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Through the Thrivent Financial Foundation’s Choice Dollars grant program, more than $227,000 dollars has been leveraged in support of Leader Dogs for the Blind. Support from the Thrivent community came at a time when it was needed most. These grants provided valuable general operations support that sustained flagship programming, canine care, and helped launch new strategic initiatives, all while legacy donors contributed to the capital campaign that built our new Canine Development Center. Leader Dog remains a top charitable partner of the foundation after a special campaign ran in their newsletter during the 2013–14 fiscal year generating over $100,000 worth of member-generated grants!

Thrivent’s Choice Dollars helps us empower people who are blind or visually impaired with lifelong skills for safe and independent daily travel. Every dollar given enables our clients and their Leader Dogs to be successful with every step they take.

These grants have come from over 4,000 members from all different walks of life. Kate Frank has been with Thrivent for 30 years and has been a Leader Dog donor long before she became involved with the foundation. “It’s very easy to give through Thrivent,” says Frank. “The reason I give to Leader Dog is that I love dogs and I marvel at their intelligence and how they help people; to me that is amazing.”

Eligible Thrivent Financial members who have available Choice Dollars® have until March 31, 2018, to direct them. Don’t miss this opportunity to recommend that Thrivent Financial provides outreach funding to Leader Dogs for the Blind. Go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice to learn more, or call 800-847-4836 and say, “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt.

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Leader Dogs for the Blind blogs by Leader Dogs For The Blind - 1y ago

We are proud to introduce the new logo, font and colors of Leader Dogs for the Blind. We’ve updated our style to better represent who we are, what we do and the people we serve. This revised style will help us reach new audiences and spread the word about Leader Dog in exciting new ways.

Why Change?

Our previous logo was created 10 years ago. This logo fit in well with what many other guide dog organizations were using to represent themselves: an individual walking with a dog in harness. While the logo accurately represented our work, it was difficult to use. Since it incorporated both dark and light colors, parts of it were often not visible on dark, light or busy backgrounds. Because the person and the dog were drawn in outlines instead of solid shapes, at small sizes they became difficult to discern. For an organization that serves people whose vision is impaired, the old logo was not ideal.

For many years, we represented our brand in primarily dark blue, gray and white. These colors are popular with many businesses because they appear corporate and professional, but they did not truly convey the Leader Dog brand. When talking about the atmosphere on our campus and our employees and volunteers, people often describe Leader Dog with words like “friendly,” “open,” “approachable,” “knowledgeable,” “dedicated,” “passionate.” These are things that visitors and clients can see for themselves when they come to Leader Dog, but we needed that identity to come across to people wherever they are. This meant looking at our brand and all the ways we communicate with our clients, donors, volunteers, sponsors and the general public and changing some things to show everyone what kind of organization Leader Dogs for the Blind really is.

To complete the rebranding process, Leader Dog worked with Vimarc, an established, full-service agency with an extensive history of partnering with nonprofit organizations.

New Logo

The new logo was developed with a clear focus on the Leader Dog mission and to emphasize the organization name. The goal was to create a recognizable logo that leans on the strength of the logo mark to create a connection to the viewer and to clearly communicate what the organization does.

The logo mark places primary emphasis on the Leader Dog in harness and on the client’s hand. The focus is primarily on the dog, as guide dogs are at the heart of what Leader Dogs for the Blind does and is.

The image of the dog is placed in a circle in order to create a boundary that is geometrically balanced, and allows for interpretation as the center of a compass rose. Situated around the central circle are three cardinal directions of the compass rose indicating assisted travel and the sense of direction.

The logo has been designed with a vertical and horizontal option. In the vertical option, the logo mark rests above the logotype, with the cardinal directions of west, north and east used. In the horizontal treatment, the logo mark with the cardinal directions of north, west and south are used with the logotype positioned to the right.

The bright colors and streamlined imagery make this logo easier to see at varying sizes and on all kinds of backgrounds. The directional arrows around the edges emphasize the theme of travel and movement, which also lets us subtly represent our orientation and mobility (white cane travel) program in addition to our guide dog program. It keeps the traditional core of the Leader Dog mission – providing the means for travel for people who are blind through guide dogs – while allowing us to differentiate ourselves from other organizations. We strive to be the best, not to blend in.

New Color Palette

The new color palette is intended to create flexibility through a broad spectrum of color options.

The palette is bright and includes both warm and cool tones that are reflective of Leader Dog's values, programs and services.

In color theory, blue tones represent stability, loyalty and trust; greens portray a feeling of growth, safety and healing; yellows and oranges communicate enthusiasm, determination and encouragement.

This flexible system may also allow for tints and shades of the primary palette for limited use. These tones appear equally well on a light or dark background.


In 2014, Leader Dog began to incorporate iconography to represent our core programs. In this rebranding process, we have added icons to identify other essential pieces of Leader Dogs for the Blind: puppy raisers, breeding stock hosts, ambassadors and volunteers/team members. Many people fall into more than one category, but with our new icons, we now have a simple, visual system to help designate the audience for many of the materials that we produce.

Case for Support

We have traditionally encouraged people to support Leader Dog by describing what we do; we often talk about things like the process of raising and training dogs, matching those dogs with clients and the stories of our clients whose lives have been changed because of our services. What we had not done was identify the key issues that getting a Leader Dog, receiving orientation and mobility training, or attending Summer Experience Camp can address. Many people who are blind or visually impaired experience isolation, loss of independence, depression, higher risk of health problems, lower chance of employment and other difficulties. The ability to travel confidently, safely and independently has a direct, positive effect on all of these problems. There are many worthy causes for people to support, and we need the public to understand why what Leader Dogs for the Blind does is important.

New Creative Concept Will Travel

This creative concept originated because of one word: travel. Leader Dogs for the Blind provides many programs and services, and they each provide a common benefit: the ability to travel. The big idea harkens back to a phrase that was coined by comedian and actor Bob Hope. In 1954, he said, “Have tux. Will travel.” By making this statement, Mr. Hope implied that he was always ready to perform, at a moment’s notice, anywhere in the world. Since then, the phrase has seen hundreds of iterations, with the interchangeable second word always communicating something very specific to the individual making the statement. The phrase has often been used in classified ads by people looking for work.

Have hammer. Will travel.
Have typing skills. Will travel.
Have truck. Will travel.

What do people who are blind or visually impaired have that now allows them to travel? The obvious answer was too literal.

Have dog. Will travel.
Have white cane. Will travel.

Yes, clients are matched with a Leader Dog or receive white cane or GPS training. But they are actually given much more than that. The dog, cane or GPS device doesn’t just provide the ability to travel. They provide independence, determination, fearlessness and confidence – all the things that clients may not experience prior to their affiliation with Leader Dogs for the Blind. By discovering these things, they not only have the ability to travel – but the ability to travel without fear.

By using the following headlines:

Have fearlessness. Will travel.
Have confidence. Will travel.
Have determination. Will travel.
Have independence. Will travel.

…we lead with a message of empowerment.

Next Steps

We have only just begun to represent ourselves with this new branding, but as time goes on you will see more of this refreshed identity through all the ways we communicate with our constituents. In early 2018, we will be updating our website to better reflect our new look and message.

We are incredibly grateful for the support and dedication so many people have given to Leader Dog over our decades of service, and we hope you are excited as we are to move forward with this new look and prepare for many more years of empowering people who are blind or visually impaired with safe and independent daily travel.

The New Brand in Action

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