When I attended my first White Bear Lake Downtown Business Association meeting, I jumped at the chance to refresh the image of their current “Girls [sic] Night Out”. I’d received their emails in the past, and—being the branding snob that I am—knew that the emails weren’t doing a good job of appealing to their target audiences or communicating what the event was about. So I—gulp—volunteered to give the program a refresh.

As I wrote about earlier, stereotypes and cliches abound in Girls’ Night Out (note correct use of possessive apostrophe) marketing. As far as I could tell, marketers and their designers everywhere took the theme a little too literally—with all of the flowers, Barbie-like images and pink thrown up everywhere, you’d think they were marketing to 4-12 year olds. I made a conscious effort to class it up and de-pinkify the identity.

In White Bear Lake, the stores appeal to a variety of demographics—from charming little knitting and quilting shops to foodie-friendly olive oil boutiques. The women coming to GNO events would likely be mother-daughter pairs, doing a little shopping and having a bite to eat or some coffee at Grandma’s Bakery vs. bar-hopping Carrie Bradshaw-like shoppers. Yep, White Bear Lake, with it’s family-friendly “up North” vibe and strong sense of community needed to communicate more of a MaryAnn vibe than a Ginger.

White Bear Lake Girls' Night Out logo

The new logo for White Bear Lake's Girls' Night Out event

Skipping ahead to the end result, I designed a simple logo that feels like a monogram of sorts that puts the city at the heart of the event. Lake blue and golden yellow create a friendly and upbeat vibe. A rippled wave border at the top of the email nods to the city’s namesake and landmark, and a sophisticated script font invites women to join in the event. Now, here’s the before and after:

GIrls NIght Out Before

Before: Girls Night Out email lacks branding

Girls' Night Out After

AFTER: Girls' Night Out email looks branded, appeals to female audience without resorting to cliches.

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