Volleyball Evolution

The saying, “Time flies” sure doesn’t apply here. Two years in the making and five years before that, working with the Alberta Volleyball Association and talking about updating their branding has finally led us here. I was invested in this project. The AVA was my first client when I began my freelance career. Their original logo was created by in-house staff back in the 80’s and had established it’s visual brand since then.

The current Executive Director approached me about the project and understanding the importance and influence they had, and I saw quite the serious challenge. Not only did he want to change the logo but also the name to connect with other similar organizations in Canada. Moving the word volleyball to the beginning was to identify what their service was as the priority, but the element that also identifies them from other’s is it’s connection to its region, Alberta.

This re-brand was divided up into three phases. The first was research. We interviewed the staff and then created two sets of surveys for the membership to complete. We were overwhelmed with responses. Out of the 3,000+ membership we were hoping for about 500 responses. In the end, we got three times that amount with half of the membership completing the survey and providing us with their very honest views and thoughts. So it can’t be said that this design was not directed by its own membership.

The second phase focused on creating the logo. We went through a variety of directions in the brainstorming phase and was directed by feedback from the administration. Through everything, our strategy was inspired by evolving the brand.

The evolution
Due to the history and how long the original logo was in use, it was established that the re-brand had to respect it’s history while at the same time evolve to meet the new generations’ design savvy expectations. Because the stitching design of the volleyball changes over time this element was avoided in the final so the logo could be used for another 10+ years without it becoming dated again.

The response
Working for a year with the association's staff, board and committee as well as surveying the membership with over 1,600 responses, ended with this resulted design. It was presented to the full board by the administration staff and was not well received. I was asked to represent the design a couple of months later to the executive. This time around I walked them through the full design process and strategy. This presentation did go over well with 85% of the board agreeing to go forward with the initial pitch. Comments and feedback that were negative in the beginning turned around, claiming they warmed up to it. The fact that the design ‘grew’ on the committee boded well. The highest praise is hearing how the volleyball players are loving the new look and proudly wearing the Volleyball Alberta brand.

The strategy
It was the growth of the association that required the design to be able to give it’s divisions and departments an opportunity to be featured. Due to the name change of the association for Alberta Volleyball to Volleyball Alberta, the logo type is placed first with the icon on the left. This allows for the right side of the icon to place logo type for each of the divisions. Where their logo can be used together with the corporate brand or as a stand alone with the icon establishing the connection.

Flexibility by design
The final selling feature of the design was the ability to be flexible with the use of each of the elements. Providing stacked as well as vertical options allow for the logo to be employed in a variety of ways depending on the need.

I would like to acknowledge that this whole project is based on collaboration with the staff of Volleyball Alberta as well as the consultation of Tevis Sample, a fellow designer I was lucky enough to connect with via LinkedIn. A design of this magnitude is never done in a bubble – it needs to be a team effort with the client as well as utilising the experience and perspectives of other creative professionals.