Habitat for Humanity Comes Up With New Logo to Symbolize Mission

Habitat for Humanity, which has reached three milestones—its 200,000th house worldwide, its millionth person housed and its 30th anniversary— in recent years, has come up with a new logo to secure and promote a consistent image around the world.

“As an organization, Habitat for Humanity is tremendously blessed by a clear mission, dedicated partners and a well-established name,” said Chris Clarke, Habitat’s senior vice president of Communications. “A consistent, common identifier will only enhance our brand, which already helps ‘pave the way’ as we communicate who we are and what we do.”

The old logo, which Habitat had for a long time, is two people with raised arms sheltering a house. This logo was too similar to other marks to have it be registered and protected. But the new blue and green logo, which has three people with raised and interlocked arms under a sheltering roof, allows for protective registration. The new logo will establish a unified look among all Habitat for Humanity affiliates, regardless of size, location or length of affiliation.

One thing won’t change, though, Clarke stresses, “the mission. Building simple, decent houses in partnership with families desperately in need remains our No. 1 commitment. Now is just the time to establish the same continuity in the name and look as there is in our purpose.”

“The new logo symbolizes volunteerism and the community spirit of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Paul Leonard, Habitat’s chief executive officer. “In it, three human forms stand united in purpose, their arms lifted to act on the world’s need for decent housing, not hanging idle as if the work were complete. The rounded edges suggest a search for harmony, the universality of family and gentleness of spirit that springs from the hearts of Habitat partners.

“The roofline represents shelter, to be sure, but also symbolizes the Habitat mission, under which people of all races, ages and religious beliefs come together for the common good. Habitat’s name is prominently featured in the logo, and the three forms united together as one also represents the Trinity and Habitat’s Christian foundation.”

Habitat’s international design team took in suggestions from Habitat affiliates and national offices around the world and suggestions from others to come up with the new logo. They really focused on coming up with a mark that would transcend different cultures and convey Habitat’s missions, goals and values.

The logo will establish a single mark for the organization, one that will take advantage of Habitat’s almost $2-billion brand value, as established by Interbrand, an organization that analyzes brand value. The group discovered that 90 percent of Americans were familiar with the name Habitat for Humanity, but only around 10 percent were familiar with the old logo.

“Throughout Habitat’s 29-year history, affiliates have used a variety of different logos to represent their work in a community,” said Clarke. “As a result, there wasn’t a single strong brand identity that Habitat could attach to its name. This gives us a universal identifier that people know as Habitat from Humanity, whether they are in Guam or Guatemala, America or Armenia.”

This worldwide identifier is especially important now as Habitat gets ready to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2006, and to dedicate, in August, its 200,000th house in Knoxville, Tenn., and some 24 minutes later, its 200,001st house on the other side of the world in Galle, Sri Lanka, which was struck hard by the tsunami. The house in Tennessee will shelter Habitat’s millionth person.

“The adoption of the new logo is an important decision, not just whimsy,” said Leonard. “It is a first step in becoming a stronger, more unified and collaborative organization – one that is readily identified by our many supporters and one that promotes the work of local organizations that have a worldwide impact.

“For the first time, this gives us a legally registered and protected trademark to promote the name and the mission of Habitat for Humanity.”