Responses by Paul Ferry, cofounder/director, ShopTalk
Background: An abbreviated portmanteau of Women Equal Business, WeQual Awards launched with a mission to open the doors of the FTSE 350 executive committees to women. ShopTalk was asked to develop the brand guidelines, name, logo, website and event materials which needed to attract sponsors from across London to support the awards event from the outset.
Reasoning: WeQual is about celebrating and recognizing successful women on the cusp of executive-board status, so the tone needed to be frank, forthright and bold, without being preachy or overly focused on imbalance.
Challenges: Ensuring the branding and design remained balanced throughout. The look and feel of WeQual had to be approachable and non-confrontational for it to appeal to the businesses that fall short on gender balance. We had to make sure the message was clear: what WeQual seeks to achieve will benefit women, men and business.
Favorite details: The name. Naming a business or brand in any industry is a challenge. Built on the core pillars of the brand—Look Up, Empower, Straight Talking and Women Belong—WeQual truly captures the aspiration for the brand. The graphic simplicity of the equals within the E is the cherry on top.
Visual influences: All the branding, website and event collateral has been delivered in a striking monotone palette to drive home that this is a black and white issue. The two-tone approach also emphasizes the straight-talking, 50/50 philosophy. The logo incorporates an equal sign that can also be used in isolation across event materials, both print and digital, to drive home brand messaging at all touchpoints.
Specific demands: Appealing to traditional male-dominated businesses in London was essential to get new support. So, the branding had to be less about gender imbalance and “under-representation.” We needed to shift the thinking into a much more positive domain that focused on the benefits WeQual would bring to everyone in business.