Connecting people to community services

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The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) commissioned rayogram to create a new identity for the concept of Information & Referral.

The 1,200 organizational and 200 individual members in the United States, Canada, and overseas improve access to services for all people through quality information and referral (I&R). AIRS provides a professional umbrella for all I&R providers in both public and private organizations.

We worked closely with the AIRS core team to identify their organization as:

pioneering
forward-thinking
a convener of I&R professionals (bringing specialties together)
a standard-bearer (providing standards to the field, accreditation, credential)
technologically adept
down-to-earth
cost-conscious

Brand strategy

We created a new brand strategy for I&R to reach a broad audience of AIRS members, their funders and clients.

Comprehensive and specialized I&R programs operate as a critical component of the health and human service delivery system—helping people in every community.

This strategy was designed to bridge the gap between consumer and business-to-business appeals while being results-oriented and ‘declarative’, defining the value I&R brings. This brand strategy included a visual mark, style guide and tag line defining the value of Information & Referral.

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I&R tagline

We identified the most clear, direct definition of I&R steering clear of jargon to illustrate its inherent value.

Information & Referral: assisting people with helpful community services

This tagline intentionally uses an active verb that does not under- or oversell I&R services. It addresses ‘people’ as a whole not singling out ‘people in need’. And it incorporates the important concept of ‘help’ and ‘community services’

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I&R Logotype

There were no clear norms to follow while designing for the I&R industry but we made a point to avoid common and overused visual elements such as telephone iconography, communication waveforms and other generic graphic flourishes.

The new I&R logotype is an innovative rendering of the letters I and R. “I&R” is a recognized mnemonic for “Information and Referral”. Adhering to this convention builds on existing understanding both within and outside of current industry members.

The use of type for the tagline attached to the logotype is simple and conservative, allowing the message to transfer clearly and easily.

Logotype Considerations

AIRS’ I&R mark distinguishes itself with its simplicity and witty combination of the predictable letterforms. While simple and direct, the mark evokes values and ideas central to AIRS’ concept of Information and Referral:

The rendering of the “I” in the logotype reminds us of the familiar information icon commonly seen in all manner of media

The particular lowercase, italic “i” was chosen to evoke the personal humanity central to I&R activities.

The use of positive and negative space in the mark refers visually to a puzzle piece, communicating an idea of finding the missing piece to make things whole. The elegant gesture of finding the “i” in the “R” suggests the general idea of finding something hidden in plain sight.







Envisioning the future by studying the past

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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

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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.  

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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

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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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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.