Creating a Unified Voice Through Design

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"Stanford PACS came to us with a really common problem: They started out small, and they grew organically,” says Michael Seitz, associate design director at 10 Thousand Design. “All their design needs had been solved in isolation, so they didn’t speak with one voice.”

What Stanford PACS needed was a flexible, cohesive identity system, and that’s why it came to 10 Thousand Design.

The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University connects researchers, donors and foundations to improve philanthropy and strengthen civil society. Put simply, it makes philanthropy work better for both the people who give and the people who need.

When we dug into their mission, we found an institution built on alchemy — a place where theory meets practice to make real-world change and where careful, rigorous thought drives enterprising action. Those insights launched our design process.

“We started with the idea of thinkers and doers coming together to create social change,” Seitz says. “The logo tells that story. Thinkers and doers come together at one center point, and they radiate outward to create social change.” Digital versions of the logo are gifs that capture subtle movement.

With the logo at its center, the new identity system 10 Thousand Design created for Stanford PACS successfully unites its many fellowships, research grants, conferences, publications and other programs while keeping the mission at the fore.

The radiating lines become bold, rounded diagonal stripes.

Subtle gradients signal movement and dynamism.

Floods of color make brochures, posters and other collateral pieces instantly recognizable as part of the Stanford PACS identity.

And the deep red in the color palette maintains a connection to its home institution, Stanford University, building on a century of trusted brand equity.

The design clearly signals Stanford PACS’ uniqueness while maintaining its deep Stanford roots and well-earned place among respected academic research centers. It’s practical. It’s fresh. It’s dynamic. And, like the work Stanford PACS itself does within the world of philanthropy, it’s a modern act of alchemy.