United to End Homelessness

OC United Way
  • Branding
  • Visual Identity
  • Web Design
    & Development
  • Data Visualization
  • Strategy

We connected with OC United Way in the Fall of 2017 to hear more about the great work they’re doing on a subject that’s close to our hearts: ending homelessness in Orange County.

We learned that their goal is to rally nonprofits, faith-based organizations, the business community, and the general public around a unified solution for ending homelessness. After this meeting, we immediately explored ways we could help them launch a campaign to get the word out.

There are a lot of people and organizations doing good work to try and end homelessness. But one thing we learned from OC United Way is that having more than one solution for a single problem can delay progress and cost a lot of money. OC United Way’s goal is to rally the community to agree on one solution: permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals.

Leveraging findings from a Cost of Homelessness Study conducted in partnership with UCI and Jamboree Housing, OC United Way is equipping the community with detailed insights so that the overall system of care can significantly improve.

A couple of key stats from the study:
The homeless population in Orange County, CA, is estimated to be close to 5,000 — half of them unsheltered.
Governmental and non-governmental entities spent approximately $299 million to address homelessness in Orange County in a 12-month period encompassing 2014/2015.

The Ask

To create a foundation for a public awareness campaign and a unified communication strategy

Honing in on the correct tone/approach to the logomark was a challenge. We wanted something unique, dynamic, and representative of the region, so we created a mark to band people together around the homelessness situation in Orange County.”

The Logo

The intertwined multicolored ribbons symbolize a unification of all people coming together to solve the homelessness crisis in the OC.

Our Approach

Our goal was to brand a mission, not an organization. To do this, we needed to have a clear understanding of the problem, solution, and audience.

We scheduled in-person brainstorms with key stakeholders to better understand their campaign goals. We also led discussions that helped surface the message that needed communicating, who would need to hear that message, and how everyone should talk about the campaign verbally and in writing.

Our team helped name the campaign, design a logo mark, create a set of brand guidelines, and develop a landing page with key messaging where people could learn more and commit themselves to support OC United Way’s efforts through a sign-up form.


Develop a name and message that is recognizable and clear to all audiences in OC, with a focus on millennials

Make it clear that change is possible, despite the growing problem of homelessness

Create a visual identity that “weaves” a sense of hope throughout, without feeling too serious

The Brand System

Brand Guidelines


Marketing Collateral


Word has spread. OC United Way officially launched the United to End Homelessness campaign in March this year, and an overwhelming number of organizations, county and government officials, and others have said “I’m in.”

A highlight of this partnership was getting invited to the launch event at the University of California, Irvine. We had the opportunity to see our work applied across several mediums and hear first-hand how people felt about the work.

Immediately after launch, local news channels picked it up. One of the first to generate buzz was the Orange County Register. outlines the components of the campaign and includes a pledge people can sign “to ensure that integrated and sustainable solutions are implemented.” Over a three-month period, the site has generated over 1,200 sign-ups and people who have said “I’m in.”

Column Five was instrumental in helping us launch United to End Homelessness. The C5 team helped guide us through the process of ascertaining what our voice and identity should be. They understood our desire to bring new life and a vision of hope for what is normally seen as one of the most complex and unsolvable problems in our society. From the first meeting with Column Five, our team knew we had made the right choice.”


Jason Lankow
Brian Wolford
Senior Producer
Walter Olivares
Art Director
Rendell Ascueta
Lindsay Hathaway


Becks Heyhoe
Manager, Housing
Brenyale Toomer-Byas
Sr. Director of Housing & Workforce Development
Carla Vargas
Chief Operating Officer