ACT News

How the Brave was born and their continuing success

Less than six weeks before the start of the 2014 Australian Ice Hockey season, the CBR Brave did not even have a logo.

Rising from the demise of the Canberra Knights, which folded in February after 33 years in the competition, the CBR Brave – full of optimism, but short on time – had to scramble to be ready for  the season opener on April 12.

Australian Graphic Design Association regional director Liz Grant with Gallery Of Australian Design director Bea ...
Australian Graphic Design Association regional director Liz Grant with Gallery Of Australian Design director Bea Brickhill at the gallery with the new "Do Good Design" exhibition Photo: Rohan Thomson

So the new chairman, Allinsure director Peter Chamberlain, teamed with communications and design agency Coordinate and set about resurrecting the team.

Coordinate, who initially offered marketing and design services on a pro bono basis, now play  "an active role in running the organisation", and continue to manage marketing and business, development director Warren Apps said.

In 2014, the Brave's first year in the Australian Ice Hockey League, they achieved record membership numbers and placed third, the best result yet for a Canberra-based team.

"Their infusion of expertise was invaluable to us. It's widely accepted that we have the best social media and marketing that the league has ever seen," Mr Chamberlain said.

This success story is on display as part of the free Do Good exhibition being held at the Gallery of  Australian Design. 

Not a typical graphic design exhibition, Do Good showcases the collaboration and working relationship between 10 design agencies that have provided pro bono services and their clients.

The majority of clients are either not-for-profit or charity organisations.

Gallery director Bea Brickhill and the ACT director of the Australian Graphic Design Association, Liz Grant, said they hope the exhibits will illustrate to the public that designers provide much more than just "decoration".

"In Australia, the value of design has been devalued, we don't just make things pretty and do logos, it's much deeper than that," Ms Grant said.

"Designers are problem solvers. Not-for-profits come to us with no budget, with a big objective, and we guide them through what is affordable, what is possible, and what's going to get their strategy out."

The design industry is facing challenges due to cost cutting and the proliferation of in-house designing.

But partnering with the right not-for-profit in a "strategic partnership" can have long-term benefits.

"The companies here have their not-for-profit partners listed up high on their websites, because that gives them extra validity and it is saying they are socially conscious," Ms Grant said.

The Do Good exhibition is on at the Gallery of Australian Design, 47 Jardine Street, Kingston, until November 29 and is part of the Design Canberra Festival, on from November 20-23.