Dance Marathon Logo

This year, the University of Michigan’s Dance Marathon organization was asked to change their name and in turn, their logo for reasons that I’m still unsure of today. Something about using the block M and not being associated with the university, who knows. Needless to say, they had to change their name from University of Michigan Dance Marathon to Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. Big change, right?

If you’re unfamiliar with Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM,) it’s one of the largest student-run non-profit organizations in Michigan. Conducting events throughout the year, the group strives to raise both funds and awareness for the children in need of pediatric rehabilitation. The creative and interactive therapies they provide through an allocation of funds to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan enrich the lives of hundreds of children. The culmination of the organization’s effort occurs annually in March, when nearly a thousand students stand on their feet for 30 hours to show their dedication to the cause.

Below is the original logo

Ever since I started working with the organization 3 years ago, I’d been designing a plethora of print and online promotional materials. Until recently, more specifically this past fall, I was asked to redesign the logo for DMUM. It was one of the biggest things I’ve ever designed for and one of my greatest design challenges. There were 2 things in the original logo that I wanted to include in the new one. First was how “University of Michigan” it was with the block M, maize & blue colors. I wanted to somehow include that M, without actually using it (since it was forbidden by some higher power.) The second element I wanted to include was the playfulness between the characters and the emotive potency it evoked. I wanted to show the relationship between the students and the children we help somehow in the logo.

The final decision came down to the 2 logos below:

The organization chose the latter to be their new logo. To be honest, I wasn’t happy with their decision because I felt the organization was too unique to use a foot for their logo. Their rationale was that feet is what the students stand on for 30 hours, which I can’t rebut. One thing that also bothered me was that dance marathon organizations at other schools use the foot as their logo. It made me wish I had more time to develop the other logo, or even persuade them better in the first place. I see the foot logo everywhere on campus, and it’s depressing to know that it could have been something so much more. Other people might disagree with me, but I think I failed in redesigning this logo. Then again, that’s life and it’s full of those.

On a side note, I’ve noticed I’ve been using Futura way too much to be human—so expect to see less Futura and more Comic Sans

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