Volunteer project for nonprofit Smile Team. Lara Lee retains copyright.
The Smile Team is a volunteer group composed of employees from National Trade Productions (NTP) and its in-house marketing agency CSG Creative all dedicated to promoting a fun, positive office culture. Whether by recognizing employee milestones like work anniversaries or birthdays, sponsoring holiday festivities, or inviting employees to simply take pause in the workday to get social with each other, Smile Team is a big part of the company culture.
Currently, Smile Team has no graphics of its own nor any sort of logo or other identifying marks. This makes it difficult for people to distinguish Smile Team events from those a sister group, the Culture Club, and results in a less professional appearance. Additionally, Smile Team members retired when they left NTP or CSG. Smile Team hopes to promote interest in the group, both to better engage existing members as well as grow in the future.
A team member of Smile Team expressed a desire to stand out better and look more professional while it’s conducting its operations in the office. An official logo design, core identity, and marketing kit for Smile Team will improve its public perception and facilitate both internal and external communications.
It all begins with the logo design, the primary identifying mark of Smile Team. A Smile Team member described their brand as “friendly” and “festive,” so the logo needed to be personable. Yet Smile Team is also an office event. The logo design also needed to be trim and tidy.
Furthermore, Smile Team’s core identity is fun and festive with its iconic artsy palette. Most importantly, since volunteers who may or may not have graphic design experience will handle Smile Team creative and marketing, the new core identity remains easy to execute using pre-built templates and a library of on-brand graphics.
With a name like Smile Team, it felt obvious to embed a smiley face somewhere within the logo design. I experimented with loose, organic forms with shapes I hoped mimicked brushstroke typography. Smile Team is fun and hands-on, so the crafty, artistic aesthetic of a hand-lettered logomark seemed appropriate. I also experimented with various combinations of geometric shapes, but I ultimately decided these felt almost too tidy for Smile Team.
The Smile Team was the most excited when I unveiled their custom, responsive, mobile-friendly email templates. (For the record, I was told, their frenemy Culture Club does not have branded emails.) The templates are: Memo with Photo, Memo without Photo, Featured Event, Upcoming Events, and Newsletter. The variety gives Smile Team a lot of flexibility to advertise events and share news. Each template design is also compatible with MailChimp’s WYSIWYG editor so Smile Team members can create custom emails without any coding experience whatsoever. As a result, Smile Team’s core identity expanded into the digital realm with low-cost ease.