Case study: South Island Child

South Island Child is an Early Years Centre provincial initiative website which connects child caregivers— parents, grandparents, doctors, social workers, foster parents, and other care providers— to services and events throughout Southern Vancouver Island.

We were led by the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The unusual animated logo symbolizes a child with parents, teachers, and care providers moving toward and around the child. The logo remains subtly animated throughout the user’s visit, symbolizing the constant shift and movement between roles of care providers and the relentless attention we pay to children within our care.

Discovering our users

Through a discovery process with community stakeholders, we learned that some users of the website might have low literacy skills. They might be elderly, new to the English language, or they might just be young or new parents who aren’t familiar with certain vocabulary. It was extremely important that the language used on the website would be easy to understand.

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If you want to thrive in your life, rethink the design of everything around you

There are ways you could be happier and you don’t know it yet. I’m not talking about obvious unattainable life improvements like having Idris Elba for a partner, or owning a villa in Tuscany.  I’m talking about changes you can make in an hour, or in a few months, or next year that are unclear at first but obvious in retrospect, that simply require asking good questions (okay, and sometimes money).

Our lives can always improve in small ways that can have a huge ripple effect. Sure, we adjust quickly to improved circumstances, and studies show that our happiness level will return to what it was. But using this as a reason to never strive or improve anything is such an unimaginative Eeyore perspective because changes don’t have to be big. I’m not saying you have to get divorced, move to the sea, and become a lesbian— though I can personally vouch for it! I’m saying that when you make a change in your life that delights you, and your happiness quotient returns to what it was, relax— there are 20,000 more changes you can make that can produce delight, relief, or both. It’s exciting! Life can always change!

This is design thinking. It’s making people happier and more productive through changes and iterations, and it applies EV-ER-Y-WHERE. (The term is overused and bloviated, as Natasha Jen explains in this excellent 99u talk, “Design Thinking is Bullshit“, but I’m not using it in this way.)

I’ve got two personal examples of what I mean.

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Our company’s first racist rejection letter

I’m trying to establish a better morning routine than checking my email almost immediately upon waking, but this morning I was sleepy, up a little earlier than usual to tie my son’s high-school-graduation-photo tie and make him breakfast, and operating by habit.

I picked up my iPhone and checked my email from bed. A rejection message caught my eye. I had recently applied through a popular service-to-client matching freelance site to help a real estate company with their website. The rejection said,

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 8.31.46 AM

“Natasha, I will not be using your company. I think that it’s lamentable that you would feel the need to bring up race in your profile description.”

Unable to recall what I wrote in our profile so long ago, I gave Mr. King the benefit of the doubt. Did I write something ambiguous about race (weird— I loathe ambiguity in communication)? Did I misspell something or misstate something? My heart caught in my throat as I feared that I may have been accidentally hurting people of colour for months through poor writing.

Eventually, after mining through poor UX design, I found the link that would let me read my profile description. I sighed and shook my head.

What lamentatious thing did I say?

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How to get started working with Risk Creative

Not every client is for us and we’re not for every client.

A recent experience caused us to realize, Hey, we should explain the process for potential clients wanting to hire us for a project. What we’ve been doing has been working, but we can see how it helps to have explicit policy written in advance so that when a client comes along who may not be a good fit, they can identify that, saving us all time.

So, here is what it’s like to commence working with Risk Creative.

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bloodhound thinking that we should all stop using nexa script typeface

Please stop using Nexa Script typeface before it becomes the next Papyrus. Use these instead.

This is Nexa Script:

nexa script font typeface

It’s a nice typeface. It’s ideal for grabbing attention with a marketing tagline or opt-in offer, seeming friendly and casual without being hand-drawn and folksy. Which is why it’s used by every corporation everywhere to sell anything, especially fast food companies and restaurants—companies who can afford to hire really talented designers who should know better.

It’s so overused that it’s becoming the new Papyrus. I’m sure that at some point we all thought Papyrus was kinda cool. Of all the default-installed Microsoft typefaces, it was the one that stood out as a specialty typeface, as something you might use for a business logo. So, everyone did. Every small business owner not able to or wanting to hire a designer decided they could make their own business logo using Paint on their desktop and Papyrus. I once stood on a street corner in Kalamazoo, Michigan and was able to see from this one vantage point three businesses all using Papyrus as their logo:

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How to make your corporate blog less ugggghhhhh

Chances are, no one reads your corporate blog. You can confirm this using analytics.

If you confirm that no one is reading, we’re here to help with this awesome guide on how to make a blog people will want to read.

This isn’t a “10 top tips” quickie blog post because you’re simply not going to learn enough from a post like that. Consider this a free consulting session. Creating good content that people want to read is not an easy checklist anyone can accomplish (particularly not if you’re only willing to invest five minutes here and there to learning how!). –> If you don’t have more than five minutes right now to read this post, save it and read it later, or pay someone else to read it for you. Pay me to read it for you. Just kidding. That would be extraneous. 

Alright, let’s get started.

First, do you have a clear, quick answer to why you would start a blog in the first place?

If the only reason you can think of is “for search engine optimization results,” there’s a good chance that you’re wasting money. The only way your efforts could be profitable is if:

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Branding Case Study: Baldy Mountain Resort

Background

Baldy Mountain Resort began in 1968 in “Wine Country”—the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Locals have fond memories of skiing at Baldy as children, where the snow is regarded as ski-superior to Whistler, and the destination less touristy.

The resort began to experience financial troubles and eventually went into receivership, closing for the 2015-2016 season. Investors sought to revive the resort with one million dollars, and 150 days of planning and labour for 20 projects, including a new branding identity and new website—in time for their December 1, 2016 launch.

Challenge

Because the resort would not evolve to its fullest potential for several years yet, we needed to create a brand identity that was fresh, polished, but not so slick and modern as to lead skiers to expect a five-star resort. It would need to be flexible to evolve with the ski resort, and need to remind its already loyal community of skiers of the old Baldy.

Baldy Mountain Resort old logo
photo credit: John Fleming

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