When MAX was first started, the name “MAX” was selected for its friendliness and easy memorability; the founders wanted the organization to be viewed more as a friend than an organization. The official registered name – Men’s Associated Exchange – was a bit force-fit to explain what the group was about. While no one was particularly keen on the official name, it still worked – and stayed in place for decades.
When we looked into reviving MAX, we knew we didn’t want to play with the brand too much; after all, the many years had reinforced MAX as the name of a successful organization that brought gay men together. But how could we make MAX relevant to a new audience while preserving the iconic name?
The answer came from the member research we conducted in mid-2017. We learned that our key strengths were seen as bringing gay men together in a friendly social environment… but always with a twist. We were known for adding something special to the events we held. This insight allowed us to reinterpret the name MAX in a fresh new way, with each letter representing one of our strengths: Men, Activities and (we look some license here) something eXtra.
For our new logo, we wanted a simple symbol that would be immediately recognizable as uniquely MAX. The stylized ‘M’ MAX logo — designed by artist and MAX member Richard Laeton — alludes to our founding during the AIDS crisis by emulating the patchwork look of AIDS quilt… to our present by representing the multiple facets of our diverse membership… and to our future mix of colorful and interesting programs.
- Stuart McFaul