When the Missoula AIDS Council, a Missoula-based nonprofit organization began in 1985 its goal was to prevent the transmission of HIV while advocating for and supporting individuals living with HIV/ AIDS. At the time, the disease represented a death sentence, and people were afraid of its seemingly mysterious appearance and drastic transmission rate.

More than two decades later, the landscape surrounding the disease had changed significantly. Advances in treatment meant those afflicted could live longer, healthier lives. Public education about the disease helped curb the initial panic. It was time that the organization’s name, mission statement, and graphic identity reflect an updated approach.
Firebrand was enlisted to guide Missoula AIDS Council through a complete rebrand. We began with the name of the organization. Missoula AIDS Council was a very stark and clinical name with a clinical mission. In addition, our research showed the word “AIDS” generated a negative reaction from the community. The organization needed to be re-established as a positive source of non-judgmental care, compassion, and information.

We collaborated with key personnel and the board of directors, leading them through several identity exercises to narrow the focus on the most appropriate keywords. “Open Aid Alliance” was the result of that work. As part of the identity and naming process, the group listed
characteristics of the organization. Dozens of terms were refined into the organization’s tagline: Open Arms, Open Minds, Open Support.

We then turned our attention to helping craft a mission statement that reflected the new direction and focus for the organization. The final mission statement reads: Open Aid Alliance strives to be the preferred and trusted resource for all people including those hard to reach and traditionally underserved populations. We are dedicated to empowering people living with HIV, Hepatitis C and other health disparities and preventing new infections through testing, education and outreach. We acknowledge the connection between these health issues and related social concerns and the need for an integrated and compassionate response.

With the name, tagline, and mission statement in place, we worked toward developing a logo that graphically represented the new, warm tone set by Open Aid Alliance. We also wanted to incorporate one of the more positive and recognizable aspects of the original Missoula AIDS Council logo, the red ribbon. We chose the orange, red, and yellow color scheme on a black, white, and gray backdrop to maintain an appropriate sense of urgency but with a softer, more approachable feel. The logo and color palette visually represent the transition from a panic-driven and essentially negative mindset surrounding AIDS to a more supportive and empathetic atmosphere.

On World AIDS Day, December 2011, the Open Aid Alliance debuted to an eager crowd of supporters paying tribute to their roots and unveiling their future. We were proud to be part of such a meaningful project, and we continue to work with Open Aid Alliance to produce
consistently branded materials aimed at recruiting volunteers, generating donations, and encouraging regular testing.

Open Aid Alliance is an excellent example of our ability to develop and implement a rebranding campaign. We were able to accomplish the client’s goals and objectives in a creative and innovate way. And provide them with an economical way to mold an existing brand to fit into a
changing community.

All Work