Ed. note: This case study is a selection from the
competition, in which an esteemed jury
identified submissions that demonstrate the value of design in a clear,
compelling and accessible way. It serves as an example of how to explain design
thinking to clients, students, peers and the public in general, based on
826 Valencia is dedicated to supplementing the education of local San
Francisco students ages 6 to 18, and helping teachers get their students
excited about the literary arts. The project goal was to both update
the look and feel of the 826 Valencia identity and build a site with
an extensive back-end system for managing volunteers, workshops and
students. 826 Valencia is the flagship organization in a fleet of 826 nonprofit
tutoring centers across the nation, and the client wanted the site
redesign to reestablish the San Francisco location as the premier 826
outpost. It’s a very deep site, with rich content aimed at parents and kids, and an
air of fun. Click on Mr. Blue and he might tell you,“Your parrot is
drab and inarticulate.” The site was launched to rave reviews and has
greatly improved the organization’s ability to engage with its
audience. Please visit the actual site at: http://826valencia.org.
None of your business, but it was basically pro bono.
We had two workshops with 826 Valencia staff, volunteers and students to
pinpoint their specific frustrations with the previous site and their needs for the
new one. We attended many of the different workshops and sessions 826
offers to get a sense of the overall vibe of the place. There was also
extensive testing (with changes made even after launch) to
improve functionality and user experience.
The largest challenge was to build a very customized, very robust back-end that was easy to use, since most 826 volunteers were not
computer savvy—a back-end that encompassed all of the various 826 programs and the functionality needed to manage them. At the same time, the CMS design
required a lot of clear parameters and limits so that the overall look and
tone of the site was maintained no matter what kind—or length—of content
needed to be added. Oh yeah, and all of this for very little money.
“Eric and his team at Volume Inc. have been incredible! So smart, so
visionary, so talented, so professional. You really ‘get’ 826 and have
done a fantastic job of reflecting our character and priorities on every
page. Thanks for being such a dream to work with.”—Leigh Lehman, 826 Valencia executive director
“It looks FANTASTIC. I am bowled over by it. It is perfect,
encapsulating everything that you do and stand for, both philosophically
and aesthetically. Great job Team 826! Wow. I have to confess I've just
written a long gushy email to the design co-op working on
branding/designing my little start-up’s logo and its website and have
told them in no uncertain terms that I covet the look and style of your
site. It must have been a huge project and I can’t tell you how
fantastic it is.”—Eugenie Teasley, former 826 Valencia staff member
Leigh Lehman also remarked that just about every other 826 chapter contacted
them about the site and how great it is. Before she left her post this
past January, she remarked how much smoother the organization is running
and how much more awareness there is of 826. SF Weekly even awarded it
best nonprofit website of the year.
Lastly, if making more people aware of—and making it easier for the
volunteers to manage—what is probably the best educational organization in the
Bay Area, if not America (our humble, and probably biased, opinion) isn't
a home run for people, culture and these so-called Living Principles, I
don't know what is. It’s not just how you create and deliver a design,
it’s the design projects you choose to take on in the first place.
The Valencia Street elevation at the bottom of the home page changes
according to the time of day. Don't forget to get some advice from
Learn more about the jury’s perspective on the competition and their
rationale behind the selections.
Section: Events and Competitions -
AIGA’s national design competitions celebrate exemplary design and
demonstrate the power of design.
Section: Events and Competitions -
Through the AIGA Chicago Mentor Program, a group of Chicago-based graphic designers designed a newspaper to inspire and inform Chicago high school students about the power, potential and possibilities of design.
Section: Why Design -
DesignEd K12, editorial design, graphic design, print design, mentoring, education, Design for Good, AIGA chapters, students
“Why is graphic design 93% white? Removing barriers to increase opportunities in graphic design” (PDF) was originally published in the AIGA Journal in 1991 in response to the Design Conference that year.
Section: Inspiration -
graphic design, culture, diversity, Diversity and Inclusion, social issues, social responsibility
Can a hip and grungy anti-smoking ad campaign convince kids? Bernard says Truth’s cool graphics send up smoke signals.
Section: Why Design -
Voice, user research, health
This high school design studio teaches students to use the creative process as a
method and develop smart communication
solutions that better their communities. The students work on projects in teams, with support and guidance from a professional design mentor.
Section: Tools and Resources -
DesignEd K12, experience design, graphic design, mentoring, posters, diversity, education, design thinking, social issues, design educators, students
BSR Collateral System
External Resources (cont.)
The Holiday Bus Drive
Gallagher & Associates