Turning 30 is often a milestone in an individual’s life—the big three-O. In the positive youth development space, 30 is sometimes regarded as the transition point where a person is no longer considered young. The same might also be said of organizations.

So, in 2019—with IYF’s 30th anniversary fast-approaching—our communications team started a top to bottom brand refresh process to ensure that after three decades the IYF brand still reflects the vibrant spirit and purpose of the work we do and the young people we serve. Of course, the onset of the pandemic slowed the process and paused any plans to celebrate, but now, just over a year later, we are proud to share the fruits of our labor.

We love our new logo, its simplicity and boldness, but most of all we love what it represents.

As part of the process, we relished the opportunity to reimagine the most recognizable element of our visual identity—our logo. Our old logo had been in play almost since IYF’s founding, and while it served us faithfully, it no longer represented who we are or where we are going. We explored multiple concepts for a new logo, each iteration emphasizing a different facet of IYF. Ultimately, the concept that resonated best highlighted IYF’s role as a connector and convener. Since our earliest days, IYF has been unique in that we engage with all members of our ecosystem, playing the role of connector and convener. We ensure that individual efforts are aligned, communication channels are open, and solutions include and respond to the real needs of young people. Individually, each actor in the ecosystem contributes something specific and essential—but it’s only when we listen and learn from each other and align our actions that we achieve a lasting impact.

Like other organizations, we did a lot of reflecting over the last year, asking tough questions about how to remain effective in an unprecedentedly challenging time. These Covid-19 conversations dovetailed with considerations related to our brand refresh that were already taking place. As part of that process, we asked ourselves—after 30 years, what does IYF stand for? The answers all boiled down to this: 

IYF stands by, for, and with young people everywhere.

Part of standing by, for, and with young people—and supporting them to create the world to which they are entitled—means valuing their voices, aligning with their values, and being the partner they need at this moment in time. Even as we acknowledge our 30-year legacy, we know that looking back should only be done in the service of looking forward.

In literal terms, IYF has always stood for International Youth Foundation; however, going forward we will refer to ourselves simply as IYF. Our reimagined name honors three-decades of impact by embracing how those who know us best refer to us. We hope that our simple, streamlined name will function as a symbol that “stands for” all that we value and all that will guide our work for the next 30 years to deliver fully on the promise of our recently refreshed vision and mission

Lastly, IYF also has a new tagline—a short, powerful phrase to express the heart and soul of our organization. Our new tagline is Transforming lives, together. We think it encapsulates all that IYF is—not only what we do, but how and why we do it. It underscores the profound, transformative impact we strive to bring about through our work and proclaims that meaningful, lasting change is not something that can be achieved alone. It’s something that happens when we work together.

We know that looking back should only be done in the service of looking forward.

All the questions we asked as part of our brand refresh and during the pandemic were posed at every level of the organization. The answers influenced decisions not only about brand identity, but about critical matters including program delivery; organizational structure; power distribution; hiring practices; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and how we can help “decolonize” international development starting under our own roof.

Throughout the year, we will publish other posts in the "IYF Stands For" series to explore different aspects of who IYF is and who we aspire to become.

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