Today we want to expand the notion of what needs branding.
Here at GDLOFT, we do it all. We brand entire organizations (like Impact Services and Philadelphia Photo Arts Center to name a few). However, while most organizations realize they need branding, not everybody realizes that grant-funded projects do too!
What is branding as it relates to grant-funded projects?
Branding doesn’t just mean a logo, although it often includes one. It is the visual identity, look and feel, colors and imagery that define an initiative and its outward-facing presence.
The whole reason you’re applying for a grant is because your organization is passionate about bringing something to life, right? Branding will help magnify this!
Here are 6 reasons to brand grant-funded projects:
1. Branding makes complex projects easier to talk about. Grant-funded projects are often complex. Branding ties everything together cohesively, making it easier to talk about with your constituents. For example: Mural Arts hosted renowned German artist, Katharina Grosse who came to paint a series of murals, entitled Psychylustro, around the city. The tricky part? We couldn’t show pictures because they didn’t exist yet. How could we create intrigue, curiosity and engagement for advertisements—and make the project easy to talk about? Like this.
2. Foundations like documentation. Grant funders often want something to document the initiative and show donors what their money has supported. A polished look matters. For example: Swarthmore College brought together book artists and members of Philadelphia’s Iraqi and Syrian refugee communities to create artists’ books that amplify personal narratives of displacement, immigration, and sanctuary. We created the Friends, Peace & Sanctuary Book so the participants and funders could have something tangible which provided a window into this two year project.
3. The grantor wants you to have a public face—and to succeed! Foundations care how you are marketing to the public—because they want you to have engagement. They want their grant to help your organization grow, and they know that branding will support this! For example: The University of Pennsylvania facilitated a Whitman At 200 Event. It spanned two states, over two years, and had lots of contributors and partners. How could we create a unified front for all of these organizations to promote the event and get maximum exposure? Like this.
4. Branding will get you on people’s radar. Branding can expand your audience base and grow your membership. Since your initiative will richen society in some way, a stronger presence is a major plus. For example: Choral Arts Philadelphiaworked with us at their funding-foundation’s recommendation. The goal was to elevate their design and branding for A Season in the Life of Bach Program so that people would attend. We gave it an identity, and even intertwined the Fibonacci Sequence.
5. Branding can make you a repeat benefactor. Some organizations who really understand the importance of branding have done multiple projects, year after year, with the same foundation. Coincidence? We think not. For example: PPAC has done a series of grant-funded projects in which they engage us to help them prioritize a visually-interesting look for their initiatives, such as Philly Block Project.
6. Great branding will reflect on you—and on them! Branding makes everyone involved with the project look good. For example: Here’s another situation where we helped PPAC show off their project while highlighting their partners and funders: Philly Photo Day Exhibition.
Here’s our most important takeaway: Showing you’ve considered branding may help your project be more appealing to the foundation! When you show the foundation you’ve considered the design (how you will share the project with the world) from the beginning, it may help your project get noticed. Accordingly, we recommend including design as part of your proposal!
How can we help?
At GDLOFT, we can help you create a visual identity that aligns with your initiative and audience. It will also bring attention to your organization and the funding foundation!
We love the complexity of grant-funded projects.
We love wrapping our heads around grant-funded projects. We’ll read the proposal, do the detective work, and dive in deep. While you focus on the proposal and executing your initiative, we’ll make sure your branding helps you share the excitement.
Writing a grant? Talk to us! Our consultation is complimentary.
We’ll give you our design perspective. We’ll recommend inclusion of branding elements that we strongly believe will increase your chances of getting the grant (and bringing your initiative to life)! Let’s talk.