NEW YORK – April 2020 – Understood, a social impact organization, today introduced its expanded mission of Shaping the World for Difference™ through four focused areas that support individuals throughout their lives: Families, Educators, Young Adults, and the Workplace. Its redesigned brand includes an updated website, a new font designed to improve readability, and a sound mark, which are all created to increase accessibility for everyone, regardless of difference or disability.
People who learn and think differently make up a significant portion of our population. In the United States, 1 in 5 people have learning and thinking differences, like ADHD and dyslexia, and 1 in 4 people have some type of disability. Learning and thinking differences are variations in how the brain processes information and can affect reading, writing, math, focus and following directions. Since 2014, Understood has served millions of parents of children who learn and think differently by providing free, digital resources and a dedicated online community. Understood is now expanding its mission beyond families to include helping individuals at pivotal moments throughout their life.
“Our ambitious mission will change people’s lives and deliver impact at-scale, particularly as we look toward rebuilding our society in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fred Poses, chief executive officer of Understood. “We are focused on supporting each individual, and our programs work together to help more communities embrace differences, provide accessible resources for all, and empower that individual to thrive.”
The four core focus areas that directly and indirectly help individuals who learn and think differently throughout their lives include:
Families: The families and caregivers of children who learn and think differently can visit the refreshed website (u.org/families) to find information on supporting their child at school, at home, and in their social life and community.
Educators: The new website for educators (u.org/educators) includes resources for teachers and school administrators, including ideas for connecting with students and improving teaching strategies, to make it inclusive for all, including those who learn and think differently.
Workplace: The Workplace Initiative by Understood helps companies solve real business needs by hiring, advancing, and retaining people with disabilities, including those who learn and think differently.
Young Adults: Later this year, Understood will launch a program for young adults transitioning into their first job. Specialized resources, tools, and allies for individuals who learn and think differently will help boost their confidence, recognize their strengths to choose the right career path, and empower them to speak up at work, at school, and in life.
To underscore the expanded mission, Understood refreshed its brand strategy and introduced a new visual logo, identity system and color palette. It also redesigned its website to begin to improve equitable access for all users, regardless of ability, situation, or context. Accessibility and inclusivity are at the core of the organization’s ongoing product, engineering, and user experience efforts so that its resources can reach and support more people across the country.
The rebrand includes a new design system; website design; brand architecture; ADA-compliant color palettes; inclusive photography, illustration, and animations; a new sonic logo, music and tone/voice guidelines to increase accessibility for all users, including those who learn and think
“The needs of the diverse communities we serve, from grandparents to principals, from young adults to employers, informed all aspects of our new brand ecosystem,” said Nathan Friedman, chief marketing officer of Understood. “The redesigned brand will help ensure that our resources engage as many people as possible and help them thrive in school, at work, and throughout life.”
The organization worked with brand consultant Wolff Olins and font designer Martin Vácha of Displaay to create the font UnderstoodSans, which has been applied throughout the organization’s digital content to improve readability. Since some fonts and letters can be troublesome for people who learn and think differently, the new font was designed to make certain letters and numbers more distinguishable for readers.
Understood also introduced its new sound mark, which was composed with the help of Listen, a sound branding company. The unique sound mark—which will be used to distinguish video and audio content for viewers and listeners—was composed to improve accessibility for people with learning and thinking differences, including those who have trouble with sensory processing.
For more information and to view the redesigned brand and website, visit understood.org.
Understood is a social impact organization dedicated to Shaping the World for DifferenceTM. Our four core programs ( Families, Educators, Young Adults and the Workplace Initiative by Understood) work together to create a world where everyone who learns and thinks differently feels supported at home, at school, and at work. We hope to shape a world where people with all types of disabilities have the opportunity to enjoy meaningful careers, and where all those who champion difference have the resources to become better allies and advocates. We provide impact at scale with direct access to online resources, experts, and supportive communities. Understood is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in New York City. For more information, or to become a partner, visit U.org/media or follow us on our social channels.