From CentHerStage to Shine Bootcamp: Our re-brand process and why we did it.

Alejandra Porta
Aug 3, 2018 · 4 min read

Last year I had the great opportunity to design a blog image for a fantastic post that Stefanie Grieser and Amy Wood co-wrote. The blog post went viral, and led a group of women to create and host an event, called CentHER Stage (read all about it here.)

With one successful event under our belts, we realized what we’d created could be a sustainable, purpose-driven business, so we made the decision to rebrand.

The original name, CentHER Stage, just didn’t fit with our vision. We realized we were limiting our audience to only those whose pronouns are she/her. Long-term, however, we knew we wanted to approach this initiative with openness and intersectionality at the forefront of our minds.

So, back to the drawing board we went.

Using Jake Knapp’s the 3 hour brand sprint model, the three of us dug into the type of brand we wanted to embody. Did we want to be elegant like Chanel? Or serious like a Wells Fargo?

By doing the brand exercise it helped us clarify what we wanted to be.

Often designers are excluded from these strategy sessions, which makes it hard to understand the goal of the project.

Being involved from the beginning of this branding exercise really helped me, the designer, understand what tone we wanted to convey. Defining the What, How, Who, Why and When helps the whole team understand and thus be on the same page.

We were able to clearly identify what we are, what we are not, and what is our big idea.
Defining these terms enabled me to create 4 visual directions.

We discussed how the different themes made us feel, and how we wanted the brand to feel. Some of the words which came up included:

  • Playful
  • Welcoming
  • Like confetti
  • Flexible
  • Inviting
  • Positive
  • Grassroots

On the other hand, we knew we didn’t want the brand to feel:

  • Intimidating
  • Too cutesy
  • Staged
  • Polished

We also discussed how a bold theme could alienate some folks: “The introvert in the room is shy, so bold and loud don’t go.”

Ultimately, our team was drawn to the Bright theme, which was both expressive and welcoming.

The moodboards helped us visualize and solidify the direction, as well as narrow down our top name options: Shine Society, Rise Society, The Dias.

We shared our name options with people we knew who were part of our target audience, and asked them to give us feedback on what they felt and liked about the names. The overall feedback was that *shine* was simple and playful like our brand it also captured really well the feeling you get when you *shine* on stage.

Inspired by Shine Theory a term coined by Aminatou Sow and ann friedman a premise that “I don’t shine if you don’t shine” which is all about lifting up other women (not edging them out) empowering and collaborating together.

Shine Society was the obvious winner, but when it came to securing the domain, we couldn’t get it. We settled on Shine Bootcamp, which we were able to secure the domain and all the social handles for.

We liked the idea of conveying stardust or being in the spotlight, and of the “i” being elevated, as a speaker is elevated on stage.

In the end, we modified the classic stardust look and kept the typography simple.

The results! We were so humbled by the acceptance of the campaign, and how willing everyone shared it on their networks.

Rand Fishkin, Joanna Wiebe, Unbounce , Claire Suellentrop , Chris Savage , Oli Gardner , Google Analytics tweeted about us , Ladies Get Paid featured us in their newsletter! Krista Seiden even wrote a blog post

For social we became pretty good at planning in advance, Steph and Amy wrote drafted copy for 2 weeks’ worth of posts, and I created all the assets in one go. This saved a lot of time.

I also used UnUm to visually see how the assets will look together, this was easy for all of us to approve and see the grid.

At the end the result, was a brand that is fun bright and inclusive and a project in where all three of us have fully collaborated.

Used the hands in the header image to represent lifting each other up “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.”

If you are a woman who wants to improve her speaking skills and be ready to speak at a conference, we just extended the deadline to apply for this coming Friday! So hurry, ladies, and go! Check out the details on the live site.

💛

Thank you Amy and Stef for helping me edit this post!

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