Tag: case study

New Brand Identity and Website for Randy Burkett Lighting Design

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Case Studies.

From Rich Fisher, Project Designer:

Back in 2015, Randy Burkett Lighting Design began the process of developing not only a new website but also a refreshed brand identity. As we were fast approaching the firms 30th year in existence, it was important that we leverage our history in creating something for the future. To best achieve that goal, we turned to Spry Digital. From the very onset of the process through to the website launch their team kept our goals at the forefront while guiding us to an end product has exceeded our expectations.


When Spry Digital were asked to design the new web experience for Randy Burkett Lighting Design, we were thrilled to accept the challenge. Randy Burkett Lighting Design has designed lighting for some of the most prominent buildings, monuments, landscapes and public spaces in North America.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

Founded in 1988 by Randy Burkett, the St. Louis-based team consists of design professionals across disciplines, with lighting related backgrounds and educations in architectural engineering, architecture, interior design, and theatre. Coming from design backgrounds ourselves, we could appreciate the firm’s unique digital business challenges and help them to overcome any obstacles in communicating their work, discipline and philosophy to a wider audience.

The Challenge

Randy Burkett Lighting Design’s previous website was minimalistic and featured content that was tidy but small. Like many websites of the time, the site had been designed for screens less than 1000px wide and was not responsive. The content was high on aesthetic, but void of brand messaging and calls-to-action. The copy required an industrious attention from the user to read and synthesize what the firm had to say about their own work and practice.

The site was not built on a modern content management system (CMS), so was difficult to maintain and update, and did not provide scalability to grow with the firm as their work examples and content needs did.

Goals of the new website:

  • Design a responsive web experience that works and functions across a myriad of screens sizes and devices
  • Build on a modern, easy to use CMS that is scalable and can grow with the firm
  • Design layouts that make full use of the web canvas to highlight beautiful work
  • A multi-layer approach to content that appeals to a multiple audiences
  • Build the site on an SEO-friendly platform
  • Incorporate a blog where the client can express their culture and work

The team at Randy Burkett Lighting Design was quick to point out that while many of their partners include those in the architecture field, key decision makers and stakeholders on projects range from architects, building managers, interior designers, landscape designers and other non-design professionals. Thus, the primary content goal was to showcase the high level of expertise in their field, while making the content accessible to a range of audiences and not appear overly aloof – in other words, it needed to appeal to individuals from the technical and visual design field, as well as those who were not.

Spry Digital began work by conducting stakeholder meetings with the principals and staff to understand their business, people, approach, how they represent their work and the firm’s unique value proposition. One of the first areas on which Spry focused was the Randy Burkett Lighting Design brand itself: How has the brand historically represented the firm and how can the brand accommodate the future?

Brand Identity

Spry Digital considers every decision for our clients through the lens of a customer interacting with the brand. We spent time with the client to understand how the brand identity was used in communication pieces in the past, and how the brand is represented and perceived today. After evaluating the identity, it was agreed we would begin our work with a brand identity refresh to represent what Randy Burkett Lighting Design is today.

Legacy vs Future

The client’s previous word mark logo included a stacked and justified Old Style typeface. While an elegant treatment, it did not necessarily speak to the to modern highly-technical practice of lighting design. Since their existing logo enjoyed some familiarity with their audience, we considered how to remain loyal to the original mark, yet bring it forward with an updated typeface and treatment.

Old Randy Burkett Lighting Design Logo

Previous logotype

During the design process, Spry explored a variety of logo treatments – from variations of the old logotype to more abstract interpretations. The result is a primary logo that remains loyal to the original word mark with a more contemporary typeface and treatment. The 45 degree two tone background evokes a lit facet, hinting at the practice of lighting design.

Setting the Stage

Since the logo would typically be presented alongside visually striking imagery of lighting plans, architectural drawings and finished projects, we limited the palette to a selection of monochromatic dusky hues, akin to a midnight blue sky – a time of day when the magic of lighting design is revealed.

Creating a Brand System

With the primary logo revealing itself in the process, we then addressed the multiple uses of the brand identity across medium.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design requested specific strategy around the fact the firm is often referred to as RBLD. We designed a version of the mark with the four letter forms against the same background, knowing this treatment would work well as an avatar, icon or watermark on project images, presentations, and social media. For additional flexibility, we created a horizontal version of the full word mark. Both the abbreviated and horizontal versions are used on the two sides of the business card, while the stacked word mark is used on the website.

 

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Business Cards

Business cards

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Branding

Brand system

Spry Digital continues to work with Randy Burkett Lighting Design to extend the brand into multiple marketing, sales and communication pieces.

Website Planning

While the brand identity exercise was underway, Spry Digital got to work on planning the new website experience.

Architecture and User Experience

We took the information presented in the initial stakeholder meetings and began the process of documenting the requirements for the new website. We created an information architecture diagram to inform the main landing areas of the site and the audience’s journey through the site with navigation.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design UX Wireframes

UX – Content architecture wireframes

Wireframes were developed to inform the user experience and content architecture of the new website. At this stage, we are thinking about the user’s priorities, considering a multi-layer messaging approach to attract intended audiences and guide them to the call-to-action.

We designed multiple areas on the home page to draw users into key landing areas, like featured work, services, studio, and the blog. Throughout the site are omnipresent calls-to-action to reach out and contact RBLD, assuming a visitor has already been wowed by the beautiful work. We consider the multiple audiences and address their questions and expectations when they land on any area within the website.

With the user experience portion of the planning done, we set forth on the visual look and feel of the new web experience, taking direction from the brand identity exercise.

Defining the Visual Language

A priority of the visual aesthetic is to to consider how the website form, as well as any user interactions, translate between mobile and desktop, or any other device for that matter. Thinking about these different scenarios up front informs a more comprehensive design, consistent user experience and functionality across devices.

The visual design employs a magazine-style layout in its presentation. We created multiple versions, taking into consideration multiple font and color treatments. We were sure to make use of the phenomenal photography owned by RBLD with oversized areas, showcasing details of their work previously not seen by making full use of the web canvas.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Portfolio

Portfolio project

Brand extension comes in the way of angled overlays in various content areas – the blog, studio, and calls to action – carrying the faceted theme of the logo through to the interface.

A unique “off canvas” menu hides the traditional masthead so not to conceal any of the beautiful photography. Microinteraction design in the form of animated hover states on thumbnails and key content blocks were included to create an enticing experience, encouraging discovery and interaction.

By the end of the visual design phase, we had achieved a balance of design aesthetic and practical data that would satisfy all audiences no matter their background.

Bringing it to life

The new website was built on the WordPress content management system (CMS). WordPress is the most popular open source CMS platform in the world, and could be easily managed and maintained by the client. We leveraged the Advanced Custom Fields plugin for WordPress to make content management a breeze, and utilized Zurb’s FoundationPress theme to speed up development of RBLD’s custom responsive web templates.

Other features of the new website include:

  • Featured work masthead on home page that randomizes on every page load, communicating the breadth of work and giving the site a fresh look on every visit
  • Customizable block on home page for Randy Burkett to push announcements
  • Off canvas main menu
  • Portfolio area sorted by industry
  • Portfolio projects cross-linked with related work and services to encourage further discovery
Randy Burkett Lighting Design Multi Device Responsive Website

Multi-device experience

Spry Digital tested the website on most popular screen sizes, operating systems and devices to ensure a consistent experience for every user.

Results

The new Randy Burkett Lighting Design web experience delivers on the goals defined at the offset of the project and presents the firm’s work and philosophy in a new light.

Randy Burkett Lighting Design Results

The new Randy Burkett Lighting Design web experience.

Since its launch in September, 2016, Randy Burkett Lighting Design has reported dozens of new leads generated by the website, and continues to receive positive praise from partners for the new brand identity and website.

Testimonial

Founder/Principal Randy Burkett had this to say about working with Spry:

The Spry team expended a significant amount of up-front time getting to know our design practice and philosophy, before embarking on the website and rebranding effort. The time spent proved invaluable throughout the entire process, as they were able to better anticipate our needs and meet expectations.

As design professionals ourselves, we chose to remain closely engaged with Spry during the development and rollout. They were always accommodating and worked responsively, while using their knowledge to keep us on track to our goals. They were the experts and it was their insight that ultimately led to a successful project for us all.

Visit Randy Burkett Lighting Design to explore their beautiful portfolio of work and the new brand identity and website by Spry.

New Drupal + CiviCRM Site: Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Case Studies.

Background

Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping thousands of local St. Louis children with disabilities say “I can” by providing them with vital medical equipment, as well as educational, therapeutic, and recreational programs. Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis is an international leader in fundraising and providing grants to more than 75 partner agencies throughout the St. Louis area. The grants directly impact the lives of St. Louis area children with physical and mental disabilities.

Variety was looking for a partner to improve their website and online fundraising efforts with a more cost-effective, sustainable, and manageable platform. Already familiar with open source systems, Variety felt our recommendation of a Drupal website with CiviCRM integration was the right fit for their organization.

Goals

As defined by the client, the goals for the new Variety branding and website included:

  • Increase awareness of Variety the Children’s Charity mission.
  • Increase donor engagement and expand individual online donations.
  • Determine best way to incorporate Help A Variety Kid campaign into existing Variety brand and site architecture.
  • Provide strategy, user experience design, and development of a new donor management portal, Help A Variety Kid.
  • Implement real-time progress bars that show percentage of goal reached for specific donation goals.
  • Create automated emails and messages, including confirmation, thank you and receipts.
  • Create a platform for the community to get involved with corporate-sponsored and branded promotions and campaigns.

Requirements and Strategy Phase

The Variety Saint Louis site was built on an outdated version of the Orchard CMS, an open source .NET content management system. The site was not regularly maintained, which resulted in broken pages and difficultly in content administration. The site also experienced high bounce rates that Variety sought to improve. Based on our analysis of Variety’s organizational needs for their website, we recommended rebuilding the site using Drupal and CiviCRM.

During this strategy phase, we also worked with Variety to redefine their donation and event management processes. We examined the current online donation process and documented areas that would be configured to accept online donations and event registration.

Branding Strategy

We worked with Variety’s internal marketing team and their marketing agency, Momentum, to devise the best strategy for incorporating the newly branded donation platform, Help A Variety Kid (HAVK), into the Variety family. The discussion centered around whether to create HAVK as a standalone donation platform at its own url (separate from Varietystl.org) or incorporate HAVK into the website architecture that Spry Digital was currently developing in Drupal.

It was decided that Variety would leverage the brand recognition of Variety St. Louis by driving traffic from Help A Variety Kid marketing campaigns to the existing website. A new donation portal, branded Help A Variety Kid, would be developed on the new Drupal website that would accommodate a variety of donation types. Variety could continue to promote Help A Variety Kid in the media while driving traffic to Varietystl.org, improving brand recognition, site traffic, and organic SEO.

User Experience Design

We spent time with the client to understand the pain points with their current website and processes. Features identified during the requirements phase allowed us to capture important features for the wireframes.

  • Direct donation links that would allow users to donate in two easy steps.
  • A dedicated donation section that would engage donors and handle a variety of donation types.
  • Kickstarter-like donation pages that would allow a user to browse and choose a specific item that they would like to donate towards.
  • Thermometer gauges on items to indicate real-time percentage complete of goals.
  • Donation pages, powered by CiviCRM, with a contribution widget for online donation management.
  • Event Management, powered by CiviCRM, allowing upcoming events to display on the Drupal site and allowing participants to register online.

With the Drupal site migration underway and the Help A Variety Kid branding strategy coming into focus, we worked with the Momentum team to set a direction for the new donation portal on the website. Wireframes were created by Spry Digital to address layout, structure and functionality. An emphasis on design of the CiviCRM donation and event pages, beyond what CiviCRM provides out-of-the-box, was important to improve user experience and donation and event registration conversions.

Design and Development

The task of creating the front-end design of the Help A Variety Kid portal went to Momentum. They created a compelling, colorful design that highlighted photography of Variety Kids.

The Drupal website was developed using the Zen theme framework. Content types were identified and Drupal views were created to publish content throughout the site (including CiviCRM donation and event data). Blocks displaying the latest tweets and photos from Flickr were configured to provide fresh social media integration.

Several CiviCRM features were configured and integrated, including contribution widgets, donation forms, online event registration, and corporate sponsorship information. To provide a rich and seamless integration with Drupal, functionality provided by the CiviCRM Webform Integration module and CiviCRM View Integration was extensively used.

Our team also worked to reduce the number of steps potential donors must take to donate online by building a feature to automatically feed donation amounts entered in Calls to Action on Drupal pages into the CiviCRM donation form of the site.

Key Modules

  • CiviCRM
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Views (including CiviCRM integration)
  • Panels
  • Webforms (including CiviCRM Webform integration)
  • Zen theme

Results

We measure success by meeting and exceeding goals for our clients. For Variety we accomplished:

  • Successfully integrated Help A Variety Kid donation platform into the existing Varietystl.org Drupal site, allowing donors to make multiple types of donations online and significantly streamlining fundraising efforts.
  • Provided the ability to promote corporate-sponsored donation campaigns.
  • Successfully integrated CiviCRM event management. Recently, 24 tables for Variety Trivia Night were registered and sold online.
  • Improved the bounce rate on Varietystl.org by 40%.

Variety Help A Variety Kid Donation Portal
How does the client enjoy their new Drupal/CiviCRM website?

We chose CiviCRM because of it’s ease to use, open source platform and ability to keep donor-generated pages.We absolutely love CiviCRM. Our bounce rate has decreased, our ease to change content is much improved, and our donations have increased.

Accolades for Spry Digital:

Their organizational timelines were fantastic. Clear, concise and if any problems were on the horizon they would properly adjust the schedule to meet our needs. Their knowledge of our website is impressive, I feel like they have a solution to any problem we have.

Visit Variety at Varietystl.org and make a donation today at HelpAVarietyKid.org.

If you want to know more about how Drupal or CiviCRM can help your fundraising goals, drop us a line.

CiviCRM in St. Louis

Posted by Sheila Burkett & filed under Donor Management.

St. Louis NonProfits chose CiviCRM for Donor Management

Prior to starting Spry Digital, I held several board positions with not-for-profit organizations. Each organization struggled with managing donors, handling reservations for events and automating their processes for membership renewals. In 2009, I started researching alternative solutions to eTapestry for donor and event management. I discovered CiviCRM and was amazed at its functionality, flexibility, and integration with Drupal. The Webster Groves School District Foundation was the first client that we put on Drupal 6 with CiviCRM and they are still on it today. Over the last four years, we have learned and contributed a tremendous amount with CiviCRM and helped many clients understand how to leverage the built in functionality.

We asked some of our CiviCRM clients for their feedback with their experience with the platform. See how Craft Alliance, Gateway Off-Road Cyclists (GORC), Variety St. Louis, and Webster Groves School District found CiviCRM befitted their organizations.

You can read more in our case studies.

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What were you using previously to manage donors?

Craft Alliance:

Craft Alliance had been using an Access-based database that was created for us by a different technology company for more than 10 years. The system was very outdated!

Gateway Off-Road Cyclists (GORC)

GORC managed its constituents and donors using basic classic .asp infrastructure and a small MS Access database. Memberships had to be manually manipulated within Access itself to verify membership renewals.

Why did your organization choose CiviCRM?

Craft Alliance:

We chose CiviCRM because of its flexibility. Because it is an open source database, it will evolve with technological developments and will not become outdated quickly.  We also chose CiviCRM because Spry Digital was able to meld the database to meet  our needs which include an class enrollment system as well as fundraising management.

GORC:

GORC chose CiviCRM because of its robust feature set. The International Mountain Bike Association uses CiviCRM as well and we felt that having our data in a similar format would make it easier to exchange information or partner with them, should that need ever arise. We also saw the features their website offered users and wanted to offer the same capabilities.

VarietySTL:

We chose CiviCRM because of it’s ease to use, open source platform and ability to keep donor-generated pages.

How has CiviCRM benefited your organization?

Craft Alliance:

CiviCRM has created staff efficiency by making the process of pulling reports user-friendly so that more than one or two people on staff can access information.  It will ultimately result in a great improvement in staff efficiency by removing the need for staff members to input class enrollment information into the data base and into our financial accounting system.

GORC:

We have the capacity now to run more in-depth reports and to track our volunteer hours more effectively. The automation of membership renewals and email reminders has been a huge success for us. The ‘dashboard’ allows us to quickly see who is up for renewal, what activities have been submitted and who has signed up for our trailbuilding events. We no longer ask that our members renew all at once in January because now it’s easy to track memberships throughout the year with Civi’s tools.

Variety St. Louis:

We are quite new to CiviCRM-but absolutely love it so far. Our bounce rate has decreased, our ease to change content is much improved, and our donations have increased!

Webster Groves School District:

The new Webster Groves School District Foundation web site has allowed our organization to share timely information with our donors, potential grant recipients, and community through an exciting, interactive format. Now our event participants are able to register online, which many participants prefer.