Union Settlement

Rebranding East Harlem’s Venerated Settlement House from a What to Why Organization

Brand Positioning, Messaging Strategy, Stakeholder Interviews and Management, Logo and Identity Design

Since 1895, Union Settlement Association has supported underserved residents of East Harlem throughout 8 communities. In the face of government budget cuts which upended its funding, Union Settlement needed a refocused brand order to drive visibility, philanthropy efforts, and effectiveness. Ideon’s fresh branding transformed Union Settlement and helped reposition the organization as a strong and inspiring force in the East Harlem community.

Ideon shortened the brand name from Union Settlement Association (USA) to Union Settlement (US) to reflect progress achieved in East Harlem. The shortened name reflects the bold brand story of US an urban advocate for its community rather than the previously outdated and out of touch brand story based in poverty and charity and an internal facing What organization.

Similarly, the new brand strategy and positioning, which focused on empowering US and the East Harlem community rather than the internal structure and focus of the organization, vaulted US’s reputation as a robust, strong and challenger East Harlem institution.

“Bright, warm colors define a transformational brand design – turning a once confusing and outdated organization into the go to partner for East Harlem residents.”

The entire brand identity was redesigned within a bright, creative color scheme. Inspired by themes of hope, empowerment, and the optimistic symbol of a sunflower, the new color pallet draws from cheerful orange-yellow morning glory hues. The new tagline, “Empowering East Harlem since 1895”, further establishes US as a positive and galvanizing Why institution which all community members will want to partner with, including Upper East Side benefactors, and powerful new board members from venerable Wall Street institutions.

“Ideon worked successfully with our board members, program leaders and senior management. They brought great listening, creative and facilitation skills to the project. Through learning our unique character, strengths and strategic goals, Ideon educated us on building our brand.”

The clean brand design was implemented across new business cards, stationery, a service brochure series, email templates, website, and annual report. The new logo, which showcases the shortened name with crisp lettering in orange hues, was implemented on all print and digital assets. To ensure the community could easily engage with and understand the new brand story, Ideon’s brand architecture simplified US’s services portfolio around three core areas—education, wellness, and community-building—versus multiple disparate programs. 

The new brand platform of empowerment fosters US’s bold actions for the Harlem community. A new outdoor signage brought the organization live in East Harlem, transforming the venerable institution into a tangible, comprehensive and human services provider for the community.

“Everyone enjoyed working with Ideon even when there were differences of opinion; their skill in taping creativity and insight was wonderful. We are thrilled to be implementing Ideon’s recommendation and design as we launch the new brand across our agency and reach out to new audiences.”

Ideon helped US pack its board with Citibank and other financial services leaders’ employees in order to solidify the new brand with a diverse set of strategic minds. We also trained US to educate and give life to the entire community, not just to its leadership and board. The new board and communications program have transformed US’ venerable history into a beloved and welcoming community institution with growing financial independence from government funding.

Ideon is honored to have transformed Union Settlement from a quiet voice amongst a myriad of nonprofits into the go-to community partner for 26,000 underserved residents of East Harlem. 

New Logo

Union Settlement logo against brick background

Annual Report

Union Settlement Annual Report images

Brochures

Union Settlement brochures

Image Style

Union Settlement clients

Signage

Union Settlement signage

Stationery

Union Settlement Stationery

Website

Union Settlement Website

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“ Andrea Katz and her team learned our unique character, strengths and strategic goals and educated us on building our brand. Everyone enjoyed working with Ideon even when there were differences of opinion; their skill in taping creativity and insight was wonderful. ”
Sara Stuart, former Director of Development and Communication