Coming full circle – a new brand for Open Door

Kindlemix Communications recently helped Birmingham-based counselling charity, Open Door, to refresh its brand. Originally set up in 1967 to support young people in the city, the charity was celebrating its 50th anniversary, and felt it was time to review their name, their visual identity and their marketing materials. Our Director Caitlin Milne, explains why this project was particularly close to her heart…

Strength, resilience, potential

These three words jumped out when we were going through the process of thinking about what values were embedded in Open Door’s brand. It felt like the organisation lived these values every day, both in how they supported young people and in the strength and resilience staff had always shown in their determination to help Open Door and the people they supported to fulfil their potential.

Just under 20 years ago I was a fresh-faced undergraduate at the University of Birmingham, doing what students do, getting drunk a lot and pulling all-nighters to get my essays in on time (I’m a little more organised now, but still do some of my best work in the middle of the night, there’s nothing like a deadline focus the mind). Little did I know that accepting a part time admin job at Open Door Youth Counselling Service would have a really strong influence on my career.

Open Door was a little terrier of a charity, determined to provide a sanctuary for young people in distress despite the odds. Volunteers provided counselling services and a helpline, and a tiny team of paid staff, struggled to find the money to pay the rent from month to month. The organisation’s funding had just been pulled by the local authority and the future was uncertain to say the least.

I ended up working there for more than two years. The organisation didn’t fold. Led by their inspirational Chief Executive Carmel Mullan-Hartley, it managed to get a lottery grant to set up counselling services in schools, and now, nearly 20 years later, it’s providing services in schools across the city, and is funded by local NHS bodies to provide counselling services to young people via GP referral. It has also just started providing affordable counselling for adults, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access support.

Change is possible

Working with our designer Kate, we presented a suite of concepts for their new look.

picture of Open Door's stationery

Open Door Counselling’s new stationery

One shouted loudly to all of us right from the start. To me it felt fresh and bold, but also familiar.

Carmel and her team felt the same, but to her it was more obvious why it felt right. Without realising it we’d managed to return Open Door to its original branding.

Open Door’s original branding from when they first opened in 1967

This was completely accidental, but felt completely appropriate.

Despite all the change and ups and downs Open Door had experienced over the years, the organisation had always remained true to the values on which it was founded. It felt like a reincarnation, taking the organisation back to its roots, but clearly moving it forward at the same time.

 

 

Coming full circle

On 28 October I attended Open Door’s ‘Living with mental health’ conference, where they launched their new brand.

It was a packed day of lectures, performance, comedy and some very moving and poignant accounts from young people of their own journeys through mental health. One young man spoke about how the relationship of trust he’d been able to build with his counsellor had helped him feel hopeful, and find a way to stop self-harming. Another spoke so bravely about the death of his brother by suicide, and how counselling had helped him grieve and come to terms with his brother’s depression. He felt if a similar support had been offered to his brother things would have been very different.

So it may be a small charity, but it’s doing powerful work. Being back involved has been like coming full circle for me too, and has reminded me of all the people, encounters and experiences I had during my time working at Open Door which made me want to work with the third sector in the first place. Twenty years on I’m so glad I’m still able to support organisations that are making a difference every day.

So thank you Open Door, and happy birthday.

Picture of Open Door's new website open on an ipad

Open Door’s new website

Open Door's style guide document

Open Door’s style guide

row of three banner stands

We designed new event stands for Open Door

picture of a leaflet

Open Door’s new marketing materials

Kindlemix Communications helped Open Door develop a new look and tighten up their tone of voice and the way they describe their services. We delivered a logo set, stationery and style guide, a new website, and new marketing materials, including leaflets, event stands, branded tote bags and pens.

Take a look at some of our other design and branding projects.

A day among the bluebells: how nature nurtures creativity

We are so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world. A quick lunchtime walk locally is a way to recharge the batteries, keep work stresses in perspective, and take time for the important thinking and digesting stage of writing.

In the early stages of a big writing project it can feel you are surrounded by so many words, so much information, it’s hard to know where to start. But quietly at the back of your mind, cogs are whirring.

Sometimes a good night’s sleep will do it. Sometimes popping out for a coffee.

But there’s nothing quite like a bit of fresh air, sunshine, and nature to really open up the creative part of your brain and let the ideas take shape.

spring flowers

Spring flowers in the Brecon Beacons

bluebells in the lane

Spring flowers in the Brecon Beacons

spring flowers

Spring flowers in the Brecon Beacons

Together we can make sparks fly

Announcing our range of affordable, mobile-ready websites for small businesses… with added sparkle.

Kindlemix Communications has recently launched a new sister site, Spark Sites, promoting our range of web packages aimed at small businesses and start ups. This is in addition to the online work we already do through Kindlemix, where we work with a range of bigger clients across the UK.

New customers who book a Spark Sites web package before Christmas 2016 can benefit from a massive 25% discount.

Spark Site’s ethos is simple: we want to help small businesses flourish by providing affordable, mobile-ready websites that are beautifully designed, with sparkling copy.

We build sites in Squarespace and WordPress (using professionally designed templates and themes) and use our wealth of experience and knowledge to help refine and develop your content.

Spark Sites is the brainchild of Kindlemix’s Creative Director, Anne Tregoning. ‘I just really wanted to develop a simple offering that was affordable for small businesses, but meant they would still be able to benefit from our knowledge and expertise,’ she says. ‘Using Squarespace templates as a starting point saves a lot of time meaning we can put together sites quickly for businesses and add value in the copy, imagery and SEO.’

Spark Sites has already produced new sites for local businesses in mid-Wales, including Brecon Milk, Data Orchard and the Hours Cafe and Bookshop. Watch out for several more currently in the pipeline.

Visit www.spark-sites.co.uk to find out more about the web packages and see examples of sites we’ve done so far.

Showcasing our latest website design, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, as seen in The Times, Guardian and more…

Take a look at our latest website design, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping. We think it really showcases what luxury holiday accommodation is all about, and The Times, Guardian and Manor Magazine seem to agree (to name a few). So far, since it opened in April 2015, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping has been chosen by Ideal Home magazine as one of five ‘extraordinary places to sleep this Summer’ and has been picked by The Times as one of Britain’s ‘Top 20 best wild places to stay’.

Visit the Brownscombe news page to see more of the fantastic reviews and write-ups Brownscombe has had since the website launched and take a look at the rest of the site to see what makes our work stand out from
the crowd.

If you’d like a new website or simply want to update an existing site just drop us a line or give us a call. We’re a friendly team with connections in all the right places and we’re always happy to have a chat. Also, why not have a look at some of the other work we’ve done for small businesses and start ups like Brownscombe Luxury Glamping.

All moved in to our shiny new office in Brecon

Still a bit of unpacking to do, but we’ve finally moved into our lovely new office in the centre of Brecon.

Our new address: Steeple House, Steeple Lane, Brecon LD3 7DJ.

We’re very happy with our new home, and hope it will make it easier for local customers to pop in and see us. We usually have coffee on the go, and probably a few biscuits. If you’re passing, do come and say hello.

Please note our main number has also changed: 01874 611 166.

 

Published: 7 March 2016