The following day she went out and ordered some stationery in the name of Hadfield Manor Conference and Management Training Centre, reasoning that by the time it had been printed she’d know all that was necessary to know about running such places.Good Omens, pTerry, and Neil Gaiman.
This post talks about the process we went thought as a social enterprise when making decisions about our ‘brand’.
Last August I announced I was starting a charity. I’ve updated you a few times since then, with successes, failures, and more successes (and more failures). What some of you might have found slightly strange is that all the information online about eQuality Time is on this very blog. We’ve yet to put out a flashy website, letter headings, or ‘branding’.
There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly my own instinct, horned by years in academia, is that outfits that are flash and polished are also the ones that are shallow and profit-centred, rather than problem-centred. It’s an unhelpful mentality, but it’s taken a little while to shake.
The second is that branding is worth being careful about. When White Water Writers first appeared as an entity, we were slightly off-message with the branding – teachers and parents misinterpreted it as ‘fun semi-educational week off’ rather than the more accurate ‘extremely tough week that lets writers achieve, and grow, more than they, or you, expected of them’ – we’ve managed to correct that in various ways, but it was a worthwhile lesson in getting things right.
The third is that flashy things cost money, and we had more important things to spend the money on. Equally importantly, making things work right takes time, and we had much more important things to spend the time on. If this was only going to be a one-year-all-the-good-we-could-do experiment, then we’d rather have thank you letters than unused business cards.
However, we’ve now reached a bit of a point of balance. eQuality Time has brought in some funding, including some that is ring-fenced for producing leaflets and a website, so the money is there to be made use of. More to the point, we’ve grown to the point were it I dare to hope that we’ll grow and be a much more long term entity – so it’s time to start punching our weight.
So we’ve engaged a designer, V, who we choose because a) he’s an excellent designer, and b) he’s got a strong knowledge of exactly the issues we want to work on. We’ll talk about the process we went thought with the logo.
I sent V some concept notes for the logo – about the company we’d like to be, the image we’d like to give off, and the sort of things we were trying to achieve.
He sent back the following sketches…
We’d have been happy with a couple of those, but I didn’t think any of them ‘popped’ – I had the idea of building in some sort of mechanical cog motif to reflect the technical/engineering focus we had.
He sent back some more concepts.
I liked a couple of them – particularly the last one. I showed the full set to my trustees and found that everyone liked and disliked an entirely unhelpful network of opposites. A suggestion of clockwork was made, I asked V for yet more concepts, while slightly worrying I was going to be featured on clientsfromhell.net/.
He sent back these.
Which were all fabulous – we agreed largely unanimously on this one:
Which you can now see on the holding page for http://equalitytime.co.uk/, and shortly you’ll see it in a range of other places as well. I’m really glad we went through this iteration process – while any of the others would have been ‘okay’, it’s something I’m (hopefully) going to be looking at a lot over the next few years.