Repositioning a dozen e-newsletters

The Jewish Federations of North America (formerly United Jewish Communities) called on us to overhaul their entire suite of e-newsletters aimed at a diverse audience.

Evaluating the content for each newsletter, their frequency, and their intended audience, we collaborated with the Communications team to set new standards, establish a new editorial voice, and to design and implement an entire suite of newsletters that would be clearly branded and yet distinguished from one another.

When the Federation announced its first Pride in Israel Mission, we worked designed a communications campaign to promote the Jerusalem World Pride Festival.  Our goal was to entice Jewish members of the LGBT community to participate in the mission and to communicate the broad set of services being provided to the Israeli lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered, community by The Federations.



Helping a Seaport business thrive post Hurricane Sandy

Helping a Seaport business thrive post Hurricane Sandy


rayogram collaborated with this South Street Seaport café to communicate that everything tastes better when it is Made Fresh Daily. Our digital engagement strategy features copywriting, original photography and design to reflect the light, bright atmosphere of the bakeshop in a 1793 Dutch merchant building that once housed the Knickerbocker Ice company. Where ice was once stored in sawdust awaiting delivery - today visitors find a cozy, warm bakeshop sporting a wall of vintage modernist posters, racks of recent magazines, coloring pads and books for kids.


We used original photography and Instagram-style images to illustrate that Made Fresh Daily offers the freshest, lightest fare in the Seaport made with all-natural ingredients  - organic dairy, local farmhouse eggs, unrefined sugars and unbleached flours.  


The site provides all the essential information visitors need from the address, hours, and menus to recommendations for other things to do in the historic Seaport. The site is built on the Squarespace platform with MailChimp, Twitter, Facebook and OpenTable integration. Daily specials are sent to the growing mailing list via MailChimp. Blog posts are pushed out via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And reservations are taken with OpenTable.


Encouraging analog kids in a digital world

Encouraging analog kids in a digital world

Kids, Unplug! is a public service announcement created by rayogram as a rallying cry to tweens.

When we learned that digital media consumes an average of 8 hours of a tween's day - rivaling sleep and school instruction - we decided to craft Kids, Unplug!  The website uses positive peer pressure to promote the benefits of unplugging.  It is a simple, five page site with a carefully researched and crafted message aimed at kids, their caretakers and school administrators.

One feature -  'Make A Media Plan' -  asks kids and parents to evaluate their own media consumption habits and drops anonymous data into a Google spreadsheet for future evaluation. Free downloads will soon be added to encourage kids to spread the word on T-shirts and more.

Giving non profits and NGOs an equal shot

Giving non profits and NGOs an equal shot

EqualShot develops strategic direction & persuasive communications campaigns for global organizations.  Organizations that champion important domestic and international issues concerns to make for a civil and just society. Think human rights, reproductive health, sustainable environmental initiatives and economic empowerment. rayogram has collaborated with EqualShot for two decades. 

We produced EqualShot's fully mobile website using Squarespace to ensure ease of use as EqualShot adds new content in the future. We integrated MailChimp, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail accounts and produced original illustrations.

Hacking sanitation

Hacking sanitation

When we began this collaboration with The World Bank, that more people around the globe own cell phones than toilets!  The World Bank organized a Sanitation Hackathon raise awareness and find solutions to the fact that 2.5 million people live without proper sanitation. 

The Hackathon was marketed  to developers around the globe - awarding three winners the opportunity to implement their innovations. 

We designed a creative strategy that encompassed the Sanitation Hackathon branding, a mark for use on publications, the website, and social media. This included Twitter, Facebook and YouTube videos narrated by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. See the evolution of the branding ideas below.

The series of global hackathons in a dozen countries around the globe help accelerate the development of civic software solutions by local technology communities.

skills deployedbranding, logo design, icon design, poster design UX/UI design, pre-press, styleguides

Feeding 1.4 million hungry New Yorkers

Feeding 1.4 million hungry New Yorkers

When we first crossed paths with The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), we were surprised to learn that over one million New Yorkers live in households without sufficient food. New Yorkers are cantankerous enough on a full stomach!

Working with corporate sponsor ConAgra Foods, Inc.  and NYCCAH, we designed to match skilled New Yorkers to agencies in need.

With an eye towards national expansion - we designed the site to ask “Who is Hungry in America?”, “How Can you help?” and to suggest “Volunteer Today”. Taking the “Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service” Initiative and Toolkit as point of departure, this site communicates the myriad ways in which New Yorkers can help support the 1.4 million low-income residents of the city who rely on the city’s 1200 non profit soup kitchens and food pantries for sustenance.

Our messaging identifies the different kinds of volunteers drawn to hunger relief and offers encouragement (and volunteer opportunities) specifically for them:

                  Are you a student looking to volunteer?

                  Are you a business eager to make a difference?

Our messaging also  relies on calls to action such as:

                  Increase use of child nutrition programs

                  Grow & distribute farm-fresh food

                  Raise public awareness

The site increases NYCCAH’s  national  reach by inviting skilled volunteers to fill the specific needs of  their local agencies. It identifies and maps these volunteer opportunities to a nationwide map generated by NYCCAH’s database of food agencies.

We also put a social media outreach strategy in place using Facebook, Twitter and an e-mail campaign to continue to engage volunteers over time.

NYCCAH meets the immediate food needs of more than 1.4 million low- income New Yorkers and the 1200 non profit soup kitchens and food pantries that serve them. To better manage all the relationships that make NYCCAH effective, we worked closely with them to convert their Web site and myriad databases to a single platform - building data visualizations of their food service partners across the city. Agencies create their own profile and volunteer opportunities - tagged by the skills desired.  

skills deployed: discovery, information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, CiviCRM, HTML, CSS, SOLR, social media marketing, administrator training



Matching communities with leaders

Matching communities with leaders

We found it a delight to collaborate with the priests of the Episcopalian Church to design a database for jobs within their nationwide organization. Their unique mission statement set the tone of our collaboration: “With our gifts, skills, and calls to ministry identified and shared we are poised to enter into ministry transitions with both confidence and vulnerability.”

For The Episcopal Church—which is comprised of 109 individual dioceses in 17 nations—something as simple as posting job openings and internal hiring was a colossal task given that their platform was decades old. We created a Web application that simplified and streamlined this process. Individual users maintain their professional profile on the platform so that higher-ups can mine their resumes and profiles to match them to the right positions. And individual worshipping communities (churches, schools etc.) post their opportunities for individuals to search.

We designed this platform from the database architecture to the user interface. Together these carefully engineered elements allow one to create a ‘portfolio’ of information such family demographics, salary requirements, unique skills, links to social media samples of one’s work - even one’s aspirations. These individual profiles can be mined and matched to job opportunities using a robust SOLR search engine.  Users can carefully mine the data within the platform, save, and reuse their carefully crafted searches. They can also generate a PDF of any portfolio that interests them in their search for the perfect job or job applicant.

skills deployed: discovery, information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, stakeholder forcus groups, database architecture, Drupal,  HTML, CSS, SOLR, user training, ongoing support

Creating a forum for current thinking about justice policy and practice

Creating a forum for current thinking about justice policy and practice

You may have recently heard about the invaluable work of our friends at Vera in the Washington PostThe New Yorker or on John Oliver Tonight as they are at the forefront of making justice systems more fair and effective through research and innovation.

We designed their blog, Current Thinking to be a forum for their ideas, opinions, and strategies on justice policy and practice. Using VERA's topics of interest as both a table of contents and a means of cross-referencing blog posts, we designed a blog that gives them a quick and self-sufficient way of syndicating their voice far and wide.

The user-interface was redesigned to give the blog a coherent brand identity working within VERA's existing guidelines. Blog post comments were designed to encourage dialog around posts while Mollum was deployed to facilitate comments administration. Learn More about VERA's Current Thinking.

skills deployed: discovery, information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, HTML, CSS, SOLR, administrator training, ongoing support

Illustrating the importance of climate & environmental policies

This publication was a labor of love. As the only independent, nonprofit think tank clearing the air on climate and environmental issues while driving policy at the local, U.S. national and international levels, The Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) has wide reach and great influence.

We especially enjoyed creating original iPad illustrations to create a distinctive publication that broadened the audience for this important piece of research. We also lavished attention on the charts and graphs, paring them down to their essentials and bringing them all together into a consistent style to let the information emerge as forcefully as possible.

The style, with its hand-drawn illustrations, disciplined typography and restrained color palette, evokes the modernist design traditions popular in the mid-1900s. We felt that paying homage to this period of American culture — with its activist tradition and optimistic outlook — add a nice subtext to this very contemporary work.  

skills deployed: discovery, original illustration, publication design

Celebrating five years of successful policy changes

Celebrating five years of successful policy changes

We are huge fans of International Planned Parenthood and, after many years of courtship, finally landed a collaboration with them. 

Voices celebrates a five year initiative to rally advocates from eleven countries and push for 110 policy changes to directly impact the health and well-being of 62 million people in Latin America and Eastern Europe/Central Asia.

Our design (with content produced by our strategic communications advisors EqualShot)  draws on the theme of “five” as well as “helping hands.” The riotous color palette is drawn from the cultures of the three regions of advocates. And the ‘Codystar’ font at once communicates the newsworthiness of their accomplishments  (think Time’s Square news ticker) and Voices’ celebratory tone (think Time’s Square broadway marquees).

Together we created a beautiful publication to promote advocacy as an important tool in protecting sexual and reproductive rights. We hope it inspires other advocates around the globe.

skills deployed: discovery, original illustration, publication design 

fundraising for life-saving research

We Play for P.I.N.K. - and have been for close to a decade now - recruiting volunteers in over 28 states with a Web site and digital engagement strategy that facilitate raising funds one creative event at a time.

Play for P.I.N.K raises over  $4 million dollars each year - 100% of which is donated to breast cancer research. Working closely with the founder, executive director and the board, we bring all our skills to bear on their digital engagement strategy.  

The website illustrates the diversity of P.I.N.K. fundraising events from high school football tournaments to Mah Jongg games. And it offers multiple touch-points for prospective volunteers to reach the organization and kick off their own local events. Built using Drupal and CiviCRM, the site acts as a fundraising platform supporting multiple fundraising campaigns while accepting events registrations and online donations.

We established P.I.N.K.’s social media marketing strategy - building community among volunteers and prospective fundraisers through Facebook and Twitter and manage their Google AdWords Grant. 

skills deployed: discovery, information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, CiviCRM, HTML, CSS, SOLR, social media marketing, administrator training, ongoing support

Recruiting problem solvers

AppNexus is one of the world’s leading independent ad tech platforms. With their expertise oriented toward the internet’s advertising mechanics (as their tagline states, “We power the advertising that powers the internet”), they came to rayogram to support their consumer-facing website.

rayogram works with AppNexus strategizing, designing, and building new products and content, as well as providing site maintenance and support.

Launching a global business-to-business strategy

Launching a global business-to-business strategy

As discriminating users of well-designed and reliable products and services - from smartphones to small business banking - we understand the value of consumer ratings. In fact, we host a holiday party every year around dramatic readings of the best Amazon reviews.


J.D. Power’s scientifically-derived ratings by verified consumers are ubiquitous in product and service advertising today. We helped them present themselves as ‘The World’s Trusted Consumer Ratings’ worldwide.  We have worked with McGraw Hill Financial since the mid-1990s, most recently collaborating with J.D. Power to provide a creative strategy for their global business-to-business and domestic business-to-consumer products and services.

Our collaboration with J.D. Power continually taps our creative talents for solutions as far ranging as product naming & branding, marketing message development,  the UX/UI design of a cross-industry data-delivery platform, and public Web sites in six languages including: Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. This site incorporates a database of thousands of press releases and pieces of intellectual property.

skills deployed: discovery, information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, CiviCRM, HTML, CSS, SOLR, administrator training, ongoing support

Serving 19 million New Yorkers

Serving 19 million New Yorkers

We New Yorkers count on 62 district senators to meet our needs state-wide. And today we expect to communicate with them via phone, e-mail, even social media networks to discuss everything from important state-wide policy changes like mandatory preK to potholes. 

The New York State senate turned to rayogram to build their constituent database two administrations ago! We worked with Senate staff to consolidate functionality spread over various outdated legacy systems.

The extranet which we branded "bluebird" demonstrated immediate benefits - streamlining workflows to allow senate office staff throughout the state to more easily interact with constituent data.  

skills deployeddiscovery, stakeholder interviews, information architecture, copywriting, branding & logo design, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, HTML, CSS, SOLR, administrator training, ongoing support.

Rebranding the face of state government

Rebranding the face of state government

Living in a major metropolis, we are lucky to be faced with dozen of choices of where to  pick up our morning coffee. And we know that customer service builds brand loyalty - that the barista with the warm greeting will win us over every time. There’s no choice when it comes to renewing our driver’s licenses - so customer service matters even more.  rayogram worked with Governor Cuomo’s Communications Department and the DMV to overhaul the DMV  brand as part of a statewide Customer Service Initiative.  

Our creative strategy promotes the DMV as a friendly, capable, efficient agency ready to meet the needs of millions of New Yorkers each day. The site’s information architecture satisfies the needs of individuals and organizations and is fully integrated with social media.  Its conversational tone supports the agency’s key message (developed by rayogram): "Welcome to the DMV, how can we help you today?" This is carried over into the physical design of the DMV offices and the website. Like all websites we design today, the site is responsive to whether a visitor is using their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer to view the site.

We're so proud that the site has won aPinnacle Award (decided by a panel of experts from inside and outside government), a National Association of Government Web Designer Members’ Choice Award (decided by popular vote), as well as a Best Website Award from whose praise included:

"The New York DMV website is very user friendly with a forms search application that is quite handy and a conveniently located 'Save time, do it online' button." 

rayogram provided content development in the form of a strong Information Architecture, an analysis of existing content, the recommendation of new content, stock photo research, original illustration, and the training of close to 100 staff members to rewrite hundreds of pages of Web site content using Plain Language guidelines. We also created key pages in six languages including: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Italian, Haitian Creole, and Korean.

 We also performed extensive user tests to establish benchmarks for measuring success of the site - and to identify and resolve any issues with the new site’s user-experience. The site is built using the open source CMS Drupal with special attention to Section 508 compliance, Search Engine Optimization, and integration with Social Media platforms. Its features include interactive maps, a browsable database of forms, and the use of taxonomy to present relevant forms alongside editorial content.

skills deployed: discovery, branding & logo design, information architecture, copywriting, plain language training, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, HTML, CSS, SOLR, administrator training, ongoing support

Redefining manhood to combat violence against women and girls

Redefining manhood to combat violence against women and girls

When we first met Tony Porter and Ted Bunch, founders of A Call To Men, a project of the Tides Center, we were moved by their mission to redefine manhood as a way of preventing domestic violence.

We overhauled the organization’s creative strategy, engaging both donors and clients. We redesigned their logo, rewrote their tagline and mission statement, re-conceived their e-newsletter and launched a beautiful new website to carry their message.

Today we are working with A Call To Men to develop a creative strategy for their Google Adwords Grant. We will use the grant to promote the organization’s first publicly available curriculum for high school teachers and coaches - published by Scholastic this fall.

skills deployed: discovery, branding & logo design,  information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, Google maps database, Drupal, HTML, CSS, SOLR, administrator training, ongoing support.

Finding our inner child to bring arts education to life

Finding our inner child to bring arts education to life

We are a creative agency with deep roots in the arts. Writers, musicians, designers, singers, illustrators, photographers. Working with Young Audiences (whose mission is to bring arts education to underserved public schools nationwide) forced us all to ask, “where would we (or our clients) be without the arts education we received as kids?”

Our creative strategy helps Young Audiences, Arts for Learning communicate that the academic, social and emotional needs of the whole child are at the center of their work - helping children become lifelong, active learners.  

We designed an interactive engagement strategy to include a vibrant blog, social media marketing, a compelling newsletter and website. But we didn’t stop there. We created an Intranet for all 30 of their national affiliates to encourage collaboration and funnel content into the site (including a database of compelling case studies).

skills deployed: discovery, information architecture, copywriting, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, CiviCRM, HTML, CSS, SOLR, social media integration, administrator training, ongoing support.

Rebranding a software company to focus on impact

Rebranding a software company to focus on impact

It  always pained us that donor-management solutions skim up to 7% of all dollars raised from our non profit clients. After searching long and hard for a solution we could embrace, we discovered CiviCRM. CiviCRM helps organizations grow and sustain relationships with their supporters over time without skimming.

After many deployments for clients as diverse as The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The New York State Senate, we turned our creative eye to CiviCRM itself.

Collaborating with the CiviCRM core team and marketing committee, we revitalized the CiviCRM brand identity to reflect the way this global, open-source community of developers collaborates. 

Our creative strategy illustrates that CiviCRM itself is a non profit committed to the public good. The Web site makes this point by featuring members of the CiviCRM community and showcasing in- depth case-studies of their work. As one developer explains: "CiviCRM is helping our community to aim higher in terms of what kind of questions they should be asking and what kind of data they should be collecting."

CiviCRM understands that forging and growing strong relationships with constituents is about more than collecting and tracking data - it's about sustaining those relationships over time. 

skills deployed: creative strategy, branding, logo design, Information Architecture, UX/UI design, copywriting, Drupal, CiviCRM




Building a brand & a community

We jumped at the opportunity to be part of a new cultural institution in lower Manhattan when the co-founder of The Jewish Community Project (JCP) reached out to us for a creative strategy. JCP needed a comprehensive approach to share their aspiration to be a modern community still rich in values, culture and tradition.

Our brand identity gives JCP both a sense of history and a contemporary vibe. We helped them locate their space through our own landlord,  designed the storefront signage, and consulted on how best to communicate JCP is a place to ‘learn, explore and celebrate’. 

We designed brochures, fundraising materials, gala invitations and a website. But the tour-de-force was conceiving Shmuse,  a quarterly magazine giving voice to the thriving community JCP has become.

skills deployed: discovery, branding, logo design, exterior signage, information architecture, copywriting, plain language training, UX design, UI design, database architecture, Drupal, HTML, CSS, original photography, original illustration, publication design, administrator training, ongoing support.

Puritan Revolution blogging from the 17th Century

Puritan Revolution blogging from the 17th Century

This experimental blog is the history of the Great Revolution—the English Puritan resistance to the tyranny of King Charles—told in the present tense in the imagined voices of those who lived through it. As the events unfold day-by-day in a remarkably convincing tone, any reader would be forgiven for donning their breeches and jerkins to join the revolution.

The tales are told by the voices of those best-placed to "observe and Act" from their imagined Journals, Letters and other Writings - including Oliver Cromwell himself.  The English Puritan resistance was definitely not rayogram’s usual cup of tea, but it is not every day that you get to help create a blog with such eccentric flair (and hot led type).