Make a Mark

  • By THE CHARLES NYC

Make a Mark - Design Marathon

On Saturday, March 9th, The Charles team came together to participate in Make A Mark NYC, a 12 hour design and development marathon benefitting local humanitarian causes.

The Charles was paired with Just As I am Youth Empowerment, affectionately known as JAIA, a personal and spiritual development leadership program serving youth and young adults ages 13-24. 

The Team

Aurelie Benais – Design Director,  Anita Bartolini – Senior Designer, Chelsea Flaherty – Digital Designer, John Wright – Junior Visual Designer, Taylor Nelson – Visual Designer, Emily Humphrey – Front End Developer, Annie Igler – Junior Visual Designer, Natasha Eng – Senior Project Manager / Photographer

The prompt was purposely left open-ended, and JAIA had an open mind regarding the design overhaul. The non-profit had an outdated WordPress site, so The Charles decided to start from the ground up – and provide JAIA with a broad spectrum of refreshed assets and collateral.

Objective

The main goal for the day was to make JAIA organization, more attractive for the audience that JAIA aims to serve – young adults aged 13-24– and turn their outdated website into a more fresh and approachable one.  

New Brand

After setting who our audience will be, we felt that the new branding needed to be friendly and welcoming, feel modern and fresh, but also keeps the heritage of JAIA old branding.

Style Guide

Once the new brand was determined, we translated it into the digital landscape: the website & social media channels. This brand included a full style guide with an updated logo, brand colors, and text styles. The style guide ensures that the brand is kept consistent in different platforms, and also helps guide JAIA employees, so they can refer back to it, and share with any person working on any brand assets or collateral.

Website Redesign

With such a limited timeline, we to trim back the content on the site to what was most important – who JAIA is, who they serve and how they do it, and how you can support them.

We provided a complete website redesign, including creating reusable design elements the JAIA team can continue to use across their collateral as they grow.

We updated the navigation from a multi level navigation with sections hidden in drop-downs, to a simple single layer navigation – surfacing what was most important at a glance.

Website Build

The site hadn’t been updated in awhile, and the theme was out of date. We installed a new, more modern theme, and customized the homepage. For the interior pages, we updated styles to allow for WYSIWYG styling to match our style guide.

Content

On their old site, JAIA utilized word clouds and graphics to communicate large ideas. We wanted to keep content fresh and engaging.

On our updated design, we gathered various video assets, and created a hero video that showcases what JAIA stands for. While it will live on the hero of the new website, it can also be used as a promotional tool anywhere else they’d like.

One of the largest challenges was to take a large amount of copy and re-organize it into an easy to navigate and easy to digest format. Combined with our new navigation, the content across the site is more concise and clearly communicates what JAIA is all about, how you can get involved, and what you can do to support them!

We also took new portraits of Gena, the amazing founder of JAIA, and members of the Youth Leadership Council for use on the new website. We kept the images light, bright, and full of energy, to keep in line with the new brand.

Instagram template/Feed recommendations

We felt a large part of the content that would attract their desired demographic (the Youth!) would be Instagram – so we did a bit of spring cleaning (updated the logo to the new one!) and provided a grid mock up of how we imagine them utilizing Instagram to promote all of their efforts and offerings. We exported all of these assets as JPGs so they’re post ready, and also provided editable template files so the JAIA design team can easily generate posts while keeping the look and feel consistent.

Assorted Collateral

One of the assets that JAIA had provided to us in their asset folder was a PDF that summarized JAIA that could be used as either a printed out take away, or a downloadable asset from the website for somebody to share. We completely redesigned this document with updated styling and layout to match our new brand.

Conclusion

All in all, the entire team had a great time, and hope that the work we did helps JAIA achieve their goals and help more youth.

Many many thanks to Make A Mark for having us, General Assembly for the great space to do the work, and all the sponsors who donated food and drink to keep us going all day long.

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