Can a new brand identity help unite – people and partners – in a volatile political climate? That was what Common Cause, which has 34 chapters across the country and brings together people of all stripes to enact democracy, hoped for. 

Working with 501c, they ended up getting so much more. Following the 2016 election, Common Cause’s membership hit the 1 million mark. With a rising profile in an era of divisive politics, Common Cause, a nonpartisan democracy advocacy and reform organization, needed a new brand identity and strategy that would unite its state chapters and position it as a major player in the democracy reform movement. 

The catch? They couldn’t afford or justify the cost of a big agency to their Board.

Kerstin had already been working with Common Cause for more than five years and offered to collaborate with the organization on a brand strategy and redesign at significant cost savings. The team began by surveying key stakeholders (board members, staff, members, and the public). Kerstin did a visual brand audit and presented the findings.

Kerstin’s analysis of the data showed that rather than a full rebrand, Common Cause needed a brand refresh; many respondents identified the star in the logo as a clear mark of the Common Cause story. Kerstin designed a new star for the logo, and changed the color palette and typography, to reflect Common Cause as the nonpartisan, modern, and in-touch-with-the-times organization it is. Kerstin also solved the issue of inconsistency – and therefore, dilution – of the brand across the state chapters by creating a design that worked in all orientations (vertical, horizontal, and square/centered) and could be used with or without the tagline, and in color and in black and white.

That was only the beginning. Kerstin then developed a suite of products to reflect the organization’s new look: a brand guidelines book, social media graphics and templates, print collateral, newsletters, rally signs, office signage and murals, t-shirts, banners, reports, and direct mail. She worked with the digital team to art direct the new website and ensure it was consistent with the new brand look. She recently developed a campaign design for their 50th anniversary.

Best of all for Common Cause: by bringing 501c Design in, they saved tens of thousands of dollars on their design, and direct mail.


Common Cause


Branding audit and overhaul, updated logo and brand identity, print assets and website, report designs, art direction, social media, email blast development, staff training.



  • The choice of colors for the visual identity – red and blue – signal that Common Cause is nonpartisan.
  • A flexible logo – that can be vertical, horizontal, and centered, in color and in black and white, and with individual state versions – reduces confusion for state chapters.
  • A bonus to updating the logo with a modern font, and contemporary, bright colors: it’s more legible and easily replicable in both print and digital.
  • Branding is more than a logo: it’s a whole suite of branded products — digital and print.


  • Continued art direction for consistency: like designing the identity and materials for the 50th anniversary and many other projects.
  • Developing templates empowers staff to create their own social media graphics on the fly.
  • End-result: By bringing in 501c to design direct mail, Common Cause saves over $30K per year!

How A Brand Refresh Led to Mega Savings 

From a consultant to a key member of the Common Cause team, Kerstin began by rebranding Common Cause’s brand identity, and creating Canva templates and branded materials for staff at all 34 state chapters to use. Next, she centralized all the branding files to a cloud server, so everyone could easily access what they needed. But that’s not all. Kerstin saved Common Cause over $30K by taking over their direct mail design, and by helping them bring their printing in-house they continue to save. Today she is a valuable part of Common Cause’s every day operations, serving as their art director by creating visual materials as needed and producing all of their direct mail.

501c Design can do more than just design a logo or update a brand. We can give you a full 360-degree wraparound service. This can be anything from brand consulting to creating a year-long roadmap of your design needs and helping you flesh out a marketing and design plan. 

Find out how 501c Design can customize a design program that meets your needs.

“Kerstin doesn’t do buzzwords, she delivers creativity and brings a little more order to the world each day on every project. Successful creative partnerships make each iteration of a project better and are always open to inspiration. Kerstin sees connections and communicates complex policy issues in ways that respect people’s intelligence and gives them just what they need to advance their thinking.” 

– Scott Swenson, Vice President, Communications, Common Cause