2012 was a pretty interesting year for the Communications portfolio, and hopefully the hard work of my predecessors, and the various subcommittees I have had the good fortune to have watched work, will be borne out this month at the AGM.
What I am still pretty sure started out under Cheran Mangat as “we really need to freshen up the PowerPoint template” has ballooned into a complete revised look or “rebranding” of the CSEG. As I prepare this report, the new logo and its associated look are in a minor state of limbo pending copyright reviews, but I will take the leap of faith that in the near future all will be approved and the AGM will bring forth the start of a new look to the CSEG.
I am probably mistaken that the entire effort which currently has been about 2 years in the making arose entirely from the need to improve lame PowerPoints, but it does make for a good story. The last few executives have been making an increasing effort to recognize the shifting demographic in the industry, and the need for the society to be not just more progressive, but more proactive and broader reaching: not to just the existing membership, but to the greater Canadian geoscience community. The look of the society had become dated for lack of a better way to describe it, and a general feeling had developed that it might be time for a new look.
In hindsight, it feels like the process of selecting a design agency to develop the CSEG’s new brand was more work than the redesign itself. Several professional design agencies were invited to tender proposals, their proposals were reviewed, and then the tender was reopened based on third party advice. Finally, the design contract was awarded to an agency which just seemed to be the right fit to everyone. This of course led to the whole process of “finalizing the contract” which went reasonably smooth (as smoothly as it can when numerous volunteers must be coordinated via email to approve contract terms) and finally the design process was underway!
The design process was the really fun part, basically answering questions and providing the design group with what the CSEG was really all about and what we really needed. The process was not nearly as simple as it sounds there. We set the mandate of create “something that looks good, and we’d really rather you not change the logo” (a very loose paraphrasing) and sent the designers away to design and waited for their call. To come up with the right look and feel for the CSEG the design group visited the 2012 GeoConvention and consulted with several prominent members of the society, in addition to scouring our website, and flipping through issues of the RECORDER. Well of course our design agency came back having thrown out everything that we thought we wanted and popped up with an 11 x 17 of the new logo on it in bright, brand new colours and within 5 minutes everyone in the room thought it was the best thing that could have happened. Bear in mind, the entire design process was overseen by the newly reformed Website committee: a fairly diverse mix of ages and experience within the CSEG, and at least 50% of the committee was pretty sure that the existing logo was good, so for them to agree so rapidly was in itself a feat.
Finalizing the design, refining colours, was another three months or so, with a few months of limbo pending executive approval and acceptance. It was a great eye opener for me personally, how widely accepted the complete rebranding was when various opinions were requested. It may be a testimonial to the design itself.
Now comes the simple process of implementation, which I appear to be leaving to my successors Jason Schweigert who will be taking over immediately, and the incoming Assistant Director of Communications Meghan Brown. This is the point where I want to say “good luck and goodbye”, but unfortunately can’t.
As the design process was going on, a few other odds and ends were thrown into the mix. The RECORDER will be getting a makeover in the near term with its online version, and with the print version will be rebranded shortly. As well, a revamped website should be nearly up and running now as you read this. Indeed, if all goes well, you could be reading this online via tablet or smartphone. The initial hope is to have most elements of the society rebranded within the calendar year, and allow for this to provide for a stronger and more “member-friendly” society. If it wasn’t the PowerPoints it might have been the complaint about searching the online RECORDER...