Brand refresh: Marketing That Means Business

The Marketing Achievement Awards is an annual celebration of marketing as a strategic business discipline. The competition aims to set a benchmark for marketing standards by recognising those marketing initiatives that have made the most valuable contributions to their businesses’ and society. 

To kick off the third season of the awards, post-pandemic, it was time for a refreshed positioning and updated identity to elevate and simplify the brand while setting the benchmark for marketing excellence.

Setting out to build marketing’s stature in business, shape the industry, and promote it as an illustrious career choice, the new brand had to be sophisticated, creatively curious, catalytic, and professional.  

At the heart of our brand refresh for MAA lies a powerful inspiration, the awards body's brand positioning: "Marketing that means business". It's the foundation upon which we built a visual identity that speaks volumes. 


If you look closely at the MAA logo, you'll notice a subtle but significant element – the spotlight. This spotlight is emblematic of the MAA Board's role in casting a radiant light on the remarkable achievements of both clients and their marketing partners. Just as a spotlight illuminates a stage, we spotlight the excellence achieved in the marketing arena. 


Our visual language draws from the world of theatre and performance. The imagery of lights, stages, and the triangular beam reflects the impactful and transformative nature of marketing initiatives. Just as a well-placed spotlight can create stunning visual effects, effective marketing can produce resounding impacts on businesses and society. 


We wanted to convey that MAA is not just about creativity for the sake of it; it's about creativity that delivers tangible business solutions. The brand communicates that marketing drives real business results, and this duality was at the core of our approach.

The colour palette is bold and bright. Purple represents leadership and creativity, as well as being respectable and original. The purple is complemented with secondary colours, which are a combination of bright and muted hues, creating a technological nuance. Purple is used mainly for the primary brand, with highlights from the secondary colours. The secondary colours can be used predominantly for campaigns or categories.

The icon becomes a central point of the creation of the patterns, that either radiate from the centre or can be stepped and repeated to create various geometric patterns. The pattern’s colours can be adapted to use other combinations of the colour palette. 

Imagery themes used for the MAA brand are centred around lights, similar to being at the awards evening, which adds a technology element. There is also no direct focus on people; they are portrayed in an indirect manner through silhouettes and crops.

By recognising the most valuable contributions to businesses and society, MAA underscores the pivotal role of marketing in driving growth and transformation. The Marketing Achievement Awards (MAA) evening is more than just a gala event; it's a celebration of the profound impact and successes of the marketing industry. 

All the event collateral followed the theme of ‘Marketing that Means Business’, shining a light on all the nominees and winners. We ran a live social media campaign, highlighting all the winners throughout the night.  

The design of the Marketing Achievement Awards trophy was created using the shapes of the brand icon. This structured shape is representative of the methodical and business-focused side of the awards. The terrazzo tile texture, more abstract and artistic in nature, represents creativity, fully combining the analytical and creative dynamics of the MAA. 

The brand’s origin in light is also represented in the prism shape of the trophy, making these objects refractors of light in a figurative sense, highlighting the marketing excellence of brands and individuals.


Brand refresh: A new beginning

Tswalu is a privately owned game reserve in the heart of the Kalahari, founded by the Oppenheimer family. The ecotourism destination serves as the epicentre of a conservation project to return the Kalahari to its former state. Tswalu consists of three unique business areas, a luxury eco-resort, an artist’s residency, and a research facility geared towards understanding and conserving key ecosystems of the region. The funds derived from the resort funnel directly into the study and preservation of the environment and its inhabitants. The artist’s residency, in turn, provides artists of varying disciplines the opportunity to study and capture the fauna and flora of the region, culminating in an art exhibition to raise funds for the Tswalu Foundation.

Tswalu decided to turn a new leaf and reposition the brand to capture the various areas of the business and promote the understanding, empowerment, and artistic interpretation of the Kalahari ecosystem and the wider communities.



CSS Design Awards 2019: Innovation Design Award (Tswalu website) 

CSS Design Awards 2019: Special Kudos Award (Tswalu website) 

CSS Design Awards 2019: UI Design Award (Tswalu website) 

CSS Design Awards 2019: UX Design Award (Tswalu website)

The Tswalu brand positioning was inspired by two key pillars: the Oppenheimer family creed “To leave our world better than how we found it” and the San people’s ethos of respecting and preserving the land for future generations. In keeping with this methodology, the Tswalu identity captured the three principles of history, art, and conservation. Tswalu’s history is represented by the ancient petroglyphs found on the property. These marks left for future generations mirrored Tswalu’s creed: to leave our world better than how we found it.  


This is a new chapter in the Kalahari’s evolution, where people are once again respecting and preserving the land, thus leaving their mark on the area. Art is represented through our exploration of contemporary Bushman art, using modern techniques to reinterpret their history. The final form of the identity is inspired by the Camelthorn tree, a native protected species in South Africa. 


The new brand challenges the misconception of the Kalahari as a lifeless desert and positions the region as a lush, green oasis worthy of preservation

The word Tswalu can be translated as 'a new beginning,' a concept beautifully mirrored in the use of a botanical symbol to represent life, growth, and rejuvenation.

The colour palette is inspired by the Kalahari and its natural flora. The dark hills, distinctive red sand, rich greenery, and vibrant yellow flowers of the Camelthorn tree all add a unique colour story to our brand.  


The browns are indicative of the perception of the Kalahari as dry and desolate, while the vibrant and rich greens and yellows showcase the reality of the Kalahari’s rejuvenation. 


Inspired by the botanical theme of the new Tswalu identity, we incorporated botanical studies of the regional flora into our visual language system, thus visually preserving and celebrating the conservation of the Kalahari.  


As a starting point, we approached Gill Condy, a renowned botanical artist and current artist in residence at Tswalu, to create a series for botanical studies to be used in our collateral.

The brand guidelines are inspired by traditional field guides and naturalist journals. These documents are generally used to document the behaviours and characteristics of various animal and botanical species. This pocket guide documents the behaviours and characteristics of the Tswalu brand, including current snapshots and notes for ease of reference.

As part of the brand relaunch, Tswalu partnered with Michelin-starred South African chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen to offer a unique dining experience to its guests. Opening an extension of his renowned French restaurant called Klein Jan at Tswalu. The unique dining experience offered personalised menus as wax-sealed letters to our guests.

Photography courtesy of Rachel L’Antigua for Style | Native and Tswalu Game Reserve. 

Video courtesy of Tswalu Game Reserve.