Arthritis Action logo
Arthritis Action stationery
Arthritis Action brand guidelines
Arthritis Action poster
Arthritis Action folder & leaflets
Arthritis Action website


Arthritis Action

S2 Design was commissioned to work with a national health charity The Arthritis Association to reconsider its current brand positioning and literature design.

Following an initial communications audit and extensive quantitative and qualitative research (covering present membership, lapsed members, arthritis sufferers who’d never engaged, medical professionals and also related service providers), S2 were able to create a strategy and materials that have had a proven effect on the charity’s engagement levels and ultimately resulted in higher income.

The results of the initial audit spotlighted key areas of concern and specific identifiable blockages in the communication and engagement chain. It provided measurable, factual data from which the rebranding and new communications strategy could be established.


The following key areas were identified as ‘road blocks’:

  1. The name of the organisation – The Arthritis Association – was deemed “unhelpful”, “unappealing”, “old fashioned”, “turgid” and even “problematic” by many potential members.
  2. Interviewees stated that they needed to feel greater confidence in the programmes offered by the association. Specifically, they cited the need for doctors’ validation and general endorsement by medical professionals whom the individual sufferers knew and trusted – not an unknown doctor.
  3. There was concern from the medical community that some of the programmes offered were “some rather New-Age hippy stuff” or “too alternative medicine” in nature. These programmes presented theories that many doctors did not feel stood the test of rigorous scientific investigation; GPs felt unable to recommend them.
  4. The charity’s communications materials had been developed over many years and were now rather unfocused and disjointed in both message and design.
  5. Its social media usage and presence was ineffectual and largely regarded as more damaging than beneficial, mainly due to a lack of an overarching strategy and resources.
  6. The present route to finding new members rested on general advertising, which was untargeted and sporadic.

Working with the senior management team, S2 were able to investigate these concerns and propose a strategy that rectified each one.

The charity was renamed Arthritis Action – a much more positive and dynamic name which, when coupled with the new communications, immediately improved respondents’ feelings towards the organisation as a whole.

The tone of voice and look and feel of the literature was also altered to be more professional and medical, while still remaining accessible to the layman.

Arthritis Action’s management agreed to remove the aspects of its programmes that medical professionals felt did not have sufficient evidence for endorsement.

Instead of trying to contact people living with the condition directly the core communications literature was redirected to GP surgeries – supplying awareness posters and engagement leaflets that would be handed to patients by their doctor during the consultation, at the point of diagnosis.

Finally, it was agreed that, in the short term, its social media presence would be suspended until a long-term strategy and plan had been devised, along with clear objectives and dedicated resources to facilitate that plan adequately. S2 made introductions to our specialist collaborators who could progress the social media strategy with Arthritis Action when it was financially able to commit to a full engagement programme.


Once the new brand approach had been agreed upon, S2 presented a number of brand design options to Arthritis Action’s executive. Three logos were chosen for development and then presented back to the target audience for consultation.

The logo originally favoured by the charity’s board was NOT the one that was finally selected, as it scored much less favourably with the target audience when the market research results were evaluated.

Following the data resulted in a brand that resonated with the target market delivering significantly higher approval ratings.


When the final logo had been agreed and the tone of voice had been established for communications, S2 worked with the client’s team to create brand guidelines and define the various elements and applications of the new branding.

This covered the main brand collateral, specifics of logo usage, colour palette, tone of voice & language, pattern, textures, and image selection guidelines (ensuring questions of diversity etc. be properly addressed).  This was all presented in a brand guideline book – a key item to quickly and effectively communicate the brand essence and thinking to any new staff or partners, and ensure a consistent application is maintained.

After the brand launch, S2 continued to offer advice and direction in a consultancy capacity to ensure a smooth transition was made. At the end of the consultancy period, Arthritis Action felt able to monitor the brand itself? but continued to use our team to create specific marketing items as needed.


We were last supplied figures for the impact of the new brand positioning three years after our exercise had concluded. At that time, membership had increased fourfold, and the fees being charged per member had increased threefold.

Arthritis Action is reaching more people and helping them live more active and enjoyable lives while managing the discomfort and pain caused by their condition. The quality of the service is now correctly aligning with its members’ expectations due to the increased clarity of the message being projected. Thus eliminating areas of frustration that the initial research identified.

The key to these results was ensuring that the charity was speaking in the right way, to the right audience, through the right channels – which is borne out by the fact that the end-users are now paying more per head to access more of the services on offer, and more people have signed up for membership.