summer of 2017, PATH engaged Manual to overhaul their brand image. The challenge was myriad: to help better tell the story of a multimodal and diverse organization; to bring clarity and modernity to communications; to elevate their innovations; to better reflect the truly global nature of the organization; and finally, to provide a hard-working design systems toolkit that would allow designers around the world to manage brand assets. Ultimately, to reimagine what a nonprofit brand should be. While PATH was actively seeking a firm more attuned to working with the for-profit sector in an effort to elevate and differentiate themselves within the nonprofit landscape, we found the prospect of working with an NGO a welcome and refreshing opportunity.
While auditing PATH’s brand and the brand landscape of NGOs, we found that the brand as a whole had trouble functioning as a cohesive or concise system and was not doing justice to the innovative work the organization was doing. After almost a year of collaboration with PATH involving research and benchmarking, interviews, copywriting, test photo-shoots, company-wide presentations, designer workshops, and collaborative work-sessions with their interactive agency partner Instrument, we were pleased to arrive at an identity system that both simplifies and elevates the identity of the organization.
At the heart of the brand is an idiosyncratic logo. Unlike any other health organization in the world, PATH works on all pieces of the global public health puzzle, so we underscored PATH’s bold name with a string of abstract and geometric shapes that represent the diverse and innovative methods PATH employs to address global health challenges. The logo triggers connotations of networks, partnerships, and initiatives working together for a common goal.
The line of abstract symbols in the logo becomes the design system for all PATH communications across print and digital. Zooming in and framing photos within this system helps unify the varying library of photography, and connects people, initiatives, and geographies together in a way that brings the whole organization under one umbrella. As you read, click, and scroll, you start to see the true DNA of PATH. We created detailed design guidelines and templates to allow for PATH employees worldwide to create communications using one simple system—from Powerpoint templates and printed reports, to web and social media content.
Through photography art direction, we helped set the bar for visual storytelling and elevated the devices, drugs, and innovations that PATH has developed.
PATH’s rebrand is a significant departure from the traditional NGO roadmap and redefines what an NGO can be in a visual sense. In addition to differentiating the organization from peers and competitors, the new identity and website helps clearly tell the organization’s story, and unifies a sprawling network of talented, passionate, and hard working experts. By illuminating PATH and the interconnected stories of the work they are doing and the public health initiatives they are advancing, the new brand will help more efficiently deploy resources, develop partnerships, and ultimately improve health worldwide.
Website, messaging, photo guidelines, and launch planning by Instrument