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Creating the Creative Brief - 12/21/2010 -

The hardest part about developing a new logo may be communicating to potential designers exactly what you are looking for.

By Kate O’Donnell

When the new executive director of the Alliance for Women in Media (Erin M. Fuller, CAE) took over in July 2010, one of her team’s priorities was to jumpstart a stalled rebranding effort for the organization. First up: a new association logo.

Based on budget and time parameters, the association decided to launch an online design contest on 99designs.com (Editor’s note: For the complete story, see "Looking for Logos,” Signature magazine, November/December 2010.) However, we found ourselves challenged with the task of explaining what we wanted to the designers participating in the contest.

When establishing a new identity, how do you explain exactly what you’re looking for to someone you’ve never met, who has possibly never heard of your association, and might not speak English as a first language? Answer: You keep it simple and hope for the best.

When launching our design contest, we were asked to submit responses to three descriptors: brief overview, brand name, and target audience, and then list any requirements the designs needed to follow.

Here’s how we answered the call in our creative brief:

Brief Overview
We are a group of influential women and men in all forms of media (radio, television, film, web-based) who work to amplify and celebrate the strength and influence of women in media. With a 60-year legacy as a champion of the advancement of women, our organization (formerly known as American Women in Radio and Television) adopted a new name: Alliance for Women in Media. The new name better reflects the power of the diversity of our membership and the value of collaborative partnerships in achieving our strategic objectives.

We hold an annual signature event, The Gracies, to celebrate and honor programming created for, by, and about women, which attracts more than 1,000 luminaries in media and entertainment.

Brand Name
Alliance for Women in Media, formerly American Women in Radio and Television.

Target Audience
Thought-leaders and progressive women in media (think Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey). In addition to individual powerhouse women, we partner with organizations such as Dove, AT&T, and Ford, and we are expanding our global reach to include influencers around the world.

We are looking for a logo to fully represent who our association is: not just a group of women in radio and television, but a logo that conveys us as the powerhouse organization that inspires leadership and spurs action across all forms of media.

Here are a few requirements for this project:

  • "Women in Media" should be dominant/"Alliance" should be secondary.
  • Need to have a graphic mark—not just a type treatment. This mark will be used as a stand-alone image, in addition to the full name in various places.
  • Mark needs to be compact and contained and easily implemented into all forms of social media (Twitter, Facebook, IPhone apps, etc.)
  • Can use the W and M as a mirror image if appropriate.
  • We do not want any traditional media icons included (megaphone, radio buttons, etc.)
  • Primary color should be red to mirror our signature event, The Gracies.
  • Think creatively! Our organization is comprised of some of the most creative and powerful women and men in all facets of media, and we need a logo that represents them.

Throughout the process, it was readily apparent which designers actually reviewed and absorbed the information in the brief versus those who didn’t. In the end, though, our requirements were met and our expectations exceeded.

Kate O’Donnell is director of marketing and creative for The Coulter Companies.


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