Behind The New United Adworkers Rebranding
Thursday January 14, 2016
I spent the first 18 years of my life at odds with the city of Milwaukee. I don’t know if it was because of my overbearing and over-protective parents who wouldn’t let me and my siblings travel outside the tri-city area of Greenfield, Greendale, and Hales Corners, or if it was the over-whelming smell of yeast from the Miller facility downtown that would waft into our neighborhood on occasion, but whatever it was I left it behind when I moved to Minnesota for college with no intention of ever returning.
After a few years of bouncing around the Midwest, working in Madison and Minneapolis, I ended up back in Milwaukee in the fall of 2013. And when I arrived something unexpected happened…I started to like Milwaukee. A lot. I’m sure being of the legal drinking age helped; it opened up a side of this city I had never seen before. But I’d be kidding myself if I dismissed the notion that United Adworkers had something to do with it. It’s because of this organization that I’ve developed relationships with people I consider some of my best friends, and I am forever indebted to this organization for that fact alone.
Like most creatives, I like to spend my spare time taking on side projects and toying with the idea of potential rebrands. Often times these exercises are fruitless and go nowhere, but I thought maybe, just maybe, if I found a brand I was passionate enough about, the leaders of that brand might hear me out. Almost immediately United Adworkers came to mind. This organization has done so much for me since moving back to Milwaukee, and yet, I got the sense that many of my peers were still confused as to what exactly United Adworkers did. Could a new logo and website, along with expanding student and community outreach efforts usher in a new generation of Adworkers? I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to find out.
So when I approached Gary Mueller and Laura Gainor about a potential rebrand for United Adworkers back in August, I did so almost with reticence because I didn’t want to insinuate that they were outdated or out-of-touch. In fact, I think United Adworkers is poised to be one of the leading ad clubs in the nation. Having been a member of design and ad organizations in Madison and Minneapolis, I can say confidently that the members of United Adworkers have just as much raw talent and passion for their work. But I also think we’ve yet to truly tap into that talent and passion.
That said, this new branding does not come from a place of distaste or disdain for the current state of United Adworkers, but rather from a deeply rooted passion for what they aim to do. It’s about building upon and improving the advertising and creativity community in Milwaukee, and to prove to those in other major advertising hubs that we’re worth a damn. Because when we say honest, hardworking, and true, it’s not just a slogan. It’s a way of life for the people who work in this industry in this city. It’s my hope that you don’t see this rebrand as a giant middle finger to the Adworkers before us, but rather as an extended hand. Let’s remake your acquaintance as well as the rest of the industry here in Milwaukee, and build a stronger advertising community together.
I want to thank Matt McNulty for being my partner in crime throughout this process. He helped refine the brand beyond just a logo and wordmark, and has been instrumental in bringing it to life. Joe Salvatori also deserves major props for developing the new website. His knowledge and insight has proven invaluable. Both Matt and Joe gave up a great deal of their free time to assist with this project, and their passion for United Adworkers shows because of it. I also want to thank Gary Mueller and Laura Gainor for entertaining this admittedly wild idea in the first place. And last, but unequivocally not least, the members of United Adworkers. You are some of the coolest fucking people I have ever met.