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An historic change for gender equity

  • What we did
  • Strategy
  • Brand Communication
  • UX & UI
  • Web Development
  • Research

The context

Women’s Health West (WHW) has been the women’s health service for the western metropolitan region of Melbourne for over 30 years. As part of their goal to achieve gender equity in the west, WHW gives women living, working or studying in seven local government areas access to health promotion and primary prevention programs and family violence services.

Their health promotion and primary prevention program plans and implements activities designed to promote women’s health, safety and wellbeing across three key areas – sexual and reproductive health, mental health, and prevention of violence against women. While their family violence service provides women and children with the range of services they require while in crisis – such as court support, crisis housing and case management – through to services designed to promote healing and recovery, such as children’s counselling.

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A new era

In early 2020, WHW began to develop a new organisational strategic plan, and to define their organisational values. They recognised the flow-on effect of this, and decided to also invest in community engagement, brand strategy and a new visual identity with us here at Liquorice.

By undertaking brand research and community engagement, WHW aimed to truly understand the reputation of WHW and how key stakeholders perceived them, in order to make the most informed decisions about how to evolve the brand. They also recognised that their visual identity no longer reflected the inclusive, intersectional and agile organisation they were striving to be, and that a change was needed.

As a highly collaborative organisation, working with communities, government and local agencies, it was important for WHW that any decisions were made with input from key stakeholders.

Stage 1: Research

Our brand team got to work, planning the interviews of a huge range of key stakeholders, including government, philanthropic organisations, partner organisations, Women’s Health West members, donors and staff. The questions covered the perception of the current WHW brand and asked for input into what the next era of WHW could and should look like. Questions such as:

  • What is the WHW brand currently known for within the community?
  • What should the WHW brand be known for?
  • What might a safe, accessible, and inclusive brand look like to you?

We also conducted desktop research, looking at similar organisations in the sector to get a feeling for the context the WHW brand will live within, and establishing some ways the new brand could differentiate itself and stand out.

We then created a full research report with recommendations on how to proceed and presented it to the WHW directors, CEO, communications and board. Once everyone was on the same page about how best to proceed, we got stuck into strategy.

Stage 2: Strategy

With the research and recommendations shining a light on the best path forward, it was time to walk it. We developed a concise brand strategy, including:

  • A brand essence; a single word premise that encapsulates the spirit of WHW
  • Value propositions, which help to carve out a unique space for the brand
  • A brand story that brings the organisations vision, missions and values under one narrative umbrella
  • A practical tone of voice guide to help express the brand's verbal identity
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The research from Stage 1 also indicated the need for a new name, and so a shortlist of options was created and presented to stakeholders through a community consultation process. As well as asking participants for their naming preferences, we also sought more general feedback on the change itself – the potential risks associated with a change and how we could mitigate them.

Through that process, one name emerged as a widely supported preference. Gender Equity West (or GenWest for short) was added to the shortlist almost immediately, given its strong ties to the brand. What better way to embed your vision of gender equity in the west than to put it in your name?

And so, Women's Health West became GenWest. This was a historic moment for the organisation, the change reflecting the significant changes occurring across the sector and taking them one step closer to being a more accessible, inclusive and diverse organisation.

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We had an amazing Special General Meeting last week that truly surpassed our expectations, heralding a new era for the organisation as GenWest. It was certainly a historic moment for WHW, and I feel so grateful to have been part of it, and for us to be signalling to the world what intersectional feminism can, and must, look like. There is no doubt that it was such an overwhelmingly positive vote outcome because of the research and recommendations that you so expertly gleaned from our many (many) stakeholders – and we can lead with real confidence in the community because of this. The process for the name and tagline was second to none, and we know we would not be here with such an amazing result, without you. Thank you so much to the whole team at Liquorice for your encouragement, expertise and countless dedicated hours – and most of all, for ensuring we were brave in this moment. It has been a long road and it has been so fantastic to travel it with you.

— Kate Phillips, Acting CEO – Director – Gender Equity

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Stage 3: Design

Along with the brand strategy and tone of voice, we evolved the brand identity and a comprehensive brand guidelines document to house it all. The new wordmark, depicted as a graphic flag, stands as a powerful metaphor. By subverting a flag from its traditional use in representing systemic structures of power, it becomes for GenWest, a symbol for community action. Taking power from a traditional symbol in this way and leveraging it as a medium for change, supports the brand essence of 'Bravery', and symbolises the values of Freedom, Connection, Resistance, Love and Creativity.

This is no ‘corporate' identity — it stands proud with core elements inspired by the visual language of grassroots community voice and advocacy.

Typographically, we’ve borrowed from the language of protest posters. The tall, narrow poster font, synonymous with bold and powerful messages, conveys a clear purpose and mission. While the lively and eclectic suite of colours, and guidelines for frequent and varied pairings, ensures a dynamic and ever-changing brand. One which is reflective of the diversity of GenWest's communities.

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Also updated was a set of illustration guidelines, graphic elements and design templates for key brand assets. We helped develop an illustration brief in collaboration with GenWest and an initial suite of rich illustrations, representative of diverse communities were commissioned from a carefully curated group of local illustrators including Carla Mcrae, Michelle Pereira and Emma Ismawi. This suite will continue to grow and evolve with the brand over time as new illustrators are engaged.

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Stage 4: The Website

The website design is all about safety. For people experiencing family violence, anonymity is crucial to creating a safe browsing experience. When you land on the GenWest website, the first thing you'll notice is a big button that says "Quick Exit". This stays with users as they move through the site, giving them a way to quickly and discreetly leave the site, and delete any trace of their visit in an instant.

This focus on the needs of the user is also evident in the links to resources. Presenting two simple options in the form of statements: "I need help for myself or a friend" and "I'm a professional looking to help a client", we were able to anticipate the immediate needs of the majority of users, and point them to resources before they've even scrolled halfway down the page.

It's a powerful combination of boldness and subtlety. It allows the proud GenWest personality and voice to shine through without compromising accessibility and safety. And it gives users access to a rich hub of resources and help, while still maintaining absolute clarity and simplicity.

Liquorice led our organisational rebrand and name change, and did a fantastic job of adding the icing to that cake by developing our new website. They displayed a deep understanding of our operating environment, and the challenges and opportunities facing GenWest. Their approach to the web build was considered, thorough and flexible. The team were always there to answer our questions and guide us along the way. The end result is a website we are so proud of, which represents our diverse communities, is beautifully designed and receives a lot of positive feedback from users.

— Kelly Ventress, Manager – Communications

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It's hard to overstate the pride we feel when we see the new GenWest out in the world. Pride in ourselves, and pride in the team at GenWest for taking such a big, bold leap forward. Something tells us we'll be celebrating this one for a long time.



Brand Strategy


Digital Strategy

Digital Direction

Creative Direction

Brand Identity Design

Design Research

UX Design

UI Design



Front-end Development

Back-end Development

Project team

Anna Gowers: Brand Strategy

Shane Loorham: Creative Direction, Strategy and Research Assistance, Brand Design

Madeleine Baud: Copywriting, Strategy and Research Assistance

Jim Yencken: Digital Direction

Jayne Halsey: Digital Design

Emerald Cowell: Project Management

Hammy Goonan: Technical Direction

Vivian Genato: Development

Andrew Fiscalini: Animation

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