Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has grown to become the world's largest scientific organization dedicated to cancer research and the broader goal of "conquering cancer." The non-profit has many related activities involving its 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers, as well as the AACR Foundation. Now it has unveiled a new logo and brand identity that has as its goal to "engage more members, patient advocates, cancer survivors, and the general public."
The clip below shows the evolution of the organization's logo over the years, with the most recent ones shown above. Admittedly, the previous one wasn't that great, exhibiting a kind of dated, academic elitism that doesn't resonate with the desire of modern non-profits to engage an ever-wider public in their sphere of influence. More than a few of the old logo's elements are simply puzzling; what's with the overlapping capital A's that are half serif, half sans? Why is there only half an R and why is it gold?
The new logo is less dull but no less curious. Now all in sans, the A's still touch but their crossbars have been pointlessly truncated. The R itself has been made green and extends within the C. And now the kerning between the second A and the C has opened up to an alarming degree. So what's the rationale for all this?
According to Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the AACR, "There is a visual narrative, a connection between the 'R' and the 'C' that reflects the inextricable link between research and the goal of eradicating cancer. The green color of the logo implies hope, life and growth. It is the mark of a new—more public-facing—direction for the AACR."
In an age of declining government funding for research, it makes sense for organizations such as the AACR to try to reposition themselves to attract the support of a broader public—which explains the new tagline, Finding Cures Together. But I'm not convinced this logo will ultimately provide much help with that initiative.