Today we’re announcing a big change to Wesley Housing’s brand.
More than 45 years ago, former schoolteacher Virginia Peters established our nonprofit organization in response to a study by her church’s affordable housing task force that revealed the staggering number of low and moderate-income families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities with few or no viable options for decent, affordable housing. Her work was visionary and groundbreaking.
Over time, Wesley Housing’s real estate portfolio expanded to more than 1,600 housing units with the development and acquisition of properties throughout Northern Virginia. In 2016, after more than 40 years in existence, we began growing our footprint beyond the Northern Virginia suburbs and expanded into the District with the support of our many collaborative partners. All the while, in addition to providing a safe, quality place to place to call home, we’ve been providing our residents the programs and services needed to thrive.
While we are quite proud of our grassroots history, today we’re announcing another big milestone– we’re transforming Wesley Housing’s story with a focus on the opportunities that lay ahead for the organization and the residents we serve.
The Wesley Housing of 2020 is nearly 100 employees strong. We’re a 45-year-old start-up that hires some of the most highly credentialed, mission-focused professionals in the region to do truly difficult work. We are changing lives and reducing the deep racial inequities throughout the region. In short, we’re becoming one of the most far-reaching, developers, owners, and operators of affordable housing in the DMV.
Last year, as an outcome of our 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, we embarked on the process of rebuilding our communications strategy and our marketing capabilities. As part of this, we made the decision to reevaluate our brand by retaining the services of a marketing agency and research firm to interview and survey key stakeholders, including government officials, investors, community and faith-based organizations, and residents regarding their perceptions of the organization’s work. The research concluded Wesley Housing’s long track record of building, managing, and maintaining high-quality affordable housing throughout the greater Washington, D.C. area has earned the trust and support of its stakeholders.
Because our name was well-known and respected within our industry circle, the decision was made that a complete “rebranding” was not needed. Instead, Wesley’s brand was reimagined to better convey the organization’s full scope of work. Wesley Housing does much more than build homes; we build up lives. In collaboration with our partners, we offer residents a host of enrichment and supportive services to break the cycle of poverty and create a pathway to a better future.
It was time for a change.
After 6 months of work, we are thrilled to unveil our new look and feel!
Wesley serves many different people — from individuals to large or blended families. The human icon was created to represent the different people Wesley serves and is non-specific. Each individual is purposely a different color and size to convey all the people who benefit from our services. The group as a whole could be viewed as a family unit or as individuals that come from a variety of different backgrounds.
The roof symbolizes the housing we provide, but it is also an upwardly pointing arrow, which conveys our commitment to the growth, education, and upward mobility of each of our residents. This is further highlighted through the tagline, Building Up.
Our name “Wesley Housing” is created from a very modern, clean-edged version of a classic serif-style font, Jubilat. It is written in all lowercase letters to convey the feeling of friendliness and being approachable. The words “Development Corporation” were removed for the same reason, as well as ease of recall.
The colors for the new logo were chosen very specifically and have as much meaning as the icon itself. The name and roof is blue, which is associated with the sea and sky and is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It symbolizes trust, intelligence, and faith — all qualities of Wesley. The “large” individual is turquoise, the color of calmness, serenity, and spiritual grounding. The “medium” figure is a yellow orange, which is the symbol of sunshine, joy, and hope. These two main colors of the icon represent what Wesley strives to give everyone they serve. Finally, the last figure (“small”) is the color of the background the logo is placed on. That shows Wesley’s flexibility to help individuals change and adjust to any situation they come across.
Enhancing our imagery was another important aspect of our refresh. Over the course of several months, we compiled hundreds of photos of our communities, diverse residents, and staff members that will be used throughout various electronic and print marketing platforms.
In order to build upon the photo library without incurring an ongoing expense, we plan to seek the help of volunteers with skills and expertise in photography. Our imagery will consistently focus on our high-quality communities and our efforts to build up the lives of the current individuals and families that call Wesley properties “home”.
In the past, our messaging was a collection of assorted, informational pieces about our communities and services—such as a new property for older adults or our back-to-school campaign for our school-aged residents. For years, we beat a steady drum for support, but understanding the need to target messaging to different audiences was often overlooked.
With our new brand system, we will continue to tell our story to a diverse group of stakeholders; however, we will tell it in a way that resonates with the audience type and speaks to their relationship with us.
People visit our website to understand who Wesley Housing is, what we do, what expertise we have to offer, and the scope of our impact. User testing of words, concepts, and navigation pointed us to a site structure that integrates Wesley’s cores business areas and the impact we are having on low-income households throughout our community.
Building on the visual language of the new brand, we have created a clean design that features powerful photography, infographics, and concise content for those who are just learning about our work, while making additional information more accessible and prominent for our long term stakeholders.
What It’s All About
Our new look isn’t just about a new logo or a new website. It’s about so much more than that. Wesley Housing’s refreshed brand is about cementing our position as a leader in what we do. It’s about differentiating ourselves. It’s about expanding our recognition as a thought leader and influencer among industry peers locally and nationally. It’s about educating more people of all age groups about the “faces” of affordable housing. It’s about encouraging the community to support us today and provide for tomorrow.
Most importantly, it’s about building up the lives of our most vulnerable community members!
We hope you will join us on this continuing journey!