LWR Has a New Look


Today we are officially announcing our new logo and tagline, “Sustainable Development. Lasting Promise.”

In conversations with many LWR supporters, we’ve heard that LWR looked a little “behind the times,” and that a new look — one that could appeal to a wide variety of audiences — would help us spread our message and engage more people in our important work. We want to share LWR’s ministry with more people like you, and this new look will help us do just that.

But even more importantly than the updated look, we feel like the logo and tagline better reflect who we are as an organization.

Part of our name is the word “relief.” Throughout LWR’s history, we have provided the highest quality emergency relief services to people around the world. Whether it’s the flooding in Pakistan, the earthquake in Haiti, or the tsunami in Asia, Lutheran World Relief continues to respond to disasters with the utmost quality and care.

At the same time, emergency relief is only part of our work. Our new tagline begins with “Sustainable Development.” Part of what makes LWR such a great organization is that it doesn’t just provide immediate relief with no long-term commitment. The majority of LWR’s work is sustainable development. We set up projects in communities that help those communities help themselves. We are committed to making long-lasting impact in communities around the world. We make a “lasting promise” to do whatever it takes to help people get out of the cycles of poverty. Our new tagline reflects that commitment.

Another part of our name is “Lutheran.” If we take that name seriously, there is nothing more Lutheran than “lasting promise.” Our very Confessions state,

“…what has been given us is the promise of the forgiveness of sins and justification on account of Christ…. This promise is not conditional upon our merits; it freely offers the forgiveness of sins and justification.” (The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, 40-41)


“… good works follow from true faith (when it is not a dead faith but a living faith), as certainly and without doubt as fruit from a good tree.” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article IV, 6)

Everything we do is in response to God’s lasting promise. “We love because God first loved us,” (1 John 4:19). At LWR, we take that promise seriously. Our high efficiency ratio (the percent of every dollar that goes directly to programming), our commitment to the highest quality development work and our vision that “each person, every community, and all generations live in justice, dignity, and peace,” flow directly out of God’s promise to us.

We promise to people and communities around the world that we won’t abandon them. We hope that our new logo and tagline reflects our commitment — our promise.

The launch of this new look is starting with a new logo and tagline on LWR’s printed materials and electronic communications. You won’t see the new look on our website just yet. But in the coming months, we also will roll out a new and improved lwr.org. Download the new logo here.

And please let us know what you think. Do you like the new logo and tagline? Leave your comments below.

is Lutheran World Relief’s Senior Manager, Interactive Marketing, and a Lutheran pastor.

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Categories: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Lutherans
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  • Anonymous

    I like the new tagline but as for the logo… hm… I think you could tell that the old logo had something to do with food and water… not quite sure what the new logo is supposed to tell me… (oh man, I sound so old and stuck in my ways!)

  • Anonymous

    It looks nice. Looks a bit like female anatomy.

  • Dan Ruth

    We're glad you like the new logo! We've had a lot of positive feedback on it over the past 24 hours.

    Part of what we at LWR like about the new logo – and others have echoed – is that it is a little more ambiguous than our former logo. Some people see in it a flame; some see the Holy Spirit. Still others see growing wheat or praying hands.

    As a top-notch international relief and development organization that is rooted in a deep Lutheran faith tradition, we feel blessed to be an organization that can embrace any of those interpretations.

  • Anonymous

    Funny you totally ignored the "Looks a bit like female anatomy" comment. Perhaps you just inadvertently "overlooked" it? I would have to concur with that previous succinct observation. It also seems to resemble the logo of the Management Sciences for Health's logo: http://www.msh.org. As for the Holy Spirit reference is concerned, I didn't know any human being actually knew what the Holy Spirit looked like! You mentioned ambiguity as a positive factor: what exactly IS the logo supposed to be and/or stand for, anyways? If the first commenter is "not quite sure what the new logo is supposed to tell me" then don't you think that many others will be in the same boat, so to speak?!?

  • J. Strauss

    Sorry "Anonymous" #3, I completely disagree on multiple counts. Dan Ruth is right to ignore the female anatomy comment. It's a personal (and ultimately unhelpful) observation, kind of like your blatantly obvious Holy Spirit statement. So, to the one part of your comment that actually feels like a question/challenge, again I think you're missing the point. The fact that the logo IS not distinctly a literal visualization is positive in the sense that it invites and allows the observer to form her own opinion about the nature of the organizations core mission through things like the name, tagline, photos and stories. For most people who already know LWR, the symbol in the logo doesn't matter. And for those that may want to know LWR, I think the old logo looked outdated and was far too literal.

    While there are lots of organizations out there who have literal logos, most with a recognizable brand have either made their name their logo (Ford, Coke, etc.) or have chosen a more ambiguous symbol connected to their name (World Vision, Mercy Corps). Personally, I'm not crazy about the new symbol here, but it doesn't turn me away either. I certainly see the things Dan Ruth mentions and understand why LWR made the change. Who cares if their logo has vaginal connotations? I love the new tagline and most of all, I admire and respect the high-quality work that LWR continues to do around the world. Let's keep our focus on that and the millions of people they've served on our behalf. Thank you, LWR.

  • Dan Ruth

    Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. We welcome the open and honest discussion.

    Anonymous, you're right, there are a lot of similarities between our new logo and the Management Sciences for Health's.

    The nice thing about logos is that they cannot possibly describe everything an organization does, or stand for. As J Strauss mentioned (thank you), many of the most recognizable logos in the world have little to do with the company's actual work. There is no hamburger in McDonald's Golden Arches, for example. As one expert has explained, "A logo identifies a company or product… A logo does not sell the company directly nor rarely does it describe a business. Logos derive their meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolises, not the other way around – logos are there to identify, not to explain." We believe our logo identifies the hope and promises that LWR represents in our work around the world.

    Anonymous, you mentioned the Holy Spirit, and that no one actually knows what the Spirit looks like. Very true. Yet you certainly are aware of the major Biblical images of the Spirit: wind or breath (ruach in Hebrew) and the flame of Pentecost. In John 20, when Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection, he "breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" This comes in direct response to his promise that "[God] will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever." (John 14:23) and echoes the imagery of the Spirit throughout the Old Testament as both God's breath and God's presence. This imagery of the Holy Spirit is taken up in both the flowing nature of our logo and our tagline, "Lasting Promise."

    And even if you don't see wind or breath in our logo, certainly you can see flames, perhaps the most common image of the Holy Spirit in Christian tradition, taken directly from the Pentecost story of Acts 2. And as LWR works in countries around the world of varying cultures and languages, we too speak "in the native language of each" (Acts 2:6).

    As to references to female anatomy, we leave it up to your interpretation. The double-edged sword of a non-literal logo means that anyone, for better or worse, can interpret the logo as they see fit.

  • Kirk Betts

    Although the current logo is probably more easily understood by those with whom LWR walks in distant places, LWR's work is substantially broader than the obvious agrarian orientation of the current logo. By the same token, the cup, the baptismal water that gives life, the color green, and the growing olive branch representing peace and food clearly embrace LWR's core values.

    That being said, although more abstract, the new logo retains two of the original elements (water and sustenance (green)) while complementing them with a sense of movement, synergy, unity, and parallelism (as in walking with), with outer bands that can be interpreted as embracing the core or, like ripples in a pond, are messages spread from the core. It does seem to me that a good logo–and certainly a clear tagline–must capture the core values and mission and that is what I think LWR has here.

    Clearly, a good logo will help each person who touches, or is touched by, LWR to relate to the organization and its mission. True, it may take a bit more imagination to "get it," but another LWR core characteristic is imagination and creativity–which it certainly sparked in these posts. I'm delighted with the tag line especially. It captures well what LWR aspires to achieve.

    Well done!