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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

REACHing Out to Help Others

By Guest Blogger Mike Steele, Creative Director, vitalink

Over the past several years, I have done pro-bono creative and graphics work for a number of worthy causes. From a personal perspective, I truly enjoy volunteering with substance abuse programs—especially those that help teens. My most recent project was the design of a new logo for the REACH program in Cabell County, West Virginia. REACH is designed to give those in need of substance abuse treatment one place to go to start. The program is new and is expected to streamline the assistance process.

When I began to work on the design concept, I took into account my own personal experience. The main concept of the logo is to present an outstretched hand—a person reaching for help. The letters REACH as an arm with a handprint/heart at the end convey that help is available and there are those who care. I created both color and black and white options, some of which are shown here.

As a recovering alcoholic, I go back a couple years ago to the time when I hit ‘rock bottom’ and had to ask for help. Admitting we need help is one of the most difficult things for an addict to do. I remember being paralyzed with fear, feeling completely and utterly alone, even when surrounded by people, and feeling like I was the only one on earth who had ever felt this way. I was very skeptical and cynical about recovery programs because I didn’t believe there was hope for me. I chose the tagline, “You Are Not Alone,” to accompany the REACH initials.

While the heart is a “soft” symbol, the overall feel of the logo is a little ‘rough around the edges’ and has more of a ‘street’ feel to it. I wanted to present an image that these individuals could relate to—one that is more real in their world than the “sunset in the distance” concept that sometimes is used. The truth is when you are designing a logo, it does not have to “work” for everyone—it just has to resonate with the target audience.

About the Author

Mike Steele is the Creative Director/Graphic Designer for vitalink and has been with the company almost since the beginning. Most of the logos, newsletter templates, and creative design work that are produced by vitalink for its clients are the result of Mike’s talent and efforts.

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