Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) invited us to respond to their RFP for a digital marketing strategy in the fall of 2015 and we were selected to partner with Carol Watson and Andrew Paul from ECF on their project.

This project started out as a strategy and website redesign for the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF). Once we started working on the design, it became apparent that the current logo wasn’t effective in the digital realm, particularly when presented in small sizes (such as on mobile devices) where it lost most of its legibility. After exposing these issues to ECF, their team agreed it was high time to jump into the rebranding process and launch their new brand alongside the new website.

Initial Needs Analysis
  • Audit of current situation (technical and content audit of current website, and an internal/external communications review)
  • Strategic Planning
  • Guide Development (content, seo, social media, paid advertising, analytics)
Subsequent Needs Analysis
  • Website design (focus on screen design), development, and blog post migration
  • Brand redesign
  • Stationery design

Website Design & Development

ECF is composed of several different departments, and each had their own requests for the website as far as the pages they wished to include. We developed a sitemap that took these requests into consideration, but kept a focus on what the keyword research told us their audience actually searched for and needed from the website.

ECF committed to writing their own content before we started wireframing, so we were able to push “real” content directly into the wireframes — this always cuts down on design time, as there are no content surprises further down the road! Readability was imperative, so we adopted the “less is more” model — lots of white space, clear hierarchy for headers and text, and no extraneous visual elements in the body content. For the more content-dense pages, we used a mixture of anchor links and accordion content to reduce navigation time.

For functionality, we went with a simple dropdown menu for the top navigation, which switches to a slide-out drawer menu on mobile to ensure information was easy to find, regardless of the type of device a person was using.

ECF had already built a large collection of Edmonton photography that was perfect for this redesign. The image bank became a large part of the new visual identity overall, with these images being used across all printed materials as well.

Migrating Blog Posts from Craft CMS to WordPress

There were sixty blog posts on the old site that needed to be moved to the new site. Rather than copy and pasting several fields for each blog post we came up with a solution that would automate the blog post migration. We saved a lot of time (and budget) by building this method!

ECF logo before and after

Brand Design

ECF felt that the old logo was bland and evoked a feeling of a “cruise ship”. On the functionality side, the thin strokes of the serif font used made it hard to read on computer monitors, and mostly illegible on mobile devices. Our aim was to create a more modern mark to represent ECF that commanded respect and would hold up over time. After presenting several options, a simple but strong wordmark that put the emphasis on “Edmonton Community” was chosen. A reduced version of the logo that features just the “ECF” initials was also created alongside the full version to add more flexibility to the brand — at smaller sizes, such as on the mobile version of the website, the ECF logo is switched out for the longer version to maintain readability while still being a clear representation of the organization.

It was important to ECF that we kept their existing blue, but we revised their colour palette to include teal, which is used as one of the main secondary colours in both the website and printed materials. Working on the website and visual identity concurrently meant that decisions made for one often directed the other. The linear shape of the logo led the rest of the visual design to use strong lines and geometric shapes, and within these parameters, the overall style focuses on vibrant images of Edmonton, strong typography, a minimal colour palette, and ample white space. This look was applied to the substantial amount of printed material that ECF needed to have redesigned to reflect their new brand.

Limitations

Although ECF had many Edmonton-centric images for us to use on both the website and their printed materials, all were taken during the summer! At our suggestion, ECF is building a portfolio of winter-based images for their collection, in order to reflect the lengthy winter we enjoy here in Edmonton.

Reflections

Consistent communication with the project managers on ECF’s end (Carol and Andrew) helped keep our work process smooth — you don’t always get a client that is open to bold suggestions such as “maybe you need a rebrand!?” We enjoyed being part of a project that had so many different components that were completed over a longer timeline. It gave us the opportunity to learn deeply about ECF and build a strong relationship with them, which extended out into our current coaching and training project with them.

Results

ECF has a visual identity that is modern and respectable — without being too ostentatious — and is immediately recognized as representing their organization. Their new website embodies the new brand while giving their audience easier routes to find the information they need.

The communications team has a comprehensive set of guides that they use (with our coaching and assistance) to execute the marketing strategy we built with them after their initial RFP. Over the course of two keynote style presentations, we trained their entire organization to communicate using their brand voice and continue to work with the ECF team on print pieces, digital advertising, and coaching and training opportunities as they arise.

While we are still in the process of working with ECF to implement their digital strategy, we have already seen some exciting results:

  • Social Media visits up 101%
  • Organic Search visits up 13%
  • Granting page visits up 11%
  • Grant applications have doubled since 2016
  • Donor page visits up 34%