26 March 2013

[logo] GLAAD's Contracting Name Means An Expanding Mission

2904.On a day when the Supreme Court considers pivotal matters such as whether humane treatment and regular civil rights obtain to those of who had the poor taste to be born other than heterosexual, I thought it would be germane, given my continuing interest in branding and logos, and marriage equality, to spotlight a particular change of branding - or perhaps, better said, an evolution.

The organization GLAAD - formed as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - operates on the principle that words matter. By telling the human stories of those gay and lesbian people - your friends, and neighbors, humans, and functioning as a monitor on the media perceptions of gays and lesbians, they make that mission real.

Over time, the mission has expanded. Not only gays and lesbians but also bi and transgendered people face weal because of the way they lead their private lives in ways that heterosexuals not only do not fear but also can not, in some cases, comprehend.

Who gets physically attacked for being heterosexual? Nobody we've ever known. I am honored to count several LGBT people amongst my friends, and it's a daily fact of life for them.

In a timely coincidence, GLAAD announced a subtle but important change and shift in its branding. In a move designed to show solidarity in its mission amongst the entire LGBT spectrum, it has simply reduced its name to 'GLAAD' to reflect that inclusiveness. That move was announced on the MSNBC program Melissa Harris-Perry just this last week:
"It is a natural progression that reflects the work GLAAD's staff is already leading," said Cruz. "We respect and honor the full name that the organization was founded with, but GLAAD's work has expanded beyond fighting defamation to changing the culture. Our commitment to marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and other LGBT issues is stronger than ever, and now our name reflects our work on transgender issues as well as our work with allies."
The logo itself is elegant in its simplicity:

The mission of amplifying a message is aptly rendered into a graphic message here, and needs no further commentary on that point except that the glaad word mark is just as aptly positioned as the agent of that amplification. The shaping of the expanding soundwaves is a clever visual bonus that unifies the graphic element and leads the eye well through the rest of the design.

The tagline is a succinct statement of its mission as well.

The reduction of an initialism- or acronym-based name to merely its unified form is hardly new. The game Dungeons and Dragons was created by a company named TSR; in its original form, Tactical Studies Rules, the company originally flourished and grew, but as its core products contracted to just the D&D brand and moved away from more generic miniatures-based military gaming, the company's name shrank too; during its heydey and on into its absorption into Wizards Of The Coast, TSR's name was just that; the three-lettered initialism.

GLAAD's name evolution is kind of an opposite thing, though, in that shedding the words actually signifies an expansion of the mission. And we're 'glaad' to see it.

(NB: This blog and its author support marriage equality. Did we have to say?)

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