Archive for ‘Sector: community groups’

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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June 29, 2010

Green City Market

overview
Raising awareness of local food resources is a community responsibility. In Chicago, Green City Market assists this effort through a friendly communications strategy—linking farmers to chefs to the public through programs and online. Although their graphics are simple and basic, they are fun, easy, and engaging—presenting a range of attractions.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating Green City Market

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Though thin and light, the balloon images represent the positive and upbeat personality of Green City Market. Simple and flexible, the tag line integrates well with the symbol, but the name overpowers. Though the three elements function as a compositional unit, the stylistic blend could be more creative.

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.
Although Green City Market’s theme of balloons, begun by the logo, is not expanded upon, the typefaces, colors, and burlap textures set up a friendly environment.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
From the pictures of farmers to the recipes of Chicago’s best chefs, the Green City Market website is fun and educational while it supports an environmental cause. The site is a good introduction, but could be enhanced with more highlights, features, and interaction.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
Throughout their website, Green City Market’s template is static. The typeface, though strong, is not enough to push towards a visual potential. The organization’s goals are to create an “inviting ambience and sense of community.” Though the pages have engaging content, they don’t change often. And their blog indicates a “post and ghost” problem with old entries and few comments. They demonstrate a pattern that affects many organizations: excitement with new opportunities but difficulty in sustaining the communicative projects once begun.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
Few causes affect more people that sustainable food sources. Throughout Green City Market’s materials, their dedication to promoting local produce oozes from their pages. With perhaps the greatest potential of any organization covered in te Sebastian Study, a graphic foundation could sustain communications as their mission can sustain food production.

Viewers want more than a one-way presentation. This organization offers a platform to showcase members by offers chefs’ signature recipes—leading the viewer through key information.

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

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June 11, 2010

Have Dreams

overview
In an age of increasing complexity, it is hard to keep communications simple. Have Dreams presents a clear message and communications strategy. Although their name doesn’t invoke their dedication to helping autistic children, it expresses their overall philosophy and direction.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating Have Dreams
spiral bulletUse of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Casual and friendly, Have Dream’s logo elevates the handwritten script idea to a greater level with the addition of the kite illustration. Simple with a loose brushstroke, they have created a custom font while forming a strong graphic unit.
spiral bulletTheme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
With the kite in the logo, the visual use of skies is obvious. But Have Dreams takes the symbolic language further by incorporating a snapshot treatment of engaging photographs.

spiral bulletContent composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
The website home page has an unusual, simple, and approachable structure. The typography is simple but distinctive; the current information is easy to find and maintain.

spiral bulletConsistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
Though Have Dreams carries a strong color palette, typography, and page arrangement, the template on the second level of the site is rather static. The use of photos becomes the only differentiation within this structure. But the strong color and fun images keep the site interesting.

spiral bulletDistinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
Have Dreams’ visual language has strong organization and thematic unity. It is a conceptual foundation that invites the reader to explore, learn, and become involved.

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

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