An echo of Hope

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An estimated 230,000 children under 15 are living with HIV in South Africa. Yet only about 50% of children are currently on ARV treatment.

One of the most important things that you can give to these children is hope, and that’s exactly what the team at REX set out to do when they created a new name and brand identity for the Wits Paediatric HIV Clinics – currently the biggest and one of the best children’s HIV treatment and care centre groups worldwide.

At the time, the clinics were operating under three names simultaneously – the Wits Paediatric HIV Clinics, ECHO and Asiphilisane.

REX was tasked with creating a cohesive brand that would not only create strong awareness in the communities in which the clinics worked, but also one that could compete for funding against the likes of Unicef, 46664 and RED.

The first order of business was to choose one name to represent the organization across all its activities. “ECHO, which stands for Enhancing Children’s HIV Outcomes, was the logical choice. Not only is it a strong and simple name, but more importantly it represents hope and promise, the kind of tangible quality upon which a new brand could be built,” says REX co-founder Rudo Botha.

Designing the brand imagery was not so simple. “We wanted to retain the link with HIV through the symbolic red ribbon, but that we also firmly believed that this particular symbol was frightening and intimidating for children,” says REX co-founder Olivier Schildt.

The solution was to take the original ribbon and imbue it with hope and love, and so inject life and optimism into what has become a very negative symbol. The result is a child-like rendition of the HIV red ribbon, transformed via the addition of one more loop into a heart, and then repeated again and again, in a visual representation of the word ‘echo’.

“This was one of the most uplifting projects in which we’ve been involved,” concludes Botha. “When last did we get to design a logo that has the opportunity to fundamentally change lives?”

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