Goodwill Industries International Inc. employs millions of people in the United States and Canada. It creates jobs for people in need who are not taken anywhere because of disability, lack of education, or other reasons. It is a whole network of autonomous social enterprises: they operate in different cities and contract with local firms to provide a wide range of commercial services. The latter include, for example, cooking or packing goods. Employees take continuing education courses so that employers benefit as well. Most of the money goes to support social programs.
Meaning and History
According to official records, Goodwill began doing good in 1902. But in fact, it didn’t exist then: there was only a young missionary at the time, Edgar Helms, who decided to help the poor immigrants in the South End community. He felt sorry for the people who did not know the language and had no means of subsistence, so he went to the homes of the locals and asked them to give him unnecessary things. But the newcomers were too proud to accept the donations. So the reverend instructed the chapel staff to repair and clean all the items and then sold them to the needy at an affordable price. The profits went to pay for the labor of those who brought the items to marketable condition. Further income was spent on training immigrants.
Thus came the first Goodwill store. Over time, it grew into an entire network of independent businesses in America and abroad. For more than a hundred years, the principles of the organization have not changed – only its approach to employment has changed. Now people are offered a wide range of occupations with the opportunity to improve their professional skills. And although the core business has long since moved beyond retail, the company continues to sell donated items and spend the proceeds on its development.
The Goodwill logo has evolved, too. What resembles a black and white print with lettering now looks very different: it’s a square graphic sign with a benevolently smiling face. The last version was introduced in 1968 and is still used today, suggesting it is iconic and timeless.
1902 – 1968
Until 1968, the organization used a round symbol with a cross-shaped figure in the center, casually resembling the Iron Cross, Germany’s military order. On the horizontal stripe was written the word “GOODWILL.” Its letters widened and narrowed along with the base. On the vertical part of the cross was the word “THE WAY,” divided in half. The top and bottom of the frame ring occupied the slogan “NOT CHARITY BUT A CHANCE,” and the sides showed symmetrical patterns of parallel curved lines.
1968 – today
The 1968 graphic sign was designed by the greatest designer of our time, Joseph Selame. He is a branding genius who created dozens of famous emblems for companies such as Kodak and CVS.
The Goodwill logo is named Smiling G because it features a lowercase “g” that mimics half of a smiling face. The letter is in the upper left corner of the vertical rectangle. And the rectangle itself is styled like an old photo card: it is placed in a frame with an extension at the bottom, where the word “goodwill” is written. All text elements (including the “g”) are white, the central part is blue, and the outline and frame are black.
The legendary logo is still in use today. On March 29, 2018, it turned 50 years old, and during that time, it has managed to be not only in commercials but also in popular TV shows. The company is in no hurry to give it up because it risks losing everyone’s trust without a recognizable visual identity.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The phrase “Smiling G” speaks for itself. Joseph Selame has interestingly played with the name and the essence of Goodwill, turning a simple letter into a benevolent face. And there’s a hidden meaning here because a friendly smile is supposed to attract attention, instill hope and show good intentions. It’s a symbol of the nonprofit’s help to all those in need.
The font used in the Goodwill logo has a lot in common with the ITC Tetra Bold. This geometric sans serif typeface was created by typographer Tomi Haaparanta in 2005. It features square letters with rounded corners. But obviously, designer Joseph Selame came up with the individual glyphs because he wanted the “g” to look like half a face. The round intra-letter gap looks like an eye, and the space between the two joined parts of the “g” (top and bottom) resembles a smiling mouth.
The interior of the logo is colored blue, known as Pantone Reflex Blue (#17171796). The company name and stylized “g” are white, while their outlines and frame-based are black. This has been a classic Goodwill color combination since 1968.