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Living with Kidney Disease & Transplantation - Event Re-Brand

The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois and Lettering Works teamed up to rebrand one of the NKFI’s signature educational programs: Living with Kidney Disease and Transplantation.

As part of the project, Lettering Works created a new logo for the program, a series of kidney illustrations to signify the different stages and types of people who art part of the kidney community, a Kidney Strong masthead for a new email series, and a fun Zoom background for the virtual event.

Get to know more about the NKFI, the Living with Kidney Disease and Transplantation program, and the design process in this interview with Sara Jane Castro and Rachel Depaw from the NKFI.

Custom Kidney Illustrations designed by Lettering Works

Tell us a little about the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for or affected by kidney disease through prevention, education, and empowerment. The NKFI serves as a lifeline for all people affected by kidney disease.

As pioneers of scientific research and innovation, the NKFI focuses on the whole patient through the lens of kidney health. The NKFI is dedicated to improving lives through action, education, and accelerating change.

Tell us a little bit about the Living with Kidney Disease and Transplantation program. Who is it for? Why was it started?

Starting in 2004, the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois began hosting a series of half-day educational seminars focused on connecting patients and families with resources and information. Each installment of Living with Kidney Disease and Transplantation consists of one or two large presentations, a series of intimate, expert-led conversations rooted in kidney-health, and a moderated panel discussion.

It is the NKFI’s goal to provide participants a unique forum that allows them to understand their diagnosis in an understanding, supportive environment, and lets them access whatever information they might need about medications, insurance, diet, treatment options, and more. Most importantly, the program serves to connect patients and caregivers to others in the kidney community so they can build friendships and supportive relationships.

LWKDT Logo by Lettering Works

How did you end up working for NKFI? Why are you passionate about working in the kidney disease advocacy and education space?

Sara Jane Castro, the Director of Marketing & Communications: “I worked in non-profit early in my career and then moved to Chicago and got a corporate job. I was itching to get back to non-profit because I like for my work to do something for the world. I was shocked to learn how many people are affected by chronic kidney disease and how little it's talked about. I was hooked immediately on spreading the word and making a difference.”

Rachel DePauw, Sr. Director of Programs: “I worked in healthcare advocacy and education prior and was looking for a new challenge. Because kidney disease can often be slowed or even prevented, there's so much hope in what we do. The education we provide has the power to change lives.”

What is one thing that most people don't realize about kidney disease?

1 in 3 people are at-risk for developing chronic kidney disease and most don't know it. It often doesn't have symptoms and in many cases, can be prevented by managing things like diabetes and high blood pressure.*

*This doesn't apply for some types of kidney disease that may be genetic or as a result of injury or illness.

Outside of Living with Kidney Disease and Transplantation, what are other programs or initiatives that the NKFI run?

The KidneyMobile is a free mobile screening unit that tests for chronic kidney disease and its two main precursors: diabetes and high blood pressure.

Take Charge is an 8-week chronic disease self-management program that helps patients and caregivers take control of their health with diet, exercise, symptom management and more.

Viviendo con Enfermedad Renal y Trasplante - Living with Kidney Disease & Transplantation in Spanish

Kidney Camp and Kids Programs - a kidney disease diagnosis can be devastating for pediatric patients. That's why we created a summer camp experience and educational and fun programs tailored for kids and their families.

Walk for Kidneys - an opportunity for patients, families and friends to raise money and walk in honor or memory of someone affected by kidney disease.

Professional Programs - we offer continuing education and networking opportunities for nurses, techs, social workers, dietitians, and physicians who work with kidney patients.

Want to learn more? Check out

LWKDT - Old Logo
LWKDT - New Logo

How would you describe the process of working with Lettering Works to rebrand the LWKDT program?

It was a dream! Chelsie made it so simple to communicate what we were looking for and she exceeded our expectations. She understood what we wanted to convey and turned it into a reality.

What did you enjoy most about working with Lettering Works?

Chelsie brought new insights and ideas that we hadn't even thought about to the project. Her experience and expertise helped us fill in the blanks where we weren't sure what we needed.

What value have you received from your logo?

As a result of the new logo and brand, we’ve garnered a renewed interest in the program, and more sharing and excitement. Additionally, we’ve seen a sense of camaraderie with the new kidneys to identify stages, patient ownership, and overall investment in the program.

Why do you think health advocacy organizations should invest in quality branding?

Patients need to know who they can trust to provide them with solid information when there's so much misinformation out there. You can have solid information available but if your branding doesn't convey that trust and also warmth, your audience isn't going to stick around.


Chelsie will be a guest on The Journey Continues Podcast (episode release May 11).

Our work with the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is a direct result of our passion project Cool Beans, which was created in an effort to raise awareness about polycystic kidney disease after Chelsie’s diagnosis in late 2019.

If you’re an artist who would like to learn about how to create your own passion projects to attract dream clients, check out our online course The Power of Passion Projects. If you’re a kidney advocacy organization or any business who would like to learn more about working together, check out our website or send us a message via our contact form.

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