Association For Creative Industries

Building a global destination for creativity.


Association For Creative Industries (formerly Craft & Hobby Association) is a trade association that represents the global creative arts products industry – a $30 billion industry – whose mission is to inspire the next generation of creativity. This is a crucial moment for this industry, as it shifts from traditional retail to e-commerce, and faces a sea change with the emergence of Millennial DIYers and Makers. In light of this transformation, the Association’s brand was perceived as dated, not demonstrating its value, and was, ultimately, losing members.

Association for Creative Industries approached Verse Group to help develop a strategy to increase the perceived value of the Association to its members. Our task was two-fold:

  • Reverse declining membership trends; and
  • Reframe perceptions of the Association’s annual show to remain relevant in the changing creative industry.

Together, with the board, we developed a strategic roadmap to shed the old “craft” reputation and embrace a new identity that reflects inspiration and thought leadership. Through interviews with the board, staff and members, we unearthed a key insight: the Association plays a unique role of unifying the different creative categories to create a truly global creative community. Additionally, members were looking to the Association to be a leader, to shape a positive outlook for the future of the industry.

These insights led us to develop the “heart of creativity” metaphor, framing the Association as an inspiring destination for people to come together to learn, connect and discover.

The “heart of creativity” metaphor is carried forward through the visual identity, brand voice and member experience. These brand elements reflect the Association’s member community – colorful, vibrant and inclusive – and work together to create a fresh and dynamic brand that welcomes the new generation of creators and makers, without alienating its current members.

We also utilized this insight and metaphor to drive the renaming of the Association to better represent the new landscape and to welcome the growing global community. With close collaboration and validation from the board, members and prospective members, the new name, Association For Creative Industries, took shape. It intentionally uses the word “for,” as the association’s main goal is to serve its members and the global community. It also acknowledges and welcomes the breadth of the industries included in this global community.

We activated the new Association brand at the reinvented, rebranded 2017 show, Creativation. Here members explored the “heart of creativity” through an elevated tradeshow experience that further supported the guiding tenets of learn, connect and discover.


– Brand strategy
– Research
– Brand story
– Naming
– Brand architecture
– Customer experience
– Logo and visual identity system
– Tradeshow strategy
– Marketing communications strategy
– Brand and messaging guidelines
– Website design
– Collateral materials

As a result of the new brand strategy, Association For Creative Industries was able to grow and diversify its membership by attracting new entrepreneurs and adjacent markets.

At Creativation 2017, members were introduced to new thought leadership content – the Innovation Center and the Ultimate Pitch Competition – which were the highest attended programs.

37% increase in event sponsorships
16-point increase in net promoter score
2017 Craft Business Award

Association For Creative Industries: Launch announcement