Brand Identity, Design, & Strategy
Services: Brand Identity, Design, & Strategy
adworks is a student-run advertising agency at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Founded in 2013 by six passionate students, adworks partners with local advertising agencies to create spec work for their existing clients and projects. Students complete every aspect in building a brand campaign--research, strategy, management, copy, and creative. They learn from the experts at the agencies and apply those learnings with hands-on experience. Since its founding, the organization has flourished into one of the top student organizations in the business school and its membership went from six to fifty with a waitlist to apply. Because of its rapid growth, it had some growing pains and needed a rebrand. The ask was to create a brand that was friendly enough to attract students but professional enough to appeal to local advertising agencies.
The result was a Silver AAF Phoenix Addy for the new logo.
The local advertising agency partners enjoyed working with up and coming talent and seeing thoughtful research, but the project teams were failing to successfully translate those insights into strong visuals--mainly because the teams were made up almost entirely of business students. Although the organization was popular in the business school, it had a clear need to recruit passionate creatives from the design school at the university. adworks needed a brand that was professional enough to uphold its appeal with the local advertising agencies and friendly enough to recruit passionate students from across campus--and from the design school to the business school at that.
In addition to the friendly and professional feel, current members stated that the brand needed to represent its heritage (the students who began the organization), its current members, and its future members (students from various programs at the university). As a student organization, adworks also has an interesting structure, because the turnover is so high with students dropping the club or graduating. This showed adworks needed a brand that could evolve alongside its ever-changing member base.
My overarching plan of attack was to build a simple to understand and simple to replicate brand identity system with option for creativity built in. In keeping the options broad, students could make the brand their own year after year, allowing it to constantly evolve with the student member base and popular trends.
There are also a multitude of students who will be executing the brand, from executive board members creating social media posts to current members using branded pitch decks. This made it important to construct the brand in an easily replicable way, be recognizable even when it may be slightly off-brand, and look good even when it's not executed as intended (both inevitable with quick-working students).
Lastly, colors play a huge role in the brand, in part to honor the current member asks. Keeping the adworks green ingrained the organization's history--they were known for their green--into nearly every touchpoint of the organization. Additionally, the horizon gradient has become a key identifier of the brand, used to highlight specific elements, and represents the future students just on the horizon of their career trajectory.