While I was growing up, I noticed that there was a schism between the so-called academic learning and the more vocational learning. The former provided stronger theoretical foundations which sometimes alienated the learner from the more practical applications whilst the latter offered hands-on experience but would require time to understand the deeper rules that governed the profession. It dawned on me that there was a need to bridge the gap between those two methods of learning, and even beyond this mere example, to cater for various learning styles. Learners would strongly benefit from being immersed in their disciplines’ environment at the same time as getting to grips with the theories underpinning the field.
A question had been burning within me since then… It would be ideal to provide such training but how do we ensure that learners would see the benefits of it? How do we make training more effective, accessible and affordable? How do we get to make that positive impact in people’s lives whilst making sure that:
- They are getting the best and most complete training using best practice and state of the art technology and facilities;
- They are supported wherever they are in the world, whatever their learning styles, both during their learning and their hands on experience by accredited instructors;
- They can afford it.
What we offer should equip users with the tools to identify and achieve their career dreams. We wanted to build a brand that would improve both personal and corporate goals and basically we wanted to make a difference in the training industry.
Brainstorming and naming the brand
It became obvious that the best way to birth the full concept and, in effect our brand, was to put ourselves in an environment conducive to creativity. The other secret ingredient for this recipe was to collaborate with the people who shared the same dream and thereby completely got my drift. All that was left was to find both the place and the partner.
I was on one of our regular dinner outing in one of Manchester’s beautiful restaurants with one of my collaborators. Myself and Reni did not set out to do any more than have a good meal and talk about what we were up to. The ambience of the restaurant was relaxing giving us the right environment for productive thoughts. After the second course, our talk somehow converged to this training centre dream and how we could take things further. We got so into it that we didn’t want it to be just another interesting idea. We wanted and needed to put things in place.
We were now speaking of a company: its name, its setup, a team strategy.. these were all topics of our dinner debate. We were shaping a vision, our mission, and the very values that we stood for. We did not just have the vision of industry-standard practice and tools, learner-centred courses and more affordable training. We had a greater mission to enhance and empower our trainees by providing real-life application of course contents wherever they are in the world, whilst of course being based in the UK ourselves. We stood on the solid foundations provided by our values: Integrity, Respect for Individual, Continuous Improvement, Flexibility and Excellence.
Back at home, we knew what had come out of that meeting. The name of the company had to reflect our purpose, vision and mission and be grounded by our values. We could not back down anymore and continued to cogitate. The word “empower” continued particularly to nag us and the name just came up to us one day in the kitchen: WayMaker Learning. After that, we knew that our company’s practices would need to follow the rules we formerly established, from its setup to its execution, to the very selection of our staff and suppliers. But most of all, our branding needed to resonate the same message with and to our clientele.
Designing the brand
Fast forward to a few weeks later, a team was identified to help us put things in place. Our suppliers’ distribution across the world should allow us to ensure that we catered for international customers. I engaged with our design team working offshore about the concept of the business. I was particularly insistent on the requirement to ensure that our business branding reflected how we wanted the company to be perceived by our customers.
The logo was the obvious graphic identity that would have WayMaker Learning recognised instantly. It needed to reflect the ideas brainstormed earlier. But beyond that, it needed to have a deeper meaning. I had to go further into what I thought our company’s provisions and services should mean for our customers. I had to create a feeling.
I then remembered several instances in my childhood of the kind of feeling of empowerment that I wanted to create. Growing up in a third-world country, we had issues with electricity not being constant and once it got dark outside, we would have to put on oil lamps to illuminate the home and environments before bedtime. For me, it was a way to see an existing pathway.
I immediately realised that the concept of an oil lamp with fire burning right on top of it was the representation that best described what the company stood for. The WayMaker Learning Logo would therefore depict guidance for an individual or a corporate organisation that requires personal mentoring or career support. This includes an interactive environment and a practical learning and development pathway for each person to achieve their purpose.
Developing a digital identity for the brand
After several days of deliberations and constant changes to bring our idea into graphic reality, we finally agreed on a design for the Logo! The colours had to be vibrant and stand out. The design had to be clean, professional and minimalist. The motto had to be part of some of the instances of the logo.
We chose to have two colours representing the brand. We chose a shade of blue and a shade of green to complement our reasoning. The green resonated with newness and a lighter shade of it showed as a fire on the oil lamp. This therefore allowed us to demonstrate both newness and light, two ideas of fire blended together. The blue, to us, spoke about foundations, base materials and we wanted to build WayMaker Learning on the foundation of a peaceful, friendly environment that people will always look forward to coming to and being a part of. We also liked the denotation in the colours blue and green of calmness and tranquillity, the basis where all issues are laid down and discussed and resolutions are made.
This is how, from a childhood obsession and through the empowerment of an oil lamp, the logo behind a dream was unveiled.