In earlier days, the Cleveland Vegan Society enlisted my services to redesign their website. Although I've scheduled a fully custom version to begin later this year, my initial choice to use a developer version of Squarespace was a good solution for their content creators at the time. I will share the current web solution and some of the marketing material I've created.
Non-profit organizations have the same needs as any business trying to build and maintain their customer base. I wanted to steer the Cleveland Vegan Society's marketing in a direction that was inviting and friendly. Throughout the year, this organization focuses on a fundraising event and massive VegFest that easily rivals similar events around the country. The goal is to educate and appeal to a wide range of curios website visitors and VegFest attendees coming from all over the world.
For me, it is nice to take a break from web only to work on branding and print material whilst contributing to a good cause.
The Landing Page
The Challenge: Parse all content from original site — including the multitude of dropdown menus — and display in a way that is is responsive and easier to navigate.
Cleveland Vegan Society knew they wanted to update the look and feel of their website. They were becoming paralyzed by the amount of content they wanted to show at one time, and afraid if I simplified their site by removing most of the nested links found in the navigation menus, their message would be no longer received by their wide audience.
The Solution: View the site from the 30,000 ft. level. Show the client that by including all of the old and new content by way of navigating through many dropdown menus only added frustration for the users who were becoming overwhelmed by too many choices.
I started with a basic Squarespace developer template and a clean slate by simplifying the content down to the most up-to-date and relevant content. At the time, the Cleveland Vegan Society was not ready to manage a blog, so rather than leaving stale content up for weeks/months, we decided it was something that should be initially left off. They could utilize social media to share some of the content.
Pages that were always relevant would take precedent in the navigation menu. They could easily update their content when necessary.
Other pages that changed often — like the annual VegFest section — could run with full content for the majority of the months leading up to the event, and be removed for the months after in preparation for another event. Any gallery images could be added to an archive section which contained all images from past events. This is true for speaker information or relevant links.
Smaller events — such as fundraisers — could be placed in the continually active events section.
Print And Marketing Materials
The Challenge: Update original logo and Cleveland Vegan Society icons with a design style more appealing to reach a wider audience. Create programs, banners, postcards, flyers, decals, maps within large events, and detailed schedules.
The Solution: Revisit the current audience and the audience Cleveland Vegan Society also wanted to reach. Meet with members of the board to get a further understanding about their current logos and marketing material, and what they liked/did not like.
I started this portion of the project by presenting a fresh take on their original VegFest logo. I wanted to get a good understanding of how far they wanted to deviate from their current design. Branding for non-profit organizations is personal and as important as any other business.
We struggled a bit at first — for the client, it is hard to let go of a design language you are comfortable with. But as time progressed, I was able to introduce appealing work that further excited the portion of the board who were ready for change, and intrigued the other portion who were initially apprehensive.
Watching the website traffic increase brought about the realization that the updated design was appealing to more Cleveland Vegan Society and Cleveland VegFest visitors. From this point I was able to spread my design work across all of their marketing material including print and wearable items.
All assets are neatly organized and made easily accessible for future use. Style guides have been created and are easily updated depending on incremental year to year changes.