Building a Cohesive Nonprofit Brand


The National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, also known as NAUDL, is the national leader in the urban debate movement, preparing the next generation to lead and succeed. Through urban debate, students learn critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. They also discover their passion for learning and become empowered to succeed.

More than a decade ago, NAUDL executed a plan to expand the urban debate network and launched 10 new urban debate leagues.  Today, nearly 11,000 students debate in 22 leagues across the country.  NAUDL works to strengthen the network by providing funding, coaching curricula, educational resources, general management support  — with a strategic goal of reaching 20,000 debaters by 2023.


The Challenge

NAUDL wanted to modernize their logo in order to improve readability, scalability, and recognition. The previous logo didn’t offer any variations for different needs—and included both the acronym and full organization name as well as a multicolor image of a debate podium. This created many challenges with the readability and ability to scale the logo across various assets. 

Additionally, NAUDL had challenges seeking national recognition. Their logo was modified and adjusted for each city creating many brand inconsistencies.

The Strategy

We knew we need to NAUDL a full revamp of the brand. We started with analyzing their logo and brand messaging to determine the new identity of the brand. 

We kept their existing brand’s dark and light blue color palette, a logical choice for education organizations. We also kept their use of bold, sans-serif typography but revamped their typeface to feel more modern and more sophisticated. In terms of iconography, we replaced their podium imagery with two opposing quote bubbles — a slightly more abstract representation of the concept of debate.


From there we expanded to building new brand guidelines, a business stationery kit, digital asset kits, and events assets to be used for specific events throughout the year.