Camp Wanakita has been a summer home to thousands since they welcomed their first campers in 1953. For those lucky enough to attend camp along the shores of Koshlong Lake, the thrill of YMCA Wanakita never seems to leave. At alumni events, the passion from all generations is palpable, as campers of all ages sing songs with pride and recall memories of their first campfire.
As Wanakita undertakes a capital campaign to ensure that their 1000 acres in the Haliburton Highlands remain available to all kids, their dated identity didn’t convey the spirit of excitement of this place to potential donors. The challenge was to take the symbol of Wanakita that included the famous totem pole on the grounds and adapt it for next several generations of campers. We were excited at the prospect to update a beloved brand, but we knew there was a lot of emotion riding on a successful identity re-fresh.
After an inspiring trip to see the totem, we used the YMCA’s vibrant secondary colour palette and created illustrated, simplified designs to re-imagine the iconic characters of the Wanakita totem. Since one of the YMCA’s values is inclusivity, we made sure the adapted characters were created in a way that is inclusive and speaks to universal symbolism.
As important as updating the new Wanakita identity in a way that resonates with their target audiences, it was equally as important that we consider how the new brand would function as an extension of the YMCA brand. We ensured through adherence to YMCA internal brand guidelines that Wanakita was strategically aligned with the Master brand, and strengthened each other’s brand equity.
The first test for the logo was its incorporation on to a new website for the camp. Our web designers were tasked with adapting the vision for the logo onto an existing common web platform utilized by the YMCA. Working closely with their developers, we ensured accessibility and best design practices were taken into consideration for this project. In the end, we were able to infuse the new logo seamlessly into the website and use the signature colour palette to enhance user navigation.
The look and feel of the Wanakita identity has now continued into print format with the re-creation of the YMCA Wanakita 2016 Field Guide, a 28-page booklet that provides campers new and seasoned with all the information they need to get ready for the upcoming season.
Together with the staff of Wanakita, we’ve been able to modernize their cherished identity respectfully and help them start to live the brand across print and digital platforms.