Why did akt decide to refresh its brand?

Brands are vital as they are what holds together the messaging and mission of an organisation, and the visual identity that hangs on it is often the thing that leaves an initial first impression on people.

It’s important to check in with your brand every now and again to ensure it’s current and reflects the current work you do as an organisation.

akt has changed its brand every ten years since forming in 1989, and 2019 marks ten years since the last refresh. This year also marks our 30th birthday, and so it felt like the right time to bring the brand up to date

Who was involved in the brand refresh for akt?

External support came in the form of brand specialist Deborah Taffler, design agency Derek & Eric and a legal team at Baker & McKenzie.

Support on messaging was provided by Chris Sharpe, while Raising IT has supported us on the re-skinning of our website.

Young people were also consulted on what akt means to them, what our history represents and what are reputation is, at the start of the process. Young people were also then presented with options for strap lines and website designs later down the line.

How much has it cost for akt to refresh its brand?

We were extremely fortunate to be supported by our brand specialist, designer and legal team completely free (‘pro bono’), and so the only cost incurred was for trademarking the brand.

Brand refreshes can cost anywhere from £30,000 to millions of pounds, which is just not something we could have afforded, and so we’re extremely grateful for this support.

Why have you switched from ‘The Albert Kennedy Trust’ to ‘akt’?

akt is how our young people, supporters and the wider community have come to know us as we’ve grown, and so we’re pleased to own that in our new brand identity while still paying tribute to the young Albert Kennedy.

Who is Albert Kennedy?

akt was founded in 1989 by a straight foster carer named Cath Hall, who was an ally that saw the need for an organisation to be set up to support young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people who were facing homelessness because of rejection at home. Find out more about our history here.

Her foster son had a friend named Albert Kennedy, a young gay man who Cath saw as a second son, who tragically lost his life shortly before this. She chose to name the charity in his memory.

Is the new akt visual identity meant to include the rainbow flag?

When our brand specialist spoke to young people during the consultation process, they told us that the rainbow flag is an important symbol to them and they would love us to incorporate it into the new brand identity.

Our designer took this feedback and created an akt take on the traditional flag, which is comprised of the six rows made up of each colour, but instead uses dots with symbols inside of each one.

The flag is not necessarily obvious when you first see it, which we hope will provoke conversation, and when we use variations of the flag i.e. smaller lines or individual dots, we want to give our resources a burst of colour. 

Overall, we want who we are and what we do to be represented by a newly refreshed loud and proud brand.

What is the new akt strap line?

The new strap line is ‘safe homes and better futures for lgbtq+ young people’, which has changed from ‘preventing lgbtq+ youth homelessness’.

What made you decide to change the  akt strap line?

We wanted to use language that was framed in a more positive way, that also reflected the wider work akt does and the long-lasting positive impact it has on our young people.

Variations of the old and newly proposed strap line were presented to a number of young people, who agreed that they preferred the use of ‘safe homes and better futures’. This was based on the initial consultation and the positive feedback about us and our reputation that young people gave.