Case Study: Help Family Law

Case Study: Help Family Law

Annie Kelly, of the family law reference site Help Family Law, came to us for help with a visual redesign of their site earlier this year. They had had a technical setup of a membership site created, for parents who are going through separation to get support on the process of separation, finances, kids, mental health, wellbeing and legal procedures advice. Annie’s aim is to help reduce the amount of families going through the Victorian courts because of the way in which they are not fully serving the families – even sometimes resulting in single parents losing their house to pay for costly cases, and much trauma for the adults and children alike.

So, Annie, a paralegal, stepped in with a passion to change the system. Having been through the process herself she has a deep understanding, and is contacted by many people who are facing huge difficulties, daily. Her website is a place which helps redirect those requests for help into a community resource of informational and supportive videos on the legal process and surrounding issues during separation, connect people with experts who are donating their time to answer questions, and feel a sense of community with others going through the same process. Annie also writes direct and important articles on aspects of separation and the legal process, including highlighting areas which are not working and calling for reform.


So there was this incredible resource, which was not being visually represented as well as it could be. The pages were quite long and hard to grasp the importance of the service, and the videos were hard to watch and find because of their placement. We went through a process of rebranding the site and also updating how everything was displayed to a more current code. We chose some brand colours, the light blue and red and white, and recreated each page with a new layout.

Within the Membership site area, we paid the same level of attention to the members’ areas. Many websites look amazing and then when you sign up the member’s area is just not as good as it was from the outside! So we deliberately made sure the members’ experience matched what was being shown on the public site.

Recently, we helped create the Help Family Law video shop – which is where people can buy individual advice videos on different aspects of the separation process. This is meant to make the information even more accessible, and allows people to buy individual videos or the whole collection. It’s a valuable resource, and communicating its value, particularly compared to the costly court process, is important to the design process. Working out the best way to present the videos from a content strategy point of view, as well as technical flow and security with shop systems, and keeping top of mind customer ease and enjoyment, has been an involving task, with testing and feedback throughout and changing the process as we go.

It’s part of the way we like to work with clients where the process is iterative and collaborative, in order to get the best result that is tested as we go by our client’s clients, and their feedback incorporated into how we design.

3 things you should know about logo design for social impact

We work a lot with organisations who are just starting up. They usually have a name, and a bit of a sense of identity. However for us, the brief to come up with a logo for a social impact project is usually a pretty big job. This is both in terms of a logo’s importance to the organisation going forward, and the amount of creative thinking and design time we have to put in. There is an art to crafting something that endures and is representative of everything an organisation is and hopes to achieve!

Recently we worked with Violence Prevention Network (aka VPN) in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales on developing two logos – one for everyday use, and one for use as a circular stamp. Using VPN as an example, we want to take you through three of our biggest tips about getting a logo.

1. Branding vs. logo: Is there a difference?

Hands up if you think your logo and your branding are the same thing? If you put your hand up, you wouldn’t be the only one. This is one of the biggest mistakes clients make when they come to a creative designer for help – thinking that by designing a logo, their branding done and dusted.

Lucky for you, it’s easy to understand the difference once you get your head around it. As Brand vs. Logo: The Mystery Solved states –

A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.

Branding is who you are – it is what people say about your organisation when you are not there, it is how they think about your organisation, what they think you do, and how you do it. As far as a logo goes, a logo is just one part of your overall brand, which may also include (but not limited to): your mission; your people; your work; your colour and design themes; your website, etc.

Therefore we have a few recommendations for organisations before you decide to design or redesign your logo.

  • Go through and establish who you are, how you want people to feel about you, and what adjectives you want people to use to describe yourself. It can help by running through something like our quick questionnaire to establish brand identity – this is just the bare basics, but is a must for anyone we work with around logos and branding.
  • While telling a creative designer that you don’t have anything in mind, and to “come up with something you think would fit” or to “surprise you” sounds like a really great idea and like a lot of creative freedom for the designer, it is almost always better to tell your designer things you like and don’t like. As our mentor always says to us, what is in your head isn’t what is in my head. Generally, giving some parameters and ideas for your design is almost always better than giving your designer total free rein, because sometimes creative differences just can’t be resolved, no matter how good your designer is!
  • If you have some concepts already, why not share them. You might have a great idea but need a designer to do all the tricky bits to bring it to life. We can do that!

2. You’ve included the right elements, but is it the right message?

Before coming to us to have a logo designed, one client in the domestic violence prevention space went to another designer. As a DV service provider, their main clients were women who had experienced DV. The brief was simple, and the designer developed a logo they thought suited – it had a woman, and a keyhole. As far as two elements go, they seemed great – the service provided women with a ‘key’, so to speak. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Not necessarily. To anyone in the DV sector space, or who has experienced DV, picturing a woman behind a keyhole had many negative connotations – trapped woman; can’t escape; locked away; isolated.  This presents us with the second vital message. Just because you have all the ‘right’ elements, doesn’t mean you have the right logo. To us, this example reinforced why we are a specialist creative design agency helping specialist communities. Through our experience of being on the frontline of social causes, we can focus on helping organisations to not isolate or damage their connections with vulnerable populations or complex social issues. As we know, branding and design is everything when it comes to attracting customers/clients and on-boarding funding and other supports.

3. The importance of telling a story.

Back to VPN. VPN is what it stands for – a violence prevention network – and delivers everything from training to resources and support around confronting, interrupting and preventing violence. We knew that there were a few things that were going to be essential for this resource: it had to be intersectional (that is, anyone in the community regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, or ability had to be able to see themselves in the service); it is a service that is leading the way and at the centre of the community, so it had to represent that leadership; and they wanted it to be bright – something accessible and positive.

This is the story these logos tell.

We used circles to connote inclusion, community, and the idea of circle work. Circle work is a well-recognised historic way in which group leaders could work in, providing platforms for gathering, sharing ideas, debating, challenging, and coming to resolutions. They connnote an equal platform for everyone to have a democratic way to contribute to solutions. They have great historical and ancestral significance, as ways our common ancestors from long ago gathered, conducted counsel, shared stories and yarns, and carried on traditions. For VPN, these are all highly positive connotations. Circles also reinforce the nature of the work you do – workshops and training, which is often conducted in circle.

The different circles may represent different parts or groups of the community. They are distinct, yet they fit together. Being of the same shape, it represents that we are all one, and we have tried to use circles as a way of connecting with anyone who may view them. We wanted anyone who approaches VPN for help to be represented and be able to see themselves in the work you do. As concentric circles, they may also represent how a single drop can cause a ripple effect through communities. Here we really wanted to work off: brightness, inclusivity, and VPN ‘leading the change’ at the centre.

 

At the end of the day, we want to deliver good design for good causes. Logos are a vital part of design and a vital part of your branding. Together, we can tell the right story for your organisation. If you follow some of these tips and have a think about your organisation and how you want to be represented, we can guarantee you will walk away happier with the result every single time.

 

 

 

Case Studies: IMPACT Social Enterprise

Case Studies: IMPACT Social Enterprise

In 2013, one of our co-directors, Elise, attended the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as a delegate alongside a few other students, some business leaders, and the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. The meeting of these students, combined with an interest in social enterprise – enterprise which aims to achieve some social good whilst still producing a profit – led to the idea of starting a youth conference exploring socially-responsible business.

impactHowever, before the team had anything other than an idea and a group of passionate students ready to start the new enterprise, IMPACT Social Enterprise had a simple logo (see image to the right), and a website consisting of a few pages.

These two things suddenly made the idea real – what started as just an idea suddenly turned into a professional, capable, credible, and established organisation. IMPACT *looked* like something, and the power of appearances is something we have come to never underestimate. IMPACT could then approach mentors and sponsors, get funding and venues, and make people believe and trust in the organisation.

A mere 9 months later, the team had done it – successfully run a conference which brought 120 of Brisbane’s best and brightest youth together to explore social enterprise, kick-start ideas, and network with some of the biggest names in social good. What started with an idea, was made real by design.

Since then, this pattern has been repeated many times, and really demonstrates where good design can truly make the social impact you aim to have. It goes a bit like this:

Idea > Design > Funding and Support > Launch.

Design for social good is the step that brings your idea to life, and enables others to see that too.

The timing of this post coincides with IMPACT’s third annual conference, which begins tonight (so check out their Facebook Page). We wish all the best to the participants and can’t wait to see what they produce!

External links: Impact National Conference

Hong Kong and the Vertical

Hong Kong and the Vertical

Recently I went to Hong Kong, to see my sister, have a family holiday, and explore the place The Grazing Elk was half-based in for 6 months.

It was an amazing place, full of contrasts. The thing which stuck me the most was the dilapidated look of some of the buildings in contrast with glossy financial district gold and silver towers. My dad, an architect, explained that the humidity made paint peel and become mouldy easily, and the airconditioning units were all on the outside and dripping the whole time too.

stormy

roundWe were there at a time when there was a typhoon in the area, so the heat was offset by tropical rain, there were clouds every day, and occasional heavy rain and wind.

It was Golden Week so we were competing with Chinese tourists for many of the big attractions but in other places it was relatively quiet. My favourite place we visited was the PMQ, where many small designer shops were – handmade things like bags, furniture, clothes and other wonderful design things.

This photo of the round window was taken from within that area looking out.

hollywood The colours of Hong Kong, at least to me, were white and green. The sky was white, as was the shade of most of the buildings. Those photos above were colour-boosted a bit – it really was a very soft, even light on pale surfaces… contrasting with fig trees and lush greenery, which still managed to appear in the city, growing out of walls and buildings, holding up the mountainside.

The design seen was very International-feeling, in terms of graphics and physical creations. I was very happy to see the mix of Asia and Hong Kong with a sort of internationalness, something which was very different to the very concise, closed design of Melbourne – it’s all pastels and gold here as I write.

At first I thought HK wasn’t big on graffiti, but I wasn’t disappointed – there was heaps! And it was super cute.

graffiti

I found the place so strongly influential in many ways, it’s a little hard to talk about it in a useful way. For the moment, I’ll wrap up with some more photos.

city cheung chau

IMG_2581 IMG_2734

 

 

A Second Sunset

A Second Sunset

It is only in the second attempt at playing Sunset (by Tale of Tales) that I appreciate it more. Partly this is because it is now running on my computer better and I’m able to move around the place and actually do things. Partly it is because I am interested in what happens now and less frustrated by the lights never staying on next time I come to the house.

sunset-stairs

Although my liking for turning the lights on makes movement more shuddery, and I combine this with a desire to see things in high resolution graphics on a laptop not entirely designed for games… I’ve found that a few days at a time in-game produces a state of appreciative noticing.

As I wander around the interior and appreciate the furniture and object design as if I am in an art gallery, and imagine the sketches drawn to create the environment, and sit down in places which frame views I would imagine could be concept art, I find myself also doing the same in my actual house, paying attention to things like turning on or off a light, or arranging cushions in a tranquil state.

My movements are smoother than in-game but my thoughts are quite empty until I do a task, like tying the rubbish bag, and walking along the long hallway to the rubbish chute and back. Sunset has inspired a kind of one-mindededness about the tasks, doing things one at a time, with no excess thoughts about anything else.

This meditative calm is something which leads me to appreciate the quality of light in my home, and choose a light to turn on or off for its colour and effect. The lighting in Sunset is as much a character of the game as anyone else, and certainly it is seen more than some of the actual characters. This is why I feel like turning every light on all the time, but since that’s impractical for performance and frustration reasons, I just choose one particular favourite light to turn on each time – the one in the sunken living room.

This is the most neutral lighting I think you see in the game, in the first chapter before you really get into it. Seen as the glowing square area is the sunken living room.

This is the most neutral lighting I think you see in the game, in the first chapter before you really get into it. Seen as the glowing square area is the sunken living room.

This time, playing the game I felt less pressure to rush around doing things and so sat down and inadvertently started a diary, written by Angela. Now, I seek out the diary writing chair, which so far seems to move about a bit, to continue hearing and seeing her thoughts as she writes them.

I have only just restarted my playing of Sunset but I am happy to take the time it takes this time round, to have a more in-depth conversation with its beautiful furnishings and characters.

Case Study #3: Lift Coaching

Case Study #3: Lift Coaching

Lift Coaching is a life, health and work coaching service. Kate Moore came to me asking for a logo and website – and we created all of the images and designs necessary for her to launch her business in 2013/14. It has been exciting working with Kate to achieve a consistent, uplifting feeling to her creations. (more…)