A “graphical lifeline” running the length of the new identity is designed to provide peace of mind for those seeking to access the service.
Baxter & Bailey has collaborated with children’s charity NSPCC on a visual identity redesign for the NSPCC helpline that features custom artwork and a “graphical lifeline” to raise awareness of the service and “assure people They’re making the right decision.”
The NSPCC Helpline is where adults can report concerns about a child’s safety or well-being, not to be confused with Childline, which is for children to access. According to Baxter & Bailey designer Lydia Fisher, there isn’t the same “awareness” that exists for Childline.
Another problem was people’s “hesitation or reluctance to access the service in case they were wrong about their concerns,” says Fisher. By repositioning the helpline to have a “really reassuring tone,” Baxter & Bailey sought to encourage people to report concerns and feel “more comfortable” doing so, she adds.
A crucial thread running through the visual identity is the “graphic lifeline,” which represents “a constant and ever-present source of help and support,” says Fisher. She adds that Baxter & Bailey hired illustrator Jonathan Calugi for his “flexible style” that was applied to both “simple and graphic” renderings and “more complex scenes”.
The “hand-drawn line texture” of the illustrations resonates with the broader NSPCC brand and is meant to “highlight different touch points” such as the helpline phone, chat and form, says Fisher. Research at the definition stage found that “people thought it was just a call center,” explains Fisher, so the new visual identity attempts to highlight its “less intimidating methods” of contact.
According to Fisher, the research stage involved talking to “the general public about their knowledge and understanding of [the helpline]”, learning about call handlers and their experiences and speaking with the “social work professionals who refer people to the helpline”.
Part of the studio’s “development work” included bringing the lifeline idea to the wordmark to drive it “along the core of the identity,” says Fisher. The NSPCC Helpline previously did not have any typeface markings and the name only appeared in a compound version of the NSPPC Bold typeface.
Fisher adds that the service has always been referred to as the “Helpline”, skipping the NSPCC at the beginning. The new wordmark, featuring its full title and a representation of the lifeline below, has been designed to raise awareness of the service and its role.
Studio co-founder and creative director Matt Baxter says the team had to work “creatively and flexibly within existing brand guidelines” as the service is part of the wider NSPCC charity. Fisher says that working within the constraints of the existing brand framework is a “fun challenge to solve” as he had to “think hard about the right solution”.
“Having the weight of the NSPCC name was a blessing,” says Fisher, adding that the studio used the charity’s recognizable green color to its advantage by developing the “easy-to-spot cohesive visual identity.”
To differentiate the NSPCC helpline from the broader brand, Baxter & Bailey applied the supporting color palette “in a slightly different way than the master brand”, opting for a more isolated “balance and distribution” rather than full-bleed pastel colors, explains Fisher. .
Baxter says the old identity consisted of “just a phone number, email address, and online chat with no visual and verbal framework in place to promote it.” The new visual identity, in particular the copy and messaging, were “tested across different audiences” to ensure that “the headline’s tone of voice would promote and market the helpline in the right way,” adds Baxter.
NSPCC’s new helpline visual identity will initially launch digitally, followed by a broader rollout across physical assets.