The Blind Foundation has taken on a new name: Blind Low Vision NZ. The name change marks the culmination of 18 months of considered research and engagement in developing the new identity, seeking to support increased relevance to those who could engage with the organisation.
Blind Low Vision NZ provides people who are blind or have low vision with the practical and emotional support to do the things they need and want to do, with self-reliance and confidence. As well as supporting individuals, the organisation seeks to make big-picture change by advocating for inclusive communities and for optimal eye care services for all New Zealanders.
John Mulka, Blind Low Vision NZ Chief Executive, said that while the name Blind Foundation was widely known, many people did not know that the organisation’s services are relevant to people who have significant sight loss that can be described as low vision.
“By retaining the word ‘blind’ which is at the core of our identity, and including the term ‘low vision’, our new name better represents the diversity of sight loss that people experience. More importantly, we hope it helps people who are struggling with their vision when treatment is not an option, to understand that Blind Low Vision NZ is a place they can connect with for practical and emotional support.”
Services available from Blind Low Vision NZ support people with sight loss to learn personalised rehabilitation skills for living in their home, access information and connect with others using technology, techniques for getting around including guide dogs, employment support, counselling and connecting with others in the community. People use the services that support their goals for doing the things they want to in life.
Mulka explains that Blind Low Vision NZ also takes an active role in advocating for inclusive communities as well as within the eye health sector to support optimal eye care services for all New Zealanders.
“Accessibility needs and eye health are areas that touch us all at some stage of life, and with an aging population linked with age-related sight loss, our services are in more demand than ever.
“Our name change is about telling people we can help, but it’s also just one way we are transforming to nurture the mana that the organisation’s 129 years of history stands on, and taking it into the future to strengthen our role in supporting people who are blind or have low vision in New Zealand.”
Although the public will now see the Blind Low Vision NZ name in places, the organisation won’t be transitioning everything at once. The transition phase allows us to make changes as necessary, the first of which is a subtle tweak to the name. Specifically, this involves removing the word ‘and’ from our name so that it is now ‘Blind Low Vision NZ’. For a while, people may see references to the Blind Foundation, Blind & Low Vision NZ and Blind Low Vision NZ. The legal name of Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) remains.
To help people know who Blind Low Vision NZ is, the logo will be supported with the text ‘formerly Blind Foundation’, where practically possible.
The website address will become blindlowvision.org.nz and email addresses will also change. Don’t worry, all of our old details will still work so you can still reach us at blindfoundation.org.nz too.
Our new logos
The new logo for Blind Low Vision NZ is bold and uncluttered. Three orange dots of varying sizes are to the left of the text. The words ‘blind’ and ‘low vision’ are of equal size. For the foreseeable future ‘formerly Blind Foundation’ will always appear with our new name as we transition between names, where appropriate.
Our tagline of ‘Beyond Vision Loss’ remains, also written in Te Reo Māori.
Having established, Blind Low Vision NZ as our new name and brand, we are pleased to introduce you to the name and logo for our Guide Dogs service which has been updated to fit comfortably alongside this main brand.
The design of the Guide Dogs logo strengthens the visual representation of Guide Dogs as a service provided by Blind Low Vision NZ. We have retained the red brand colour that Guide Dogs has become known for, but tweaked it so that it adheres to AAA accessibility guidelines.
About the design
The style of our new brand is designed to the standard of AAA accessibility. It incorporates clean fonts, strong colour contrast, clean backgrounds – all of which we are hoping go unnoticed by you except in making it an easy and enjoyable reading experience. Orange is used as an accent colour, in our master brand logo but not used to convey important information.
Design cues are taken from the Blind Foundation brand to retain some familiarity in the new brand. At the same time, we were committed to coming up with a design that’s more accessible and engaging. We set ourselves the goal of being inherently accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. We won’t have everything perfect right away, but we are committed to the journey.
The language we use
For us, language is an important way of connecting with people and conveying who we are. We are committed to writing as we speak, using plain English. We’ll incorporate synthetic braille into our language tool kit, to help build awareness of the importance of braille within our community. Similarly, we’ll encourage the use of Te Reo Māori within our everyday language.
Of course, a brand is much more than a name, logo and design. It’s the perception that people hold of our organisation and their experiences of us. Through the many initiatives underway, some of them highlighted in the pages of this magazine, we will demonstrate the commitment of Blind Low Vision NZ to making a difference in supporting Kiwis who are blind or have low vision to do the things they need and want to do.