DEMA Show 2021 Brand Identity Concepts

Work for hire for the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) by Lara Lee while employed at CSG Creative with permission for Lara Lee to display for self-promotion.

Background

The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) annually hosts the DEMA Show. No other gathering in the world brings together the entire professional diving, dive travel, and watersport industry like DEMA Show. Indeed, DEMA Show remains the only trade-only trade show specific to the diving and scuba industry. This four-day event attracts 6,000+ diving professionals from all over the world.

Yet the unprecedented times of 2020 call for unprecedented solutions. Now DEMA Show remerges in 2021. It’s reshaped with timely in-depth training and insights from industry trailblazers. Most importantly, DEMA Show 2021 offers the support of a global community to assist businesses through 2021 and beyond.

CSG Creative’s Art Director, Courtney Lopes, invited two other colleagues and myself to help brand DEMA Show 2021 with a fresh core creative and optimistic visual brand identity.

In short, the director tasked us each to design two brand identity concepts per marketing tagline under consideration:

  • Open for Business
  • Find New Direction
  • Open for Opportunity

I presented six brand identity concepts, with one advancing to the client presentation. While the client ultimately chose a “wild card” brand identity by another colleague, my conceptual branding nonetheless tackled the themes with diverse and fresh creative looks.

My Role

Digital Designer

Art Direction

Courtney Lopes

Agency

CSG Creative

My Initial Brand Identity Concepts

I challenged myself with diverse creative styles in these brand identity concepts:

“Open for Opportunity”—
My Top Concept

This marketing tagline was perhaps the most optimistic of all. Therefore the brand identity design here really needed to be warm, collaborative, and hopeful.

The client expressed a creative preference for “a vibrant but not ‘full-on rainbow’ feel to convey a message of all-in, strength, hope, and togetherness.” With trending 2021 gradients and dawn-like colors, I pursued an open, airy, and inviting branding concept.

Other creative requirements included a greater focus on the diving equipment. Furthermore, said equipment must present an accurate and safe set-up. My brand identity concept highlights the most prominent diving equipment.

I approach core creatives with “future-proofing” in mind—my designs must be scalable.

This branding concept removes clutter. It further allows easily resizable and re-positionable elements. Ensuring scalability at this stage streamlines building for the web later: since web pages, emails, and web ads feature extreme aspect ratios and odd sizes, the concept requires flexibility.

1st brand identity concept and branding feature image for the marketing tagline, "Open for Opportunity."

“Find New Direction”—
My Top Concept

The whole year of 2020 disrupted the whole dive industry in major ways. It’s no surprise, then, that 2021 requires adaption. This marketing tagline inspires DEMA Show’s attendees: “Everywhere you look, you will find solutions to inspire your next professional adventure and change how you do business.”

Like the previous brand identity concept, this one similarly spotlights various diving equipment. Clean, flexible monoline icons float about the brand identity.

Additionally, the client further expressed desire for a stronger diving connection than in the past. However, no lone divers. Indeed, all divers shown must have a buddy as well as proper equipment set-up per DEMA specifications. Finally, the client is also averse to showing faces. Concealed faces allow anyone to picture themselves instead. Consequently, these creative preferences limited stock photos choices.

As a result, each stock photo option was carefully reviewed against set-up guidelines and Photoshopped into compliance where needed.

With a nod to the water in a watercolor background, and a bold complimentary color scheme indicating a quick business pivot, my top brand identity concept for “Find New Direction” faces the future with an optimistic, upward trajectory.

1st brand identity concept and branding feature image for the marketing tagline, "Find New Direction."

“Open for Business”—
My Top Concept

DEMA board’s last marketing tagline spun-off the first: open for business. The pandemic forced many of DEMA’s clients to close shop. Now, 2021 teases a pandemic solution and return to a (new) normal. Consequently, many DEMAs clients are eager to open for business again.

DEMA Show 2021 promises its attendees, “Together, we’ll navigate through in-depth training for this new world, address shared challenges, and explore new ways to connect with customers, all to help lead your business or career to success in 2021.”

Although past shows strongly favor blue, I introduced 2021’s fresh and optimistic colors. For example, these brand identity concepts include the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year, Illuminating Yellow, as well as aegean teal, millennial purple, and living coral. (Learn more about these colors in The Big Post on 2021 Design Trends!)

Similar to my brand identity concept #2 above, monoline icons return. However, this concept spotlights more than dive equipment—it also spotlights values of the trade show itself in the exhibition booth and business briefcase.

I explore the theme of open vs. closed through several design elements to set the stage for Open for Business:

  • Strong drop shadows provide 3D depth to the design, lifting elements into open space.
  • I also create a “wall” of icons closing off the design, but they open for the tagline.
  • A fish acts as an arrow directing the headline (and readers!) to the future right, opening a safe path past business obstacles.
1st brand identity concept and branding feature image for the marketing tagline, "Open for Business."

The Art Director’s Chosen Core Concept

The CSG Director Art Director was only presenting to the client five ideas across the three potential taglines. However, the CSG team had many excellent choices!  Ultimately, only one of my six concepts made the cut: it was an underdog!

This core concept revitalized their 2018 creative preferences: the circular format returned, as did the flat vector graphics, and blue-green palette.

A Work in Progress—

This client prefers keeping words altogether. On the other hand, my Art Director loves to split words into impressively large characters. As a result, I balanced the creative preferences. Instead I presented a few different headline treatments for consideration, both with whole and broken words. Naturally, the dark teal design (second shown) caught the Art Director’s eye!

The main concept I explored in these looks was traveling into a brighter future. A dark tunnel represents the tribulations encountered in 2020. Yet, the words of DEMA Show escape the tunnel into a bright, open space.

Post-Revisions—

The Art Director revised my initial concept to add more bubbles, more photos, more sea life, and larger typography. Although I miss the white space of my original design, maximalism is still a big trend! I also shared that the revised core concept might present scalability issues later, since the type is so deeply layered into the design.

The final 2nd brand identity creative concept for the marketing tagline, "Open for Business."

In the End

Ultimately, the client didn’t choose my design. So my visions here remain conceptual only. My colleagues just had too many great options! As always, I’m excited to execute the chosen core creative across all their digital media.