When I was approached with the design task of branding SheStarts, I was a little daunted but extremely excited to be working on a brand whose mission would help empower and motivate women to become entrepreneurs and innovators in a male dominated tech industry. It was very important that the brand resonated with women of all ages and backgrounds to ensure that our mission would be heard by all and all would get the chance to apply.
I kicked the project off by working closely with SheStarts Director Nicola Hazell to first understand the goals of the SheStarts initiative and most importantly define what the brand should communicate to our audience.
Together we narrowed down a list of the top 10 values and ambitions for the SheStarts brand.
- Tangible action
- Change makers
- Start conversations
- If I can see it, I can be it
- Ground breaking
- Gender equality
- Working together
Moodboards and brainstorms
Once I’d established a core set of values with a clear understanding of what the brand needed to communicate, it was time to get stuck into brainstorming. This is a really rough and raw stage where the pens and pencils come out and all ideas get thrown down on paper in the form of sketches and word clouds. I also started collecting imagery to start getting a feel for the tone of the brand and inspire the design direction. I looked to influential women of power, young and old, past and present, and assembled them on my mood board as a source of inspiration.
The logotype was inspired by the qualities of the women participating in the SheStarts program; ambitious, creative and passionate. My aim was for the logo mark to convey this. The typeface I found was a really close match to the sketches I had produced. I made the focal point of the logotype the word “She” by enlarging it and offsetting its placement. In contrast to the free flowing strokes of the brush font – I chose a bold, sans serif font for the word “Starts”. It represents a strong and stable foundation to counterbalance the creative flair and freedom depicted by the script font. The overall effect is sleek and modern with the logotype being unique enough to stand alone without the need for an assisting icon.
Our aim is to attract women far and wide to the SheStarts program so it was imperative that the brand was simple and would stand out in digital and printed format. A bold colour palette was key. I experimented with a couple of options before settling on red as the primary colour. Passionate, fierce and confident; challenging stereotypically feminine colours.
Imagery is a key part of our campaign. One of the values for the brand was “If I can see it, I can be it.” We wanted to depict a diverse range of women on the website to highlight that anyone, including you and me, our sisters, mothers and friends, can become a startup founder!
The result is a strong, passionate and trustworthy brand that empowers women to believe that they have what it takes to become awesome entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators. What do you think?
Lisa Hodges is an amazingly talented UX/UI designer at BlueChilli.