Posts tagged ‘International Association of Lighting Designers’

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 25, 2010

Intl. Association of Lighting Designers

Simple is generally best. The International Association of Lighting Designers exemplifies elegant simplicity in their graphics. They have placed emphasis where it belongs—in the overall look and feel of their presentation. As a foundation to build upon, IALD’s personality is distinctive because as a rare case of starkness that is active.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating International Association of Lighting Designers

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Usually a logo that is a typeface and a line will not be very exciting. IALD’s logo is unusual in its expressive use of such simple elements. The imagery of light, symbolized by the yellow vertically fading line, is supported by the white light of the type. Crisp, the only limitation is the dependence on the black background, making it ink-consuming in print applications. If reversed, using black lettering, while maintaining the yellow beam, it is still unusual but not as dramatic.

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.
Black and yellow are thematic colors that express the concept of light. As IALD is an association of lighting designers, the colors are the most appropriate. The logo beams like a ray of light out of the large black background. The association has a wealth of photos to show off the gorgeous interiors, yet they could be larger or have the option to click for larger. Since their mission is to raise visibility of their members’ work, highlighting the lighting could be stronger.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
Beginning with the splash page on the website, even though simple and elegant, IALD’s graphic personality is crisp and upbeat. Usually such a heavy use of black is not uplifting but serious and bold. Here, black is welcoming when paired with yellow, the photograph, and the literal use of negative space in the banner. In the templates, the strict grid of the left column is barely noticeable. The dominant color treatment, photo variation, and clear navigation make this site easy on the eyes and invokes a fluid visit.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
Though there is a good thematic foundation, IALD’s graphics stop there. Beyond the template and the photographs, all information is treated the same way. The typography is well delineated and there are occasional snapshot-sized images to break up the page, but these features and portfolios could be better accented. For example, their newsletter could have a graphic banner and structure to enhance visual samples of members’ work. Also their publications are difficult to find.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
It takes a lot of ability to maximize minimal elements. IALD gains distinction through effective and unusual simplicity. They illuminate the influence of lighting and exemplify its aesthetics. With such rich graphic potential, they could take more advantage of their photographic library, member experiences, and further push their mission of visibility.

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

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