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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:

a convener of I&R professionals (bringing specialties together)
a standard-bearer (providing standards to the field, accreditation, credential)
technologically adept

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.

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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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 New York State Department of Motor Vehicles 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. 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

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.