Contributed by Georgina Milne of Moving Brands.

Watermark sketch

Watermark strategy

The women’s leadership forum Watermark (formerly Forum for Women Entrepreneurs & Executives) launched in 1993 in the San Francisco Bay Area, with the aim of connecting exceptional women leaders with people and ideas that enhance their impact on the world. Watermark fosters collaboration and connections between its members, who are made up of entrepreneurs, executives and top-level professionals.

Watermark sketch

Watermark approached Moving Brands to create a new identity that would underpin their positioning as a community of accomplished women leaders leaving their mark on the world. Furthermore, it must work to advance their key business objectives of geographic, financial, and membership growth.
Our assessment proved Watermark’s unique organisation of highly accomplished members enabled them to stand out in a landscape dominated by secretive men’s clubs and lacklustre women’s organizations. To define the brand, we were tasked with creating an identity that lived up to the strength and success of the board and its members. We decided on a brand narrative of “Emanating Influences” to truly sum up what Watermark offered and stood for.

Watermark sketch

To bring the identity to life, we developed a communications plan. The plan drew on the conclusions from our Assessment stage, to show how Watermark could use their various channels (website, events, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube) to work holistically for them. We created three personas/target audiences and produced guidelines for specific scenarios showing the comms plan in practice.

Watermark identity

The concept of ‘emanating’ guided our visual direction. The way a drop forms ripples in a pond, or the way a boat causes a wake in its trail both became strong images to convey the sense of emanating, as well as referencing their new name. The mark represents this sense of ‘emanating’ as it grows, from one line to four, as in a ripple effect.

Watermark logo

The typeface used for the word mark is Aktiv Grotesk. This modern sans serif was selected to complement the classic mark. The secondary typeface Walbaum was chosen for its elegance and personality, and to provide a traditional contrast to the modern character of Aktiv Grotesk (a welcome alternative to Helvetica).

Watermark identity

A monochromatic palette was selected to clearly set a hierarchy of information, important to an audience that has no time to deal with clutter. Using black and white ensured a sense of sophistication, and conveys a personality that is clearly differentiated from its competitors, who uniformly use pinks and blues.

Watermark sketch

The brand identity system included symbol, wordmark, colour, type, imagery, animation and film as well as marketing and communications plans to ensure the correct messaging and tone of voice.

Watermark experience

Even though the launch of the brand was so recent, the organization has seen an increase in membership requests, press, and based on the communications plan we crafted, CEO, Wendy Beecham, was named in the 25 Most Influential Business Women in San Francisco/Silicon Valley You Should Follow on Twitter in 2010.

Watermark identity

Below is a quote from the CEO in regards to the association and partnership with Moving Brands:

“You have led us to a new level — we are Watermark and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to go through this experience with you.”

Watermark identity

Watermark identity

Watermark identity

Watermark identity

Watermark launch film

The Watermark project was produced by Moving Brands’ San Francisco-based team.

View more work on the studio website, and follow Moving Brands on Twitter.

5 responses

  1. I’m a big fan of the way Moving Brands photographs the entire process of their work. It really adds to the story telling of their thinking.

    I really like the linear animation work in the video which helps to reinforce the logo concept. Would be nice to see a few more applications in more detail though.

  2. I love that this post starts with process before showing any work. It forces you to put focus on the strategy before subjectively judging the aesthetic.

  3. I really like this, I did however question the way a ripple works (a (splash) followed by a succession of ripples) but this is not so important as the mark works perfectly. Nice job Moving Brands, thanks for sharing.

  4. I really like the simplicity of the mark and execution across the board. I was thinking though it would be interesting to have seen this mark reflected horizontally so the logo expanded from left to right as western type reads the same way. Great piece all the same.

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