Envisioning the future by studying the past

Envisioning the future by studying the past


rayogram's ground-up redesign of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s interactive strategy includes two distinct, interrelated websites, an educational portal, as well as an online store.

As the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 education, their public facing websites encompass a searchable database of 63,000 archival materials, online exhibitions, videos, lesson plans, and the online journal History Now. All were created with a keen understanding of historical design techniques, allowing Gilder Lehrman to envision their future while remaining focused on the past.

Branding a community committed to the public good


The open source Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software, CiviCRM is directed by a community engaged in and committed to the public good - a community that understands how to foster cooperation and productivity to advance an organization’s goals.  


In branding CiviCRM, rayogram evaluated the sea of proprietary and open source solutions available to nonprofits and private foundations. This resulted in a brand identity and user-experience that distinguishes CiviCRM as a committed, robust, holistic solution  ready and able to meet current and future needs of organizations of all sizes.

rayogram’s creative strategy for CiviCRM was built on the view of the CiviCRM open source software as not merely a collection of modules, but a holistic solution with a feature set that organizations can pick and choose from while enjoying the operational efficiencies of a central database.

     new identity

    new identity

     earlier logo

    earlier logo

    Along with redesigning CiviCRM's brand identity, we redesigned the user experience and user-interface of their website. This extensive redesign in collaboration with the core team, community,  and developers contemplated:

    • end-users who make donations, registers for events, subscribes to newsletters, set up a personal fundraising campaigns and never ponder the software that makes this all possible.
    • forward-thinking clients who rely on Civi to manage data and fulfill missions.
    • integrators who recommend it to clients, find hosting solutions and/or
    • developers who deploy and enhance its functionality and commit their work back to the community - making the product increasingly powerful and elegant.
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    Prioritizing and organizing with a light-as-a-feather app


    Feather is a mobile app for home owners and small business owners who need a simple way to prioritize, organize and share their maintenance and new construction projects.

    rayogram designed Feather for Homesteady as a smart solution to help prioritize, organize and share home improvement project lists. Whether it’s plumbing, electrical, painting, full remodel or small handyman work, our intelligent and friendly user experience and user interface design facilitate the app's efficiency and productivity.

    Looking to the past to build the future


    Homesteady offers  one-stop general contracting services for home and business.  rayogram designed the Homesteady with inspiration from the American homesteading tradition when the promise of a new start was driven by the possibilities of building and improving for the future.

    Whether serving a family wanting a more comfortable home, or a business wanting an upgrade to grow sales, Homesteady aligns their values with those who rolled up their sleeves to build our communities.  

    Deliverables included the Homesteady brand, collateral, mobile-responsive website, and smartphone app, "Feather" illustrating Homesteady's commitment to modern ways in which customer service philosophies and technology can enhance the property improvement experience.  

    Sharing Consumer Insights on the Global Auto Industry

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    Deloitte hired rayogram to use emerging technologies to redefine the customer experience.

    rayogram recently designed and deployed the Driven by Deloitte smart phone app representing the latest thinking from Deloitte’s Global Automotive Consumer Insights Platform. The app covers topics such as autonomous car technology, ride-hailing services, and alternative engine preferences.

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    Deloitte hired rayogram to use emerging technologies to redefine the customer experience.Users interact with data from over 20,000 consumers across 17 countries to uncover the insights that matter now. Other information assets such as articles, videos, and infographics enable users to stay up to date on critical trends and issues occurring in the global automotive sector as new content modules are added going forward.

    Our collaboration on the Driven by Deloitte smartphone app, included extensive data visualization. We also provided overall creative strategy, original illustration, User Experience design, User Interface design, iOS and Android development.

    Defining the voice of experience

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    While their competitors are building software platforms, JD Power has been building trust—with consumers and with companies. It’s the trust surrounding their software platform that makes them unique.

    In exploring a brand position for J.D. Power’s client delivery platform (which we also designed), we helped position it as part of the overall J.D. Power customer experience framework.

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    We began this process by looking for a way to express the breadth of their offerings—a way of communicating their values and expertise. And what resonated most was J.D. Power’s results. We developed a creative/marketing/communications strategy around the concept of harmonizing. What better outcome could be expected from J.D. Power’s customer experience framework—enabled by their client delivery platform than to bring a company into harmony with its customers, with themselves?

    In exploring a brand position for J.D. Power’s client delivery platform (which we also designed), we helped position it as part of the overall J.D. Power customer experience framework.

    While the industry emphasizes ‘Voice of the Consumer (VOC)’ and Customer Experience (CX) in defining the market place, we looked at how best to combine these concepts into ‘Voice of Experience (VOX)’ . After all, J.D. Power’s platform brings together the voice of the customer, the voice of the industry, the voice of J.D. Power. And this insightful collaboration—when in harmony—results in the ‘Voice of Experience’.

    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.



    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 HungerVolunteer.org 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

    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

    fundraising for life-saving research

    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.  

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    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 DMV.com 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. Awards include the 2015 Pinnacle Award from the National Association of Government Web Professionals among others.

     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.