Building the brand for a community-led social justice movement

The Brief

LocalMotion is a social, economic and environmental justice movement, by communities, for communities. It was created by six established funders in the UK who shared a desire to find new and better ways to tackle the common issues communities face.

Working with six places in England and Wales (Carmarthen, Enfield, Lincoln, Oldham, Middlesbrough and Torbay), the movement seeks to understand local strengths in each place and to challenge typical power structures and hierarchies that become barriers to a community’s progress and hold them back.

Barley was hired to build a brand from scratch that would:

  • Unify the ambition and vision of the six places and six funders
  • Provide a consistent visual and verbal language to help articulate LocalMotion’s unique positioning
  • Galvanise support from those connected to LocalMotion
  • Inspire more people to join the movement

Insights and Approach

Barley kicked off the strategic process with a deep-dive immersion phase, including extensive desk research on systems change initiatives in the UK and USA (such as Living Cities, through which LocalMotion drew inspiration), and looking at how those in the landscape best articulated themselves.

We interviewed core groups in each of the six places to better understand what LocalMotion embodied to them and in turn, how it could best be showcased before presenting a set of recommendations.

It was clear that the LocalMotion brand needed to be simple and bold, balancing approachability with a seriousness reflective of the issues LocalMotion tackles. The multi-layered and often complex nature of LocalMotion and its mission needed to be distilled into engaging messaging that would appeal to the six places, the UK funding community, and beyond.

LocalMotion operates democratically, so throughout the development phase, we coordinated regular feedback from the whole LocalMotion group – in surveys and face-to-face presentations – refining our work at every turn until the majority were satisfied.

The Outcome

Barley has created a simple but arresting brand for LocalMotion that is representative of several facets of the movement’s ethos and a full suite of visual assets with an uplifting logo at its heart.

  • The logo incorporates the silhouette of a person, centring people at the heart of LocalMotion, while the floating dot in the ‘i’ represents positive growth and a guiding light
  • The graphic language is rounded, making use of circles and semi-circles to represent approachability, community and connectedness; but also structure, foundations and a sense of infinite growth
  • The colour palette is warm, soft and appealing, but accented with a bright orange to convey a sense of urgency
  • Playing with scale and contrast helps to represent the significant challenges the places face against the great impact they hope to achieve

As well as the visual brand, we crafted a set of messaging guidelines including vision, mission, values and a brand story. These overhauled the previous complex and sector-specific language and made the complex narrative more accessible, clear and engaging.

After the success of this branding work, we are thrilled to be supporting with ongoing communications (social media and content development) to help those in LocalMotion better connect, learn and build the movement.

Barley Communications have done a fantastic job building LocalMotion’s brand and communications approach from scratch. They responded beautifully to our collaborative ethos by bringing people together to develop our messaging across six funders and six locally based collaborations – no easy task! They succeeded in rising to the huge challenge of creating something everyone in LocalMotion could not only get behind but be proud of. I often get messages complimenting the website, which together with Barley’s ongoing communications support, has really helped us get our message out there and supported the six LocalMotion places to talk about the work they are doing. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

Kathleen Kelly | Director of Collaboration