After 115 years, the American Lung Association is getting a brand refresh.

The organization debuted an updated logo, new color palette and made fighting modern issues like vaping, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic central to its mission.

“We have a 115-year history of taking on lung disease and using our model of advocacy, education and research to slay some really big dragons. We were built on a mission to eradicate tuberculosis,” said Julia Fitzgerald, chief marketing officer at the American Lung Association. “We started to look at what the next 100 years is going to look like. We have new things to focus on like vaping and climate change and what that does for lung health. We realized that we were talking to new people and wanted to make sure our voice and our look was relevant and fresh and continued to be meaningful.”

The new branding replaces red with blue to represent the clean, fresh air, Fitzgerald said. The organization is continuing to use its logo, the double-barred cross, but has ascribed new meaning to each of the bars. 

When planning for the rebrand, the American Lung team did market research on its logo and found some people didn’t know what the icon meant and were unable to connect it to the organization, Fitzgerald said.

“Our DNA is that of the trusted champion organization that has been built on scientific information, being trusted and reliable. We’re not always out in front, but we’re always the trusted voice,” Fitzgerald said. “We attached our mission to our icon. The cross bars each stand for education and advocacy and the vertical bar that holds it together is breakthrough research.”

The rebrand has been in the works for several months, but Fitzgerald said the team “never imagined” its unveiling would collide with a global pandemic and an illness that affects people’s lungs, to boot.

The organization is working on several fronts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including supporting lung disease patients, providing grants to researchers looking for treatments, dispelling misinformation and educating the public about the illness.

Patients with lung diseases are one of the high-risk groups for COVID-19 and many are understandably concerned during this time. To help patients connected with the organization, some American Lung Association staff have begun calling patients individually.

“The patient engagement staff changed their own job descriptions and have started calling people,” Fitzgerald said. “It sounds super old fashioned, but we call, email and text just to make sure that people who are connected with us understand how much more at risk they are, the basic things they can do to keep themselves safe and make sure they know they are not alone.”

While launching a rebrand and responding to a pandemic in the same month may sound hectic, Fitzgerald said she and the organization are optimistic. She hopes the rebrand reflects the American Lung Association’s focus on the future during this uncertain time.

“We are going to get through COVID-19,” she said. “The American Lung Association is probably the most optimistic organization right now. We were built on eradicating tuberculosis, so we feel like we’ve been here before and we know our way out. We’re going to do everything possible to bring a new generation of people connected with us into the future.”