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The face of homelessness is changing and so is the Old Brewery Mission

21 September 2023

Montreal’s largest homelessness organization gets a new look.

Montreal, September 21, 2023 - As the figures released last week clearly show, homelessness is on the rise in Quebec and the profile of the unhoused population is evolving. To respond to this new reality, the Old Brewery Mission is adapting its services to better meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. This week, it unveiled a new positioning that reflects its evolution. To carry out all stages of its rebranding, the Old Brewery Mission worked with several strategic and creative partners. They produced a redesigned brand image that artfully sums up the organization’s expertise and services while connecting with its 134-year history.

It’s all about solutions

With the help of AvecWith PBDB (strategic advisor Pierre-Bernard Dow Blanchette), the Old Brewery Mission’s management team and board of directors undertook a broad rethink to define a new strategic positioning, including a review of the organization’s mission, vision, guiding principles and priorities. What emerged was the need to position the organization as an agent of social change that offers a set of solutions to homelessness, from prevention to emergency services and rehousing. This positioning is encapsulated in the tagline Breaking the cycle of homelessness, a ringing call for long-term action to address this growing social problem.

To express the positioning through the brand’s graphic universe, the Old Brewery Mission commissioned Cabana Séguin to redefine its visual identity.

“Creating the visual platform for the Old Brewery Mission’s major campaign was an exciting project for the Cabana Séguin team,” says Mylène Duguay, the firm’s president and CEO. “We were delighted to help craft an image that expresses the passionate commitment of the Old Brewery Mission’s people—caring people who are determined to make a difference in Montreal’s social ecosystem.”

“We wanted to change the traditional image that the public still has of homelessness resources,” explains Marie-Pier Therrien, Director of Communications at the Old Brewery Mission. “The Old Brewery Mission has nearly 300 employees spread across 12 workplaces, and now offers much more than a bowl of soup and a bed for the night. Our extensive prevention and rehousing efforts had to be central to our new positioning, along with our emergency services. The visual identity created by Cabana Séguin is a continuation of our existing brand while casting a ray of light and hope on a phenomenon that we, as a society, find difficult to see and accept. We’re thrilled with the result!”

New website

The website also needed an overhaul. To do it, the Old Brewery Mission assembled a top-notch project team: Basalte for web design, Oui Madame for digital project management and Calotte for web development. The main goal of the redesign was to showcase the scope of the Old Brewery Mission’s services while enhancing the visitor experience by applying best practices in digital ergonomics.

The Basalte design agency (Zoé Boudreau, partner and account manager, and Jimmy Pelchat, partner and art director) was called upon to adapt the brand’s new visual identity to the digital universe, creating a fresh, accessible Web environment while emphasizing conversion to donations.

Rebecca Dziedzic, digital consultant at Oui Madame, wanted to be part of the project for both professional and social reasons: “The opportunity to work for the Old Brewery Mission and redesign their website was a chance to showcase our expertise, and at the same time homelessness is an issue that resonates with our values. This project was a natural fit for us.”

Visitors to the Old Brewery Mission website are many and varied: people experiencing homelessness, donors, corporate and community partners, and the general public. “Everyone has to be able to find clear and relevant information,” explains developer Vincent Rouleau, the owner of Calotte. “We prioritized best practices and responsibility, and combined technical expertise with a UX vision to create a user-centric platform. Calotte is proud to have partnered with Oui Madame on the revamp of the Old Brewery Mission website.”

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