In today’s media-savvy interconnected society, branding plays a significant role in any organisation, and ours is no different. Perhaps, it plays a more vital role in an organisation like our organisation in what we wish to do, to be. Here are the thoughts of Sulaiman – our Founder and Chief Purpose Officer – about our branding and the theory behind it:
“We are now surrounded by branding in everyday life, whether you like it or not. From a company advertising its brand to sell a product or you using your personal brand to show your best self at an interview, branding has a significant part in our lives. Branding can be positive or negative. For example, the rise of Daesh (though I wholeheartedly condemn their actions and completely reject their ideology), whether you agree or not, has seen their excellent use of branding. It is up to us to create positive branding that does better as brands.
This responsibility is why I wanted the branding of ThisAbility to do better (read more about us here) through our brand and our ethos of positivity, creativity, sustainability, diversity, collaboration, playfulness and humour.
As a graduate of BA (Honours) Advertising & Brand Communication (2012) from the University for the Creative Arts (Farnham, Surrey, UK), I understand the crucial role of branding and lucidly connecting with an audience.
So, I wanted our branding to be vastly different from what I’d seen before, and I decided to start with the logo. For ThisAbility, the logo is an essential part of our brand. My inspiration for the logo was one of the most fantastic books I have ever read (that I finished in October 2016), ‘HOMEGOING’ by Yaa Gyasi. It is an epically intimate debut novel about the slave trade from the Ghanaian perspective that tells the story of two half-sisters, one whose descendants remain in Ghana and the other whose descendants became slaves in America spanning over 300-years in an enthralling way that I’ve never read before. It has been absorbing into my mind ever since. As the central part of the logo, I chose to use a Ghanaian symbol because I wanted to highlight that creativity isn’t just a Western notion and diversity in the creative industries (including from Africa) is a good thing, as well as a symbol of my ambition to build up ThisAbility to be a global network, particularly to Africa. I wanted to bring out the ‘inclusive and global’ theme of ThisAbility; essentially that we’re ‘a tribe of creative disabled talent.’ I wanted our organisation to be more like a club or family, which I wished to portray through the logo. I started by extensively researching African symbols, and I chose this: