Posts tagged ‘Have Dreams’

August 21, 2010

Deficits at the Top

In times of prosperity, organizations want to show off graphically. In times of recession, organizations proudly do a lot with a little. Yet there is always a line of professionalism to uphold. Except for nonprofits. Amateur graphics run rampant, which can’t do much for a group’s credibility!

As digital tools allow groups to create amateur graphics more easily, the overall quality of design has diminishes. Ironically, design is more important than it has ever been due to the Internet. An even playing field allows small groups to compete with large groups, local orgs to compete with national, national with international. The scope has exploded!

In completing my evaluation of the Midwestern nonprofits, the 80/20 Rule is in full force. Of the 700 evaluated, 160 have graphics that score highly enough to discuss. Yet to find a consistently strong graphic strategy seems impossible. None score high in all five categories!

Beginning with the overall graphics of those who score the highest:


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, preview, review, is strong in every category but publications.

Metals Service Center Institute, preview, review, could have a better website.

Second City, review to come, has an unimaginative logo and scan publications.

Popcorn Board, review to come, has a confused identity but strong in all other categories.

International Association of Lighting Designers, preview, review, is compelling graphically but weak in publications.

Entrepreneurs Organization, preview, review, compiles a strong package that could go one step further to be truly distinct.

Churchill Centre, preview, review, offers a lot of online features but is weak in publications.

Perhaps the two organizations that come the closest to being a true blend of excellence are the Entrepreneurs Organization and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Both prove that big budgets and fancy approaches are not as good as following basic rules in good communication.

Each week, I will examine organizational graphics that are of the Not the Best but Could Be category. Visual communications include the most important membership benefits and the biggest ways to attract prospective members. If improved strategically, each group explored has tremendous, if not unlimited, potential.

The Sebastian Study 2010, national review will be available at the end of the year. If you want to be sure that your organization is included, please click here.

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June 11, 2010

Have Dreams

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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