Squaring the Story Arc: Wakeman at 20

A narrative-driven brand refresh for a narrative-defiant strategic communications agency.

The Wakeman Agency’s 20th anniversary is not a destination but a jumping off point. This is the story of how we connected and expanded our Wakeman at 20 vision through visual and brand storytelling.

Wakeman’s work is founded on deconstructing stories and using them as tools to challenge the narratives of oppressive and dominant structures. Every design choice was imbued with deep narrative meaning and every design element became a micro-story, a building block and a constant reminder that every pixel and word we put down on the pages of history contributes to shaping its arc towards a world where more and more people have space to tell their own story.

We distilled three principles that drove the project conceptually in a way that felt true to our brand values and ways of operating.

  • Equity as a Network
  • The Shape of Storytelling
  • Framing as Focus 

Equity as a Network

At the Wakeman Agency, we know that Equity comes from understanding the interplay between diverse experiences; by connecting our own to those of others we carved shared spaces for each other. Much in the same way that we’re composed of a myriad of smaller elements that make up our bodies, we are in turn cells of a larger social organism.

Those dynamic and vibrant interactions tell our shared story, and become the stage where Voronoi cells and fractals make up our visual design system.

The Shape of Storytelling

To shape the interactions that make up the systems that we live in, we cannot get stuck in circles, nor can we overlook how we need to maintain the space we have carved for each other in a world where history —and its inequities— repeats itself. Knowing that our journey is in sync with the larger arc of history, stories become the building blocks of our brand, as we prepare to build on the work that we began in 2003.

Our client engagements, the team members working on them and the people at the center of the stories we shape orbit The Wakeman Agency’s story in the same way that we orbit the larger story of social transformation, always moving forward in a helical motion toward justice

Reach out and let us help you shape your story towards equitable and effective communications.