Archive for July, 2010

July 27, 2010

Giving Institute

overview
As a leader-development source for nonprofit managers, the Giving Institute must exemplify excellence as their own example. When consulting to nonprofits, they must practice what they preach. Presenting a simple but effective graphic environment, they successfully express a focused range of activities. Their mission and communications inspire leaders to inspire philanthropic growth.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating The Giving Institute and Giving Foundation

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Blending two related organizations is tricky. The Giving Institute and Giving Foundation have sister logo that applies the same design to both: built from the “G,” the same lettering and composition apply but are color-coded. Ordinarily, this pie-shaped illustration would not look like a “G” when viewed by itself. But it does read within this context. Flexible for scaling, this graphic approach grows modularly.

spiral bullet Theme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
Philanthropy is symbolically abstract. Photographs can represent it literally—especially in the places where donations are applied. The Giving Institute and Giving Foundation attempt to integrate both—placing more visual weight upon the photographs than on graphic symbolism. Using black and white in both the photos and as the palette for materials, the colors of the Institute and the Foundation stand out.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
A great example of a website home page that represents the two related groups, the Giving Institute and Giving Foundation express their purposes through simple selections. Featuring member logos at the bottom gives a visually engaging action to the page while choices are being made.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
The black and white theme and color palette are consistent throughout the Giving Institute and Giving Foundation’s presentation. Although the home page is elegant and simple, such care isn’t carried as much into subsequent pages as may be expected from such a beginning. What does give visual interest are photographs from a contest held a few years ago. It would be nice if these were updated as a growing collection.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
Few groups integrate visually as well as The Giving Institute and Giving Foundation—much less two groups together. With a tremendous potential for more visual depiction of giving, hopefully they will give us more to see when revisiting. But if the side doesn’t evolve, then an opportunity to increase dynamic interest begun will be underutilized.

See the Overview of the best Midwest organizations to present strong and compelling graphics.

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July 14, 2010

Madison County Chamber

overview
Every good logo establishes a graphic foundation. Few use visual language as well as the Madison County Chamber. With the goal of creating a welcoming personality, the logo symbolizes the natural and human attractions of their location. Their stylistic imagery carries through their graphics as unifying and recognizable elements.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating Madison County Chamber

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
With a clear identity block, the Madison County Chamber’s logo incorporates the imagery of nature and people in a harmonious composition. Crisp and identifiable, the brush-stroke style is friendly yet has a professional sophistication through the geometric shapes. As a unit, this logo works in a variety of sizes, limited in smallness by its tagline that supports the visual message. The images are understood even without the words.

spiral bullet Theme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
Few organizations build a theme upon their logos as well as MCC. The colors, the white swash style, and the geometry are used throughout their materials. Online, icons for the various topic components extend the visual language. The colors are strong, through conservative.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
Although MCC uses a standard template structure on their website, the various audiences are well defined and content targeted appropriately. Simple and direct, they use every opportunity to include and engage the community. Features, such as the calendar and e-newsletter, are easy to access. The template does prohibit a better use of space, but the whole holds together as greater than its parts.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
With a clear visual language developed, consistency comes easily. MCC meshes the visual images with their mission of unifying business, community, and agriculture: the symbolism is simple, direct, and easily understood. All graphics continue the style throughout the great variety of offerings.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
MCC’s graphics have a friendly elegant appeal that is timeless. Demonstrating their communication expertise, unlike other associations in this Study, they offer such services through an internal department. They demonstrate through their graphic strength how they support their goals to “improve every aspect of our community.” Rarely is seen a better integration.

See the Overview of the best Midwest organizations to present strong and compelling graphics.

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July 8, 2010

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

overview
If any group should look good graphically and understand the importance of first impressions it should be an association comprised of cosmetic surgeons. So the warm and well-presented image that the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery presents is expected. Appropriately, it is polished, attractive, simple, and elegant. Generally, to call graphics ‘pretty’ is condescending—but here, it is a compliment.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Combining the letterforms (C and S) with brush stroke swashes creates an elegant and humanistic logo for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Somewhat flame-like (which doesn’t feel as appropriate as the other references), its configuration is distinctive. Although the typography is very conventional, as a classic unit, the logo block has flexibility. However, the logo presents best in two colors.

spiral bullet Theme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
Beautiful faces gaze at the viewer from AACS’s pages. Gorgeous photos rotate on the website which encourages visual intrigue. The theme of cosmetic perfection, though obvious, is enhanced with a color palette, geometric borders, and strong use of a white background.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
Probably the easiest way to make static templates interesting is through photography. AACS uses them with expertise and appealing composition—distinct from fashion yet exuding glamour and health. Though their publications are limited to members-only, the website content is targeted well to the viewer groups of both patients and surgeons.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
AACS’s design strategy is simple and easy to implement. Although they invite readers to share cosmetic surgery stories, what happens to these stories? It is not clear. Yet other information, such as the Myth and Fact section is educational and helpful.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
There are more exciting graphics to be found from other organizations, but few that are more elegant or tasteful. AACS uses the basics well, imparts a crisp professionalism and accessible presentation.

See the Overview of the best Midwest organizations to present strong and compelling graphics.

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July 2, 2010

Water Quality Association

overview
Few organizations have such a well-defined niche as the Water Quality Association. It is enviable. Monitoring the most basic of resources, they graphically use the obvious water theme through a variety of photographs. Their logo is exceptional in its symbolism and recognizability. Deepening the level of their visual priorities can further enhance their message.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating Water Quality Association

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
The topic of water can be expressed in many ways, usually using wave forms. WQA symbolizes the subject in a surprising way—three simple swashes form a W or a Q—one form represents two letters. Simple and flexible, this logo is both classic and contemporary.

spiral bullet Theme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
The water theme for WQA is too obvious to need discussion. However, their graphics could use it more expansively rather than as a touch now and then. The template shows a droplet splash, the features in the right column illustrate various projects. Some of their strongest visuals are the photographic backgrounds of rippling water on selected pages.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
Divided into the two categories of commercial and residential, WQA’s site needs to cover the spectrum of water providers, users, and legislators. The site has comprehensive resources from Hot Topic articles for any viewer and features for target audiences. Unembellished graphically, unfortunatgely all content is treated the same. This site is a good example of prioritizing visual emphases and not carrying through beyond the first level.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
The use of prioritized graphics shows the opportunities for WQA’s approach. Established with color and basic imagery, this visual language could be taken further. Nowhere is this more exemplified than in their newsletter design. Without an inviting overview, samples, or previews, WQA treats this important benefit as less important. It makes sense that their key publication should be for members only, but there are many ways to visually entice a prospect. In a filter-down strategy, they could improve further than the initial impression.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
WQA’s logo and imagery is strong. Their overall presentation is crisp, professional, well-organized, and consistent. Although they could push their visual language further, they have a great beginning. The relevance of their organization can only grow in the future, so investing in their growth potential can keep pace. Their presentation can help visibility and education to use and preserve the most important human resource.

See the Overview of the best Midwest organizations to present strong and compelling graphics.

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