The Branding Process Leading to Our Transform Award

Here at Embark, we are thrilled to share a very special achievement from this year with you  – we were honored with the Transform Award (Silver) for Best Visual Identity by a Charity, NGO or NFP. Hosted by Transform Magazine, this is the only awards program to celebrate the power of rebranding and brand development. This award is special to us because of the incredible brand behind it.

The Story Behind the Transformation: Meet Camp Starfish

Camp Starfish, a haven for children with special needs, offers a unique 1:1 ratio with camp counselors. The impact of their mission captured our attention and inspired our team.

The journey with Camp Starfish began at the end of 2022 when they approached us with a simple request—to collaborate on the creation of a new website. Little did we know the exciting transformation that was to come. What started as a refresh evolved organically into a comprehensive rebranding initiative, as we dove into the essence of Camp Starfish’s vision and purpose.

The Challenges Faced by Camp Starfish

When Camp Starfish approached us, they faced several challenges with their existing brand. Firstly, their logo had not been revised for over a decade and appeared differently across various platforms and materials. Secondly, there were no clear guidelines on how to utilize the logo, resulting in inconsistent brand implementation across their website, social media platforms, and promotional materials. Moreover, the previous logo did not accurately convey Camp Starfish’s unique selling proposition of a 1:1 staff-to-child ratio, which they were proud to offer their campers.

Our Approach: Refreshing the Brand and Telling the Starfish Story

When we presented an opportunity to more accurately and visually represent their brand, they were open to a complete logo remake that would better align with their mission and value proposition. 

Visual Highlight: The Logo

When revamping their logo, we encouraged them to go for a completely new one that tells their story better. We used two stars to highlight Camp Starfish’s 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio. The refreshed typography and color palette not only brought a modern touch to their brand but also remained faithful to their mission. The incorporation of a cursive, hand-written font was used to resonate with the spirit of a children’s camp. It serves as a nod to the art of scrapbooking, capturing the essence of children joyfully preserving unforgettable moments. 

Additionally, the carefully chosen colors, derived from their previous brand, were separated to elicit emotions of hope and joy. This design approach set the brand apart, infusing it with a positive and uplifting atmosphere that aligns with the camp’s ethos.

This is a graphical illustration with a camping motif, featuring icons like tents, trees, campfires, and mountains, centered around the "Camp Starfish" logo.

Visual Highlight: Brand Guide and Stylescape

In addition to the logo refresh, we also developed a brand guide and stylescape to help Camp Starfish’s internal team maintain consistency in their branding and materials. We wanted the values and amazing mission of Camp Starfish to be narrated in imagery, colors and design. We knew that it was important for the brand to appeal to both adults, who are the parents of the children with special needs, and the children themselves. We wanted parents and educators to perceive Camp Starfish as a professional and credible organization, while also creating a sense of safety and fun for the children.

A promotional collage for Camp Starfish featuring two people smiling, summer camp imagery, inspiring messages, and camp logo in a cheerful design.
This image displays a promotional graphic for a camp with text describing benefits, an alphabet typographic guide, and a photo of people fishing by a lake.

Merging Two Worlds: Professionalism and Playfulness

Merging these two worlds was not an easy task, but we approached it with a design strategy that involved patterns, a refined color palette, and modern organic lines. The color palette retained the original blue, yellow, and green colors, but in tones that harmonized well together. 

We recognized that beyond the name, logo, and icons, the proper use of color could be the most recognizable aspect of the Camp Starfish brand identity. Thus, we carefully selected colors that complemented the existing ones, with secondary and tertiary hues that added dynamism to the brand. Tertiary colors, such as green, mid-tone blue, and orange, were used sparingly for accent purposes only.

Type “Hello:” The Importance of Typography

Typography played a crucial role in the brand identity as well. We carefully selected fonts that gave the brand a modern and playful feel while maintaining professionalism. Typography was used thoughtfully to add visual meaning to the conveyed message. The chosen typefaces, New Spirit and Lato, offered a wide range of styles that allowed for flexibility in various advertorial applications. Besteam, a third typeface, was used solely for accent purposes, adding a scrapbook feel to the brand.

A webpage layout with a title "The Starfish Experience," featuring typography samples and a background photo of two children and a person walking outdoors.

Elevating Visuals with Subtle Camp Motifs

In addition, we introduced patterns with subtle camp motifs that juxtaposed the primary deep blue color in the palette. These patterns added depth and visual interest to the brand, elevating its overall design. The end result was a high-design brand that was not only aesthetically pleasing but also effectively conveyed the unique selling propositions of Camp Starfish.

The image shows examples of a pattern against dark blue, yellow, and white backgrounds, with varying opacity levels and color codes provided for each.

Results that Exceeded Expectations

The brand refresh and website redesign for Camp Starfish were enthusiastically received by the client and surpassed their initial objectives. The new logo, incorporating the Starfish story and showcasing the 1:1 staff-to-child ratio, resonated strongly with the camp’s target audience of parents with children with special needs. The brand guide and stylescape provided clear and concise guidelines for consistent branding, enabling Camp Starfish’s internal team to maintain a cohesive and professional brand image across various platforms. 

The brand materials were then utilized to create a website with high-design aesthetics and a user-friendly interface that appealed to both adults and children, leaving a positive impression of Camp Starfish as a safe and enjoyable place for children with special needs.

Elevating Your Brand with Embark's Digital Marketing Excellence

Embark takes immense pride in being awarded the Transform Award for Best Visual Identity by a Charity, NGO, or NFP. This recognition underscores our commitment to transformative digital marketing, exemplified by our work with inspiring organizations like Camp Starfish. 

If you want to see our full work for Camp Starfish, check out our portfolio page:

A Custom Approach for Every Brand

Working with Camp Starfish was a dream, because it married what we love as a brand: inspiration and vision. By the end, we felt like a family. Everyone on our team was so inspired and moved by the mission of Camp Starfish, and in turn we were able to create a passionate, compelling brand that echoed their story. 

We love working with brands that inspire us. If your brand has a powerful mission and seeks a fresh perspective to articulate it visually, let’s collaborate to breathe new life into your vision and create a lasting impact.

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