This spring 'think' had the pleasure of working with the United Way of Richmond and Greater Petersburg. The project at hand was to rebrand and revive the look of their Community Impact Fund campaign. It was to be a huge project including brochures, posters, internal documents, stationery and even a video spot. We were so excited to start that we popped a bottle of champagne and hung out in the office way after hours to high five each other on being awesome.
After the initial awe set in of working on a project for such an esteemed organization we realized a few things.
First, and probably most important, we had no idea of what the United Way actually does. We had seen their existing branding and campaign collateral and were still foggy on what the new campaign would be about. So we knew had our work cut out for us and it was essential to partner with their team to flush out exactly how we would communicate their goals.
Their current graphic standards and general design were lacking and it was clear to us that they needed a lot of help. We weren’t sure that the current culture would be extremely receptive to how much help they actually needed though. We were also concerned that they may want us to design within their current 'style' and not give us the creative freedom we needed to truly make a difference.
When designing I like to utilize the Hornberger system. What is that you say? You’ve never heard of the Hornberger system? Well please allow me to educate you. The Hornberger system was first employed during the fourth season of 30 Rock in episode four by Pete Hornberger. TGS had to hire a new cast member and leaving that decision up to GE executives would have been a calamity. So he stacked the auditions to get his top choice on the show. Basically it is a means of presenting options to clients in a way that favors the concept you believe fits their needs best.
Over my lengthy and prestigious career I’ve encountered one problem over and over again. I’ve actually encountered many problems but this one is the hardest to argue. A client hires you for a rebranding. They tell you they need a change! Business is stagnant! We need to be better and we love your style! So you give them beautiful options. Glorious options that you fine tune and work until they are perfection. You show them to the client who then decides: Que horrific! These are too different, too colorful and too loud. No we want the same thing we had before but only in blue. Yes! Blue is the answer!
What do we do, friends? We take their hand and show them the light. We guide them carefully into the promise land of appropriate fonts and thoughtfully chosen colors. Of delicate lines and thoughtful white space, for these are the things of dreams.
Our dear client has been using the same reasoning for their print materials for some time. Donations were stagnant but they still needed something to reinvigorate their brand. How much would they let us change it?!
We developed three concepts. All were solid ideas. One concept was in a similar tone to what they had been doing, one was a bit of a departure but would be a predictable next step for them. The third was our golden ticket. A design that stole our hearts and our budget but we loved it.
Our idea was to tell a story using faces. A face is enough to pull you in but to convey the message we would use hand lettering to frame the faces. The hand lettering would tell the story of each individual that has been helped by the Community Impact Fund using their three key areas: Income, Education and Health. What really gave this project a beating heart was using real success stories of lives made better.
We found our faces and stories, carefully crafted each unique letter form, and let the stats roll in. The overall effect is captivating and tells the story of the Community Impact Fund, the best choice for a better life.