The Charlie Waller Trust has a very personal story at its heart.
Over the past 20 years, the Trust has grown to become one of the UK’s leading mental health charities. It’s provided practical guidance, training and resources not only to young people experiencing challenging times – but also supported parents, carers, educators and employers.
As the charity grew and developed, so did the need for its brand identity to evolve. With a clear vision of a world where people can talk openly about mental health, the charity embarked on an ambitious digital transformation project alongside Digital Wonderlab (formerly OJO Solutions) and Rednine: one that would take the long-established and well-regarded brand on a journey, enabling Charlie’s story to reach and positively impact new and existing audiences.
Our creative objective was clear: to build a strong and memorable brand identity that would sit comfortably and distinctively within the UK’s vibrant mental health charity arena.
We realised, from the outset, how important it was for Charlie to be at the centre of our work – both the special person that he was and as the voice of the charity’s valuable work. To honour and celebrate Charlie’s life, we interviewed his parents and close family members, as well as students, trainers and trustees, getting as close to Charlie and the Trust’s activities as possible.
Normally conducted face-to-face, the unexpected Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ restrictions meant that all conversations had to happen virtually. Yet the nature of the unprecedented situation and its widespread impact on the world’s wellbeing actually aided the creative process; it underscored why a clear and nurturing access point to professional mental health support is needed now more than ever before.
Embarking on a truly collaborative creative process, we took all stakeholders sensitively through the brand’s evolution – never losing sight of Charlie throughout this journey.
We explored, together, the need for the brand to relate directly with new and existing audiences, to be remembered in the right way, and for the story to be retold to others in need of support. And we always asked: does this honour Charlie and celebrate his life?
The new Charlie Waller brand identity builds on Charlie’s legacy and looks towards a future where everyone has the opportunity to be seen and be heard.
The distinctive creative device of two speech bubbles make Charlie Waller’s mission clear: creating opportunities to talk and listen to one another. The intentional use of a vibrant colour palette alongside inviting typography aims to make the charity more relatable and accessible to a young and diverse audience, while respecting the brand’s highly personal roots.
The revitalised Charlie Waller brand identity both acknowledges the past and looks positively towards the future.
Now brought to life across the charity’s website, social media channels and training guides and resources, the new Charlie Waller brand identity is also proudly emblazoned across training vests and t-shirts. It’s being embraced, enjoyed and owned by numerous supporters, all embarking on fundraising missions to help the Trust continue its vital work.
We were honoured to have the opportunity to explore and capture the essence of Charlie Waller. It was our privilege to creatively translate this into a contemporary and inviting brand identity with impact, relevance and the ability to touch thousands of young lives – providing the confidence to open up and have a conversation about mental health.