The YMCA is a worldwide youth organization which is located in Geneva, Switzerland and has over 64 million beneficiaries in more than 120 countries. Originally founded by Sir George Williams in London on the 6th of June, 1844, it aimed to put into effect by promoting a healthy “body, mind and spirit”. The YMCA has one of the most widely recognized logos in the world beside giants such as Nike, Apple, Adidas and others but it also has some of the most interesting and rich history behind their logo.
The First YMCA Logo:
A meeting for the Eighth Conference of the World Alliance of YMCAs was held in Geneva, Switzerland and one of the things that they wanted to do was to come up with a “distinctive international badge of the Associations”. In the next conference this logo was revealed.
While the circle is divided into five parts, it embodies the oneness of mankind. The five parts have the names of the five parts of the world (or what they were called at the time). Inside the circle are two Greek letters, Chi and Rho (XP), which are the first two letters of the word Christ, symbolizing that Christ was at the center of the movement.
The Triangle YMCA Logos:
The logo was redesigned in in 1891 by Luther H. Gulick. Luther was a firm believer in physical fitness and transformed the role of sports at the YMCA. His idea for the logo was a red equilateral triangle with the words “Spirit”, “Mind” and “Body” written on it.
The logo was changed again in 1895 when the Canadian and American met at the convention. Luther H. Gulick’s red triangle logo was added to the original logo, combining the two.
A few changes were made to the logo in 1896. The most noticeable change was the addition of a second ring to the logo. The text inside the logo was made hollow and was not filled in with color any longer, amongst other changes. It is commonly thought that the second ring was added as a sign of infinite friendship and love amongst individuals.
1897 saw quite a major change to the YMCA logo. The circles and text inside were dropped entirely with the new logo only consisting of a red, equilateral triangle with a black bar going across the triangle, showing the letters “YMCA”. This was one of logos that remained unchanged for the longest, lasting from 1897 to 1967.
For seventy years, essentially the same logo had been used in some variation or combination with only minor changes being seen. John Root, the general executive of Chicago, had a new design made. The design used a bent bar and a triangle which together made the symbol of “Y”. This design brought a fresh aspect to the logo while also retaining Luther H. Gulick’s traditional red triangle.
In 2010, there was a massive change for the organization. There were big changes made which included the name and logo of the organization. The organization no longer goes by “YMCA”, now simply being known as “The Y”. Three of the main focuses of the organization now include youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The logo was also designed and chosen accordingly, now showcasing the letter “Y” in a bold manner. There are no set colors for the new logo and often a combination of colors is used. This look is used to promote the diversity of the organization. However, the logo still includes the iconic triangle that it has been associated with since 1891. It pays homage and shows that the organization is still the same at its core but has come a long way from where it started.
The YMCA was and is one of the most widely known and recognized organizations in the world with a logo that people can immediately discern. Throughout the years the logo has had symbolic value to the people and the organization. Every change was carefully planned and thought out, often with a vote being taken before any sort of change was allowed or implemented.
With time, as the world has changed and media has grown, the organization has also made changes to stay in the limelight. The most recent change to the logo was perhaps the most obvious and bold one ever made in the organization’s history but it sends a strong message about how the organization is still what it was years ago but has managed to keep up with the times and focus on current issues instead of staying set in its ways. The history of the logos looks something like this: