This is the New York Times. Strong. Bold. Recognizable.
This is the Neediest Cases Identity. Not Strong. Not bold. Not at all recognizable. Below is the story of The New York Times Charity that inspired the mark. Take a second. Read it:
Here is the mark again. Does it remind you of something? Something other than what it represents?
Are we getting there? You know it reminds you of something.... some... thing...
Slightly religious in gesture, a bit sugar cubey in form, this is the "handle with care" icon most often seen on the side of cardboard boxes that house the homeless.
This is the main area where the identity lives, online. It takes on a life of its own doesn't it? Really stands out, right? To me, it says a few things: 1) Chinatown massage "parlor" 2) U.S. Hand Clapper's Assoc 3) packing material safety instruction graphics 4) pillow fluffers society logo 5) director's guild forum
6) anything but nothing to do with caring or giving.
Before I show you my new solution (designed au gratis) I want to show you the assets I have designed for the New York Times which are in current use both in the paper and online. More often than not, the linear style that I often work in is chosen to represent a good deal of content, mostly local things, like "City Room" (typewriter) or "City Critic" (thumby hands). What I find compelling about Ochs story is that it is personal. Much more personal than the "handle with care" box graphics used to flag the charity.
Here is my solution. It had to be simple or it wouldn't read. I chose Gotham Condensed designed by the brilliant Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones.
Here are some sketches I did before deciding what was right. The hands come off as trite, and ethnicity-charged whereas the two people interchanging something is a better representation of Ochs's story.
There you have it, New York Times. You didn't ask for it but you needed it. So take it and go make some money for Neediest Cases.
In other "donated" news, I'll soon post about an exciting redesign venture with Timesman Steven Heller (via desigNYC) for the Bronx River Alliance. Pictured here: yours truly, Devona Sharpe (client), Maggie Greenfield (client), Tom Vasquez (co-designer) and Heller.
If you have a worthy cause or need something "handled with care" give me shout. I promise not to toss you into a douchebag container.