Meet the New National Harm Reduction Coalition

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We’re National Harm Reduction Coalition and we’re building power and equity with people who use drugs. We’re committing to building a movement that centers racial justice and the leadership of people most impacted, so we’re being explicit about our national commitment.

It’s 2020 and we’re doing a refresh for a future that is bold, unapologetic, and demands equity. Our new brand is more than just a new look — it’s marking a moment of history to celebrate our movement and a commitment to a brave, resource-rich future. The new is full of up-to-date resources to build the leadership of harm reduction advocates everywhere.

From a Grassroots Group to a National Organization

What started as a grassroots movement is now bigger than any of us could have imagined 25 years ago. We’ve grown from a small working group in Oakland to a nationally recognized organization with 42 team members in 15 cities across the country. And we’re growing every day.

What’s more – harm reduction advocates and providers can be found in nearly every corner of the country. There are more than a dozen ‘harm reduction coalition’ groups led by local leaders who know best how to implement harm reduction in their community. Public health officials, researchers, healthcare providers, and policymakers are embracing harm reduction in ways they didn’t before. Millions of people are searching for access to harm reduction resources.

It’s time to embrace our increasingly national impact while better supporting the work of local organizations. It’s time to activate and mobilize the community through centering the leadership of people who use drugs and people most impacted by the racist war on drugs.


Creation of the Collective

Just like Harm Reduction, the new National Harm Reduction Coalition brand and website is a creation of the collective. 99 different contributors touched this project because we understood intimately how important it is that the community see themselves reflected in this new identity.

We assembled a community board of people who use drugs, staff of SSPs, researchers, policymakers, communications experts, and more who were involved from start to finish in developing and refining our brand identity voice, shaping our messaging, and testing usability on our website.

Our amazing communications leaders – Lizzie Maldonado, Jen Sarduy, and Taeko Frost – wrangled our internal team into working groups of visionaries, strategists, content creators, and subject matter experts. Every team member was involved in the ways that were most aligned with their natural talents and areas of work.

We chose a group of women at the purpose-driven agency Joybyte to guide the process. They took the time to understand where we’ve come from, where we are and where we’re heading. We dove together into the creative process. It was deep and transformational collaboration.


Looking Forward

Uplifting a brand with 25 years of equity and rebuilding a website that serves a million people a year is a massive undertaking. To do it in a meaningful way, we had to get clear about our goals.

  • The new brand needed to honor our colorful and powerful past and reflect all the beauty and complexity of harm reduction. It must be boldly unapologetic and reflect the vision of harm reduction as radical and revolutionary love. And it must communicate forward momentum where new harm reductionists may see a reflection of themselves.
  • It was critical to uplevel the accessibility of information and usability of our website. It needed to be built to help mobilize communities and individuals to take action on harm reduction issues.
  • We wanted to frame the work that we do as solutions forward, risk backward – leading with solutions instead of fear. We know that the movement has been saving lives for years well before the overdose crisis hit national news. We want to highlight the resilience of the work we’ve been doing.


We Heard You

Our first community board survey validated some beliefs. For years, we’ve felt like our brand and website didn’t match who we were… and you didn’t think so either.

The community board echoed that these elements were in no way representative of the experience, diversity, or heart that makes our organization beat. You described us as radical, connectors, holding a vision, and pushing the envelope — so we needed a look to match. We chose bold, bright colors with a gradient to capture change and movement. And we included patterns to show the interconnectivity that we feel in our movement.

You wanted to know who we were, so we put up every single face that works at this organization and a little bit more to get to know us on our team page but also scattered all throughout the website.

You loved our resources but noted that they were hard to find, so we dialed our website down from over 1,400 pages to just 55 core pages with a centralized, easily searchable resource center. And this is just the starting point – we’ve got many new resources to come.


The New National Harm Reduction Coalition Brand

Our new brand tells a story of activation, collaboration, and interconnectivity. We are connected in the cause, embrace change, and know that together we find the answers.

The logo represents strength, connection, and solidarity. We use strong lines to describe forward momentum, the creation of spaces, coming together, and progress. We highlight ‘Coalition’ because we know from the collective comes the strength of our organization.

Each element of this brand is purposeful and expresses fully who we are.

Bright colors create instant energy and mobilize audiences, while the gradients convey that we are ever-evolving, flexible and adaptive to change.
Bold typography communicates strength, trust and confidence.
Dynamic patterns tell the story of collaboration and interconnectivity. The forms are non-linear and decentralized.
Our work is brought to life with photographs of real moments.

The New Website

Our new website is a bold extension of our voice, a living testimony of our team and work, and an easy to use tool for anyone to find important information about evidence-based harm reduction strategies.

Every page was written, designed, and built with intention. This new website:

  • Shines a light on the Harm Reduction movement and community
  • Uplifts everyone who works in the organization
  • Makes it easy for people to take action
  • Connects people to local harm reduction services
  • Increases accessibility to our resources
  • Curates intersectional resources from groups we respect
  • Organizes all public events in one place
  • The new Resource Center is a curation of our very best resources so people have easy access to the most valuable information. We established a public drive to organize resources, templates, policies & procedures, example documents, etc.

And everything else?

History is not lost. Anything that didn’t get pulled forward to the new website, went into the NHRC Archive. So if you’re looking for that case study from 2011 that you love so much, just shoot us a note.


What’s Ahead?

Harm reduction’s work is never done. We have many more tools and resources in store. Stay tuned in the near future for:

  • National naloxone finder
  • Getting Off Right 2.0
  • Interactive pregnancy toolkit
  • Spanish language page
  • Accessibility/disability justice
  • Language justice
  • National Harm Reduction Coalition online store


How can you stay connected?

You can follow #HarmRedNow. We’re listening and learning more about what our community needs right now and how we can support connecting and convening in a virtual world in the absence of our #HarmRed20 conference. Sign up for our emails. We’ll be sharing collective action we can take, new resources for your teams, and finding ways to re-create the social space and magic that happens at our conferences until we can hold one another in Puerto Rico in 2022.

And tell us what you want the future of Harm Reduction to look like!