July08 illustration of the month: United Way t-shirt

Last year, Jaimie and I were called upon to design the t-shirt for United Way’s annual Day of Caring. They were so pleased with the results, we were pretty sure we’d get a call this year. And we did.

Here were the instructions we received:
on the front they want Live United in black and white.

on the back the theme is 24/7 "United Way is there everyday" 2 or 3 colors.

Last year, there were three colors on the front and back. The United Way logo is actually four colors (red, yellow, two blues), but they just used one blue.

Here is what I submitted first:

Upon seeing this, they responded that no, Live United is the only thing that goes on the front. And it's a no-go to single out any parts of the logo. And oh yeah, we gotta change that 24/7 thing.

United Way (the parent organization, not just the local chapter) has restrictions about their logo. You cannot use just the circle; you have to use the whole thing. Now, I personally think it’s okay to steal the little man shape. I mean, it’s a circle over a Y. It’s an element. But I also respect that the local peeps don’t want to upset the big peeps.

Jaimie apologized that I had spent time creating this cool thing that won’t get used, but I assured her I am used to it.

I also understand how it goes when you see something for the first time, you have a gut reaction that you don’t get from just talking about it. They had discussed the 24-7 thing and it sounded great. And then they saw it in big bold numbers and realized “this makes it sound like we’re open 24-7.” It sure does; that’s what Jaimie and I thought they meant to imply.

I headed back to the drawing board by visiting the United Way website. I see that LIVE UNITED in all caps Helvetica is part of the campaign. A-ha, so I’m trying to localize a national campaign. Gotcha.

Meanwhile, the UW folks envision a new idea for the back of the shirt. They want a clock that has words instead of numbers. Working around the clock for you, yes. Open 24/7, no. I’m there.

Here was my “sell” for the second design:
On the back, I used the same font on the clock. The words GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER. in the boxes comes from the same look on the website. I used the red and gold from the United Way’s logo but black instead of blue because you’re already paying for black ink on the front of the shirt and to use blue would mean paying for another color. Plus, the black has a lot of pop.

They loved the clock but shot down the black and used blue instead. Eh, you can’t win ‘em all.