After 109 years it’s time to hear together…

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), is a charity working on behalf of the 1 in 5 adults in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or the 1 in 8 with tinnitus.

The organisation came to SomeOne to help manage the most significant changes since it opened 109 years ago.

New management teams, a new strategy, new focus and a new remote working structure — combined with a move away from their current name ‘Action on Hearing Loss’ — to their original RNID brand name.


2021 Excellence Awards — Best Brand Development — ThirdSector

20% of adults in the UK are deaf or have hearing loss.

The return to the household name, which dates back to 1911, is part of our ambitious plans to reach more of the 1 in 5 adults in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss and the 1 in 8 who have tinnitus.

The focus on the daily issues deaf people have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the barriers to communication caused by face coverings, has highlighted the need for us to be a stronger brand.

We carried out research with 6,000 people which led to our new strategy and brand purpose, which is that “Together, we will make life fully inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus.”


The research found that RNID was still more popular and more trusted by the public, despite the name not being used since 2011.

People told us that the current brand did not reflect the charity’s history or communicate the amazing work they do.

Returning to RNID and redefining the purpose is a critically important step in the journey to make life more inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss and tinnitus. RNID continues to be a well-known and much-loved charity and I am proud that we have the confidence to make bold and radical changes which are crucial to our ambition to grow our audience reach and impact.

RNID will be a stronger voice for deaf awareness and invest in campaigning for change. We will connect people to the information and advice they need. And we will continue to fund new treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Our new purpose, name and identity is about making it clearer who we are for and why we exist. Because now, more than ever, it’s vital that people across society understand the challenges deaf people and those with hearing loss and tinnitus face.

Mark AtkinsonChief Executive: RNID
By 2035, there’ll be c14.2 million adults who are deaf or have hearing loss across the UK.

Charity branding can suffer from languishing in well-trodden paths and commonly adopted cliche.

Working with Dan Dufour we created an intelligent new strategic focus of a collective belief in positivity.

A re-energised team — and a global pandemic meant there was an unusually significant chance to elevate the organisation.

We developed a radically reconsidered word mark that brings charm to the category. A progressive and unusual colour system that avoids the hard punches of primary palettes. A new tone of voice and illustrative style so lacking in the landscape combined with a fresher take on photographically representing the most important part of the endeavour — the RNID audience.

The move to adopt the ‘Royal National Institute for Deaf People’ nomenclature cements a progressive and competitive new direction for a well established leader in global matters concerning the inclusion of the deaf, hard of hearing and people with tinnitus.

In the UK, there are 151,000 people who use British Sign Language and, of these, 87,000 are from the Deaf community.

‘We couldn’t have picked a better team to help us deliver our new brand‘

Sonja StinerBrand Manager, RNID.


With a new name agreed — we set out to create a new wordmark from the four letters.

There are several Royal National Institutes, and the construct is a familiar one to the UK public… but only one for deaf people.

So we highlighted that part through the introduction of a colon — or eyes — to highlight the ‘D’ — or smile… because when the brand needs to use a symbol — the original text-based emoji ‘smiling face’ can be deployed.

😀  😀  😀

We might be over a century old, but it doesn’t mean we’re stuffy and formal, in fact quite the opposite. We want to show people that we are dynamic and responsive and inspire the belief that together we can create a fully inclusive society.

Cheryl HughesHead of Brand, RNID

colour system

The charity sector is awash with primary colours. Harsh cyans, rich blues, pokey pinks and zappy yellows abound.

To stand out in a crowd, while they flop, we chose to flip.

Smoother, softer and kinder colours help the brand be selected in an ever crowded space.

Culture and language is constantly evolving and we want to make sure we reflect that in the way we speak as a brand. That’s why we’re going to be publishing our tone of voice publicly and inviting people to help shape its future direction.

Michael WilkinsonDigital Director, RNID

Speech Bubbles

A new set of 10 playful speech bubbles were developed to enable the ‘positive protest’ headlines take centre stage on communications.

Strengthening our brand is vital for us to deliver our fundamental purpose and make an even bigger difference to the 1 in 5 adults in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss and the 1 in 8 adults, like me, who have tinnitus.

Cheryl HughesHead of Brand, RNID


This posed an interesting conundrum. Being deaf presents the challenge that it is very often an invisible state. So we chose to photograph people who, while deaf, signalled a positive attitude.

We also combined the photography with the bold graphic shape made by the ‘Smiling D’.

RNID is one of the nation’s most important endeavours — it deserves a visual and verbal identity to help it maintain its position as the leading organisation in its field. It’s been a privilege to help.

Simon ManchippFounder. SomeOne.

Huge thanks to the teams at RNID — Particularly Michael, Cheryl, Sonja and Kaajal.

The deaf community are passionate, which I loved. From the outset it was clear we needed to build a brand that allowed them to express their voice, one with personality.
The communication bubbles which run throughout the identity allow RNID to represent the thoughts and opinions of the community they champion. Hearing and seeing the volunteers at the photoshoot, all sharing their stories, was lovely to see and be a part of.
Mark SmithCreative Director, SomeOne.