NROC | Networked for Change

Networked for Change, NROC 2017

Education leaders take action to scale innovative practices

CHALLENGE

In 2016, NROC's marketing leadership identified "Networked for Change" as the theme of their upcoming 2017 annual member meeting.  Blue Marble was tasked with developing a visual identity for the theme.  

INSIGHT

The team at NROC felt inspired by aspen trees and wanted to use an aspen forest as a metaphor to describe how being "networked" is a powerful force for change. Blue Marble agreed that the idea was a great fit for this collaborative group of education leaders. In order to execute the idea, the branding program would need to appeal both to young teachers and seasoned administrative leaders—not too trendy and yet not too staid.

"Networked for Change emphasizes how natural and human systems of connection encourage resilience and evolution. The NROC Network of members is a powerful force for change, unified by a commitment to honor and support all learners."
—Amanda Melton, NROC Marketing Director

For the campaign visuals, we paired a geometric look with an organic, hand-drawn illustration. We created the illustration of an aspen forest showing connected roots underground and a whole forest across a landscape. We developed the overall visual identity, including the Networked for Change logo and a style guide with defined colors, fonts, and graphic elements. Working closely with the NROC marketing team, the theme was integrated into conference activities, and the visual identity was applied across a range of media, including signage, name tags, agenda, tote bags, notebooks, a card deck, slide presentations, websites, emails, conference app, and more.

RESULTS

After eleven years in operation, the nonprofit NROC project is feeling on the cusp of a breakthrough. The group's flagship creation, EdReady (a math and English learning system), recently received another round of funding from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Numerous states across the U.S. are integrating EdReady into educational practices with a goal of improving college graduation rates.

The Networked for Change branding has succeeded in capturing the mood of this nonprofit project as its membership works behind-the-scenes to re-think pathways to student success and improve outcomes within the U.S. education system. Beyond that, the graphic identity has brought delight and interest to the often dry and thankless task of action planning for large-scale educational programs.

For Blue Marble, it has been a real privilege to take part in such an inspiring grassroots movement and to see participation and momentum growing after years of hard work. 

2017 Ambassador award winner and California Adult Education professional, Penny Pearson proudly displays her award featuring the Networked for Change aspen illustration.

(click images below to view as slideshow, scroll down for video case study)

Video case study: NROC Annual Meeting 2017 Highlights


About NROC Membership / Annual Meeting 2017 Graphics


Creative Direction: Christine Fisher (BMC) / Amanda Melton (NROC)

Art Direction, Design, and Illustration: Christine Fisher, Blue Marble Creative

Photography: Jennifer Jones   ||   Videography: Wiley Watson

Aspen concept: Terri Rowenhorst / Ilse Wolf  ||   Video direction / project assist: Suzanne Wright Baumhaukl


CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education

 
 

Koru | Choosing grit over grades

Choosing grit over grades

Koru offers a new way for tech companies to hire and develop the right early career talent

CHALLENGE

Koru began as an immersive, in-person business-training program for recent college grads, guided by a new paradigm for what it takes to succeed in today's job market. When Koru first approached Blue Marble in late 2014, the company was preparing to build an online component to reach a greater number of job-seekers and provide additional value to employers. Blue Marble participated in design of this new, tech-based offering at various points from early concept through development.

INSIGHT

As experts in job success for some of the world's top companies, Koru's leadership team holds themselves and others to a high standard. This team really understands the design process and is constantly looking to innovate, so no idea is too precious to be challenged and the customer's need is held in the highest regard. Every aspect of every project was a collaboration with many other bright and talented people. During our first engagement, Koru's leadership described their vision and we worked together to assemble their ideas into early prototypes and mockups which were used for fundraising and customer research. When a team was assembled to develop this new element of the business into a full-scale online application, Blue Marble worked with Koru's core team to support design for the consumer-facing application and to develop companion offerings to employers and colleges. We also helped to design an administrative interface for Koru staff to manage the day-to-day operation of the system.

RESULTS

Koru is transforming the way companies screen, hire, and develop early-career millennial talent through their data-driven talent analytics solution. They work with Fortune 500 brands and high-growth companies across dozens of industries to find and develop the right fit talent to meet their needs.

While much of Blue Marble's work with Koru was proprietary and confidential, you can see below a few examples of the types of projects we were engaged with.


In early stages, Blue Marble met with Koru to gather notes and sketches, then developed mockups to represent Koru's vision for the product for both employers and job-seekers. These were sufficiently detailed to facilitate conversation with prospective funders and to raise questions for customer research, allowing the product idea to develop and evolve to meet market needs.

In early stages, Blue Marble met with Koru to gather notes and sketches, then developed mockups to represent Koru's vision for the product for both employers and job-seekers. These were sufficiently detailed to facilitate conversation with prospective funders and to raise questions for customer research, allowing the product idea to develop and evolve to meet market needs.


Customer journey maps for both job-seekers and employers: internal documents like these are helpful to encourage focus and clear understanding of customer needs. Koru provided customer research, BMC handled visual design/layout.

Information architecture diagram: an internal document BMC created and used during development to outline the structure of administrative portals and their relationships to other aspects of the product.

Information architecture diagram: an internal document BMC created and used during development to outline the structure of administrative portals and their relationships to other aspects of the product.


Administrative portal screen: Blue Marble handed off dozens of screens for development to be used as part of the day-to-day operations of Koru. For example, here a screen shows how an employee of Koru would evaluate and give feedback on a video submitted by an applicant.

Administrative portal screen: Blue Marble handed off dozens of screens for development to be used as part of the day-to-day operations of Koru. For example, here a screen shows how an employee of Koru would evaluate and give feedback on a video submitted by an applicant.


CLIENT

Koru Careers, Inc.

SERVICES

(UX/UI) User experience and user interface design

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Economic Impact


NROC | Champions for Change

Champions for Change, NROC 2016

Education leaders come together to create the changes they wish to see

CHALLENGE

As a long-time advisor to the NROC marketing team, we join in annual strategic planning sessions to outline goals, strategies, and tactics for the coming year. In late 2015, while developing the 2016 marketing plan, NROC's marketing leadership identified a theme of "Champions for Change." Blue Marble was tasked with developing a graphic identity for this new theme. The graphics would be used for NROC-hosted meetings, events, and other promotions throughout the year. Blue Marble also assisted with planning by asking clarifying questions and documenting the strategy in an organized, visual format. The slide deck and summary sheet we designed helped NROC marketing staff to relate their vision easily to managers across the organization. 

INSIGHT

For the Champions for Change (C4C) graphic identity, we needed to avoid creating something so different that it would feel like a new identity for the organization. At the same time, NROC represents a forward-thinking, innovative group of technologists and educators, so it's important to keep pace with trends and present a feeling of being in-touch with the future. Our goal was to strike the right balance—staying clearly aligned with the NROC organization's main brand, but also putting forth something fresh and inspiring.

RESULTS

The graphic identity we created for the Champions for Change campaign makes direct reference to the NROC organizational logo, which includes a triangle shape inside the letter O (referencing a play button and forward movement). The new variation on this symbol emphasizes the outlines of the circular O shape with breaks in the line so that it also reads as two Cs (for Champions for Change). Additional text elements use alternate versions of the organization's font (Proxima Nova) so that text appears fresh but unified. Similarly, the colors are consistent with overall brand colors, with the introduction of some subtle gradients in keeping with visual trends of 2016. These design decisions were summarized in a simple style guide and then applied to a variety of posters, name tags, flyers, and other swag to be used at events throughout the year. The graphics have been well-received by audiences, setting the tone for an energetic and aspirational 2016.

style guide for 2016 Champions for Change theme (an internal document)

style guide for 2016 Champions for Change theme (an internal document)

meeting participants (showing name tags, buttons, posters in background)

meeting participants (showing name tags, buttons, posters in background)

NROC staff and ambassadors wore buttons to represent the main products NROC has created.

NROC staff and ambassadors wore buttons to represent the main products NROC has created.

Blue Marble designed artwork for tote bags and various other items, including a simple black and white meeting agenda.

Blue Marble designed artwork for tote bags and various other items, including a simple black and white meeting agenda.

Posters featuring the C4C theme artwork guide participants to the correct rooms.

Posters featuring the C4C theme artwork guide participants to the correct rooms.

Flyers with inspirational quotes reinforce the theme and encourage reflection.

Flyers with inspirational quotes reinforce the theme and encourage reflection.

NROC-C4C-poster-face-LARGE_v3-5-hr.jpg

Faces of real NROC leaders, learners, and teachers were featured on campaign posters.

NROC staff hand out name tags, drink tickets, and registration packets.

NROC staff hand out name tags, drink tickets, and registration packets.

A conference app was branded with theme artwork

A conference app was branded with theme artwork

NROC staff pose with EdReady glasses and a themed backdrop

NROC staff pose with EdReady glasses and a themed backdrop

NROC is an organization that genuinely makes a difference in the lives of students and education professionals. Latonia (pictured above) is now attending Solano Community College in California and majoring in Political Science. She plans to attend law school.

NROC is an organization that genuinely makes a difference in the lives of students and education professionals. Latonia (pictured above) is now attending Solano Community College in California and majoring in Political Science. She plans to attend law school.

photos by Jen Jones


CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education


EdReady | Math assessment and intervention

EdReady | Math assessment and intervention

From middle school to college, students across the U.S. are using EdReady to fill their knowledge gaps and surpass their own expectations.

CHALLENGE

The NROC Project (NROC) is a national nonprofit group passionate about helping people overcome obstacles in math. NROC knows that individuals are unique and life can be messy. Yet, the way our education system works, students are moved from one lesson to the next, and from one grade to the next on a strict time schedule. What happens is that many end up failing to grasp a few concepts before the teacher moves on. In math particularly, this results in poor comprehension of the subsequent material, which leads to lower grades, math anxiety, and ultimately having to take remedial college courses. College readiness has become a big issue in the United States, with almost half of graduating high school seniors being unprepared for college math. Of those who aren't college-ready, only 20% graduate with a college degree. Individuals in this situation find themselves even farther behind economically—deep in student debt but without any degree to improve their earning potential.

NROC's founder, Gary Lopez, first told us about his vision for EdReady in 2012. NROC had recently secured funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build the product, which would allow students to determine their readiness for college math based on their unique goals, then provide a personalized study path to fill in their knowledge gaps. The big goal was to save hardworking people's precious time and money and to really address the issue of college remediation in a new way. EdReady would be a free online tool with a more advanced and customized version used in educational institutions nationwide.

EdReady needed to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Imagine an overly confident student headed to a rigorous college STEM program, or an adult with math anxiety striving to earn a G.E.D. A project like this requires the involvement of many stakeholders. Conference calls sometimes had a dozen or more participants between NROC staff, the funder, the development team, and other consultants on the project. Blue Marble's role was to lead visual and interaction design for EdReady, and also to develop the brand identity and marketing materials. Upon first learning of the project, we had about three months to show significant progress before our work would be presented at a high-stakes meeting with Bill Gates.

INSIGHT

NROC is unique in that their work is guided by a national network of educational institutions. Therefore, the need to get buy-in from students, schools, and other education leaders is embedded into its business model. 

Christine Fisher and John Watson discuss EdReady with high school students during a day of user testing.

Christine Fisher and John Watson discuss EdReady with high school students during a day of user testing.

Blue Marble helped conduct focus groups to test our assumptions and gain valuable insight into the user’s experience with early prototypes. Within the first three months, the interface underwent three major revisions based on feedback from students and teachers. We observed a wide spectrum of attitudes about math and college, learning our target audience's own language so we could gain their trust in offering a solution. NROC had a well-defined vision in many ways, and in other ways they placed a lot of trust in our expertise. Design for software development is kind of like putting together a giant puzzle. There are hundreds of possible interactions to think about, and it all needs to look simple and inviting. Empathy, patience, and tenacity are key. 

RESULTS

  • The project had a successful start and continues to take shape with many hundreds of hours and a dedicated team. EdReady was launched on time (April 2014) and has been well received by students, funders, teachers, and other education leaders.
  • The beta release of EdReady in 22 pilots in five states showed promising results. In all cases, when compared to the traditional approach, a much larger segment of students achieved placement exam scores that surpassed the required math score. Students also achieved success much more quickly (e.g., in days or weeks of study versus months or semesters of extra classes).
  • EdReady is currently being used by institutions across Montana, Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Tennessee, North Carolina, and others. EdReady.org allows teachers and students across the U.S. to use the program free.
  • A short documentary (about Montana) is available to show what a statewide implementation of EdReady looks like in 2015. Blue Marble was involved in the production of this film, conducting the interviews and providing feedback during the editing process.
  • EdReady has matured from the concept stage to become a fully functional product with a coherent brand and story that continues to unfold.
  • Based, in part, on the value EdReady brings to educational institutions, NROC has been able to increase membership and is working toward becoming a self-sustaining project. In this case, EdReady and similar programs can be available to institutions long-term at remarkably lower costs than a comparable for-profit vendor solution.

FORGING AHEAD

After about five years of ongoing involvement in the project, we have completed a large breadth and depth of work to help EdReady continue gaining momentum. Any product of this scale requires constant improvement, and we are occasionally asked to consult on the product interface, including the design of new reports and data dashboards for teachers and administrators. We are also involved in weekly strategy meetings as we have helped the organization to grow a well-integrated, internal marketing department. Another interesting aspect has been planning for the customer experience within educational institutions. The product has a lot of built-in flexibility for institutions to configure it according to their own needs, and this means teachers and administrators need to be empowered with communication tools to help them champion the cause within their own organizations.

Blue Marble produced and directed this first explainer video in 2014, including script, storyboards, illustration, voiceover, motion and sound design. This video remains the best way to familiarize oneself with the concept and basic user interface of EdReady. Due to careful planning the video serves a variety of needs and has been customized for use in two states.

In 2015 we produced a six-part online toolkit for education leaders to promote EdReady within their own institutions. A variety of customizable materials and a complete style guide were included.

In 2015 we produced a six-part online toolkit for education leaders to promote EdReady within their own institutions. A variety of customizable materials and a complete style guide were included.

The toolkit was also shared as a credit-card-sized flash drive in conference bags. Our work has included designs for conference signage, name tags, and collateral.

The toolkit was also shared as a credit-card-sized flash drive in conference bags. Our work has included designs for conference signage, name tags, and collateral.

A suite of reports allows administrators and teachers to support students using EdReady. How is Ms. Sandoval's Algebra 1 class performing? How has Elizabeth been spending her time inside EdReady? How did Jonathan reach his target score so quickly? Blue Marble helped NROC to create a system that answers questions like these based on research into the needs of EdReady's administrative users.  

A suite of reports allows administrators and teachers to support students using EdReady. How is Ms. Sandoval's Algebra 1 class performing? How has Elizabeth been spending her time inside EdReady? How did Jonathan reach his target score so quickly? Blue Marble helped NROC to create a system that answers questions like these based on research into the needs of EdReady's administrative users.  

The "study path" where a student can learn about topics they need to study, then check their knowledge to improve their scores. Students can learn and assess themselves at their own pace in a low-stakes environment with constant feedback.

The "study path" where a student can learn about topics they need to study, then check their knowledge to improve their scores. Students can learn and assess themselves at their own pace in a low-stakes environment with constant feedback.

 

CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Interaction/interface design

Customer/user experience

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Print and digital publication

Illustration, photography, video production, motion graphics

FOCUS

Education


“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project


 
 

“We’ve got many students falling out of higher education. The work NROC is doing in technology and education could not be more important.”

– Martha Kanter, Former U.S. Department of Education Undersecretary


“We wouldn't be where we are without you.”

– Ahrash Bissell, PhD, EdReady Project Manager


Identity elements:

A clean, text-only logo with optional "Ed head" symbolism.

A clean, text-only logo with optional "Ed head" symbolism.

The "Ed" symbol helped to grab attention at a time when photos did not yet exist, and to convey "smarts, vision, and resolving uncertainty."

The "Ed" symbol helped to grab attention at a time when photos did not yet exist, and to convey "smarts, vision, and resolving uncertainty."


 
 
 
 
 
FUN FACT: We chose to use a rainbow in the animation as a symbol of hope and possibility. An actual rainbow appeared at the EdReady launch party in April 2014, and again at the member meeting in 2015.

FUN FACT: We chose to use a rainbow in the animation as a symbol of hope and possibility. An actual rainbow appeared at the EdReady launch party in April 2014, and again at the member meeting in 2015.

 
 
 
 
 
Hundreds of education leaders have contributed time and expertise to this project and the underlying learning resources. It is truly a labor of love for many.

Hundreds of education leaders have contributed time and expertise to this project and the underlying learning resources. It is truly a labor of love for many.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To learn more about the organization behind EdReady, and to hear what education leaders are saying about EdReady, see the above video. You can also learn more about our work on The NROC Project.

Inter-Fluve, Inc. | Accentuating the design and restoration of rivers

Accentuating the design and restoration of rivers

A brand refresh for a cutting-edge interdisciplinary engineering firm

CHALLENGE 

Inter-Fluve is an interdisciplinary firm specializing in investigations, design, and restoration of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. As pioneers in their field, they develop solutions to complex aquatic challenges while balancing human and environmental needs. With over 1,600 successful projects across 4 continents and all regions of the United States, Inter-Fluve is challenged to communicate the depth and breadth of their excellent work.

The firm had recently launched a new website when they contacted Blue Marble to help with a variety of printed materials. The website project established a new direction for the brand identity with prolific use of real project photos and friendly staff bios. Our challenge was to provide a more precisely defined set of graphic styles and template documents for ongoing use by internal staff. Historically, documents like project proposals, resumes, and project summaries had been created without a consistent plan. Inter-Fluve was facing a common challenge, where many staff members were tasked with creating printed materials with limited time, changing needs, and varied levels of skill and interest in the task.

INSIGHT

While we couldn’t change alleviate the hard work of in-house publication and design, we were confident we could provide a pool of template resources considered specifically for the needs of Inter-Fluve staff. First, we worked with marketing staff to identify the needs and limitations. We also came on site and met with engineers and other non-marketing personnel to understand their perspective on the brand and their involvement in the publication process. And, we did extensive visual research to understand their language and culture and how the brand had already evolved over time.

In our initial conversations, Inter-Fluve’s marketing staff shared the desire to develop something classy, elegant, consistent, and personable. The key was creating something that is possible, if not easy, to maintain. With defined fonts, colors, and a few key elements to satisfy the aesthetic needs, staff would be able to resist the temptation to reinvent new designs each time. We worked together to identify open-source fonts that look good so that multiple staff could easily collaborate on these documents, and we trained the staff on how to use Adobe InDesign for the trickier elements of our designs. We also helped them to set expectations internally for how photography is is a critical investment, and that no template can replace thoughtful design work. 

RESULTS

Over the years since the work was completed, Inter-Fluve has continued to use the templates we developed. Thanks to their commitments to shooting quality photos, learning the ropes with design programs, and staying true to the templates we developed together—they now have a strong arsenal of resumes and project summaries to pull from for each new project proposal. The results include greater efficiency with sales and outreach efforts, positive impressions on prospective clients, and increased confidence and pride amongst staff.

Project Summaries

Project Summaries

Staff Resume

Staff Resume

Project Proposal

Project Proposal

 

CLIENT

Inter-Fluve, Inc.

SERVICES

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Environment


“Clients and employees have been impressed with our materials. It’s worked well to have solid templates that look great and keep our deliverables looking consistent. Sometimes there’s no substitution for having good design sense and being able to create a document for a unique situation. I’ve been working on improving my design abilities but I also recognize there’s a time to bring in the pros when a template doesn’t cut it. Overall, the investment was very worthwhile. BMC did a great job in completing what we asked of you. The templates are elegant yet simple; they make the company look good. Just as important, I think they make employees feel proud of the product they are creating.

– Jonathan Graca, Marketing and Field Technician, Inter-Fluve

Maslow Project | A unique solution to youth homelessness

A unique solution to youth homelessness

Giving the issue focus and clarity for Maslow’s audiences

CHALLENGE

Maslow Project has worked hard to establish a solid network of programs and support to address the physical, mental, emotional and aspirational needs of Jackson County’s homeless youth and their families. In the eight years since its inception, Maslow has had tremendous impact in the community and is highly regarded as an agency of integrity, grit and advocacy for the clients it serves. Although Maslow Project had already gained some national, even international, attention for its innovative model, it is tough for a nonprofit like this to allocate the necessary resources to build and maintain a cohesive brand identity. Unfortunately, this makes it hard to differentiate from other human services organizations in the community which can lead to confusion. When a donor asked where Maslow needed the most support, the leadership spoke up about the need for help with branding. The donor suggested (and generously funded) Blue Marble to develop a communication strategy to take Maslow's communications to the next level.

INSIGHTS

Our work with Maslow commenced with an in-depth BluePrinting phase during which we met with Maslow's leadership team to gain an understanding of the operation, its various audiences and specific issues we needed to address. From there we developed a messaging strategy and recommendations for updating and expanding the brand identity.

We took a two-pronged approach, developing one communication piece aimed at homeless youth and families, and another aimed at donors. The two audiences are both critically important, and in the process of developing these different items we gained a lot of clarity about the different needs and perspectives of each.

Maslow’s clients are young people, so protecting their privacy and respecting their dignity is paramount. As such Maslow had long ago decided against using images of their clients’ faces or other identifying features in any marketing or outreach material. We wholeheartedly agreed with this stance and took this into account when developing other concepts for imagery. We all agreed that Maslow’s successful art therapy program would be a wonderful resource for inspiration.

The blue triangle in the Maslow logo is a powerful symbol that we retained and emphasized. The meaning of the triangle conveys many things besides the literal reference to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We were reminded of the gable of a roof, a tent, raising up, strength, and stability. Inspired by a client artwork that depicted hands together in the shape of a triangle, we recommended that the Maslow team start using this hand gesture in real life as a physical symbol denoting “Maslow." When the hands are together formed into the triangle, they also convey the idea of embracing, encircling—Maslow’s wrap-around support.

It was also important to keep in mind that homelessness often goes unnoticed because it's not what people may assume. We were careful not to use any imagery that depicted dirty, downtrodden, abused persons hanging on street corners or in back alleys. By contrast, we show uplifting images based on what Maslow offers its clients and their families and portray the outcomes that Maslow kids experience.

Maslow’s youth-centric agency model and its ability to meet kids where they are makes it unique from other agencies serving similar populations so it was important to visually play this up. No other entity in Jackson County and few others nationwide have been able to develop the range of programs and blend of school- and community-based services that Maslow offers its clients. A graphical depiction of Maslow’s approach brings the concept to life. Now Maslow has a consistent, tangible way to describe how it works and to reference the many services it encompasses.

RESULTS

External communications are better aligned with the organization’s internal vision

  • Maslow is able to differentiate from other organizations and establish its unique value proposition.
  • Staff report a greater confidence and clarity when talking to others about what Maslow does.
  • The team now has key collateral pieces like brochures and an array of visual assets, and they have been able to use to create other material in-house.
  • People are more aware of and viscerally connected to the issues that Maslow kids and their families are facing.
  • Maslow’s brand values have come to life through the use of its blue triangle and triangle hand gesture.
client-brochure-mockup-front-inside.jpg
youth-centric.jpg

Photography credit: Natalie Faye (hands images and many others used on brochures)

 

CLIENT

Maslow Project

SERVICES

Communication strategy

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Health & Well-being


“It’s been capacity building for us in terms of now we not only have the assets, but we have the different pieces. We have our message much more finely targeted, and that did exactly what I was hoping which was to enable us to be more effective in telling our story out in the community and get community engagement.”

– Karen Phillips, Development Manager

“We are very happy with the products that we have. We have used them and people are responding very favorably. Our donors who funded the project are extremely pleased with the end result.”

– Mary Ferrell, Executive Director

Vision Quilt | Creative expression to prevent gun violence

Creative expression to prevent gun violence

Oregon group launches nationwide community art project

CHALLENGE

Incidents of gun violence have broken our collective and individual hearts time and again. In the United States, each incident incites a polarizing, often judgmental debate. Aside from (hopefully) holding our loved ones a bit closer, many of us are left wondering what we can do about such a deeply emotional and complex issue. 

In September 2015, a group from Southern Oregon contacted us with a unique perspective. Vision Quilt is asking people to envision a future without gun violence. They host creative workshops to help people express themselves, and they're collecting 18 x 24-inch works of art from participants. They piqued our interest when they told us they were recruiting people of all ages and backgrounds, including gun owners. We were impressed by the commitment they showed to embracing all voices and promoting the simple idea that change is possible. They were inspired by the AIDS quilt, and they're aspiring to reach a similar scale. Founder Cathy DeForest says, “This will become a major national movement shown in monuments and houses of worship around the country.” She pictures the quilts displayed at the Washington Monument one day.

The core committee was developing a campaign theme when Cathy reached out to Blue Marble for help. As seasoned professionals and artists they were not short on great ideas. They needed an outside authority to help them discern and develop their best concepts. At this point they had 20-30 panels, a few photos, and the beginnings of a website on Weebly. They were eager to reach out to influential contacts and prospective partner organizations, but first they needed to be sure their message was clear, and that they would be taken seriously.

INSIGHT

We started with a review of the language Vision Quilt was considering. We watched videos and articles they shared to describe their views and motivations, and we discussed these ideas over a number of conference calls. When addressing a contentious issue like this it's important to for us to pay attention to many sources of commentary to build empathy for the audiences our client wants to reach. We refined the existing language with the goals of being clear, concise, engaging and nonpartisan. The writing was a collaborative process with a lot of testing on outsiders. When everyone agreed, we pared the language down one last time, suggesting an appropriate hierarchy for presentation on their website.

To visually represent the project, we advocated for a text-only logo, and for developing an adaptable visual language around that. It is common for people to want a logo that says everything, but of course that's challenging to pull off. In this case, the quilt panels themselves speak volumes—beautiful, poignant, politically charged, and with a wide range of visual styles. There was an important balance to be struck here between letting the panels be seen, and offering an inspiring but neutral focal point to welcome new participants.

We collected sketches and ideas from the group before providing a recommendation. One of our insights was to steer clear of quilt imagery. Stitching, warm fabric, and pieces coming together all seemed like nice metaphors, but we found these quilt ideas most compelling when described verbally. Graphically, we needed to counteract the image of a traditional quilt to convey the inclusiveness and scale of this work. One team member showed us a quilt she made when she was sixteen in the shape of the United States. Another was drawn to bright, hopeful colors, and provided some examples using watercolor. We worked with these ideas to come up with the watercolor map imagery.

Inspiration provided by Vision Quilt

Inspiration provided by Vision Quilt

VISION QUILT
VisionQuilt_both-logos.png

The logo is handwriting we created to convey a grassroots, expressive feel. The map image delivers the main idea—a national art project. We provided alternate imagery for use on business cards and event banners of hands coming together with different artistic media, and the watercolor look could be extended to other symbolism as needed. Time will tell how to best evolve this brand and we look forward to continued collaborations.

RESULTS 

  • The new language and visuals were added to the website just in time for high-profile meetings and introductions. 
  • The client reports that the professionalism of their materials has helped to inspire confidence from partner organizations at the national and local levels.
  • A variety of assets have allowed Vision Quilt to continue growing and building out their communications on a shoestring.
  • People ages 4 through 92 have contributed to the project. Some noteworthy workshops and events are underway.
  • We look forward to seeing Vision Quilt in our social media feeds each day, as the number of new panels increases along with press coverage of these events. Everyone is invited to share their voice, even you! To learn how, visit visionquilt.org

 

 

CLIENT

Vision Quilt

SERVICES

Brand and message development

FOCUS

Health & Well-being


“You helped us so much. We had artists, and great people with a lot of expertise on our core committee, but you went beyond where we were able to go. You listened to us very carefully to understand what we were about, and then you made strategic decisions about how to express that for us pictorally and verbally. We would still probably be trying to figure out the color and the logo and all of that, but that map just landed us. That was huge! I always want a program to be elegant, and what you created is elegant, and I think it really shows the wide net that we are casting.”

– Cathy DeForest, PhD, founder of Vision Quilt

 
 

Evergreen Education Group | Keeping pace with K-12 digital learning

Evergreen Education 

Keeping pace with the changing K-12 digital learning landscape

CHALLENGE

Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning is an annual report that examines the status of K-12 online education across the United States. Schools, districts, nonprofits, government, and companies rely on the Keeping Pace annual report and website to pinpoint key challenges and see overarching trends. With so much information to convey, Evergreen Education Group has worked with Blue Marble over the past seven years to enhance the visual presentation of this annual report. Every year we make incremental improvements to make this important body of research more accessible to diverse audiences.

INSIGHT

Knowing that the visual presentation of the data in the Keeping Pace report is nearly as important as the data itself, Blue Marble has taken part in numerous discussions with Keeping Pace authors. We introduced new design concepts for maps, charts, and tables to make the information easier to digest and share — in print and digital formats. Developing these visual tools requires a high level of collaboration between Blue Marble and the report’s authors and stakeholders. In addition, with so many rapid changes happening in the field of online and blended learning, the Keeping Pace printed report quickly becomes dated. A website with a customized content management system and integrated blog allows Evergreen staff to easily disseminate their research, keep information up to date, and share their expertise throughout the year.

RESULTS

Making information fresh and accessible

  • Evergreen Education Group has redefined the way information is conveyed in K-12 online and blended learning.
  • Infographics are now an anchor of the Keeping Pace annual report and website, and are used in presentations, classes and more.
  • Interactive maps on the Keeping Pace website feature up-to-date information.
  • Reports and infographics are available for free download and easy sharing.
  • A fully integrated blog has given Evergreen staff a platform on which to build their thought leadership, expand their reach and allow experts to share relevant news and resources on an ongoing basis.

FORGING AHEAD

For many years, we've worked with the Keeping Pace research team to distill the key findings and transform them into compelling stories. Whether the stories are told through graphics, case studies, or other narrative styles, Blue Marble helps ensure that Keeping Pace delivers rich, compelling content that’s freely available in both print and digital channels.

In 2015 the authors of Keeping Pace decided to shift the focus completely from text to data visualization. We created a significantly greater number of infographics and adjusted the layout to bring in more white space. The result is a visually compelling presentation of data-rich information throughout the whole of the 2015 report; a change that has been positively received by audiences.

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CLIENT

Evergreen Education Group

SERVICES

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education


“Blue Marble has become an indispensable part of our team, providing strategic creative thinking, graphic design and website development. They have given us a professional, creative look and their work is consistently complimented by our clients.”

– John Watson, founder of Evergreen Education Group


NROC | From product to purpose

From product to purpose

Highlighting the mission in order to build a better brand

CHALLENGE

The NROC Project (NROC) is a national nonprofit that gives education leaders, teachers, and learners a voice in the production of digital content and software. Originally known as a “national repository of online courses,” the organization has received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others to build award-winning online learning tools. NROC is especially unique because they receive membership fees from educational institutions that share in both the work and the rewards of these development efforts. In this way, institutions are able to guide the development of learning materials to their own high quality standards while gaining access to excellent resources at a fraction of the typical cost. 

When Blue Marble first started working with NROC in 2008, the organization was comprised of numerous passionate members, with groups and projects lacking one recognizable name. The groups were successful at securing grant funding and delivering quality work, yet it was difficult to gain recognition in a crowded marketplace. The lack of one consistent messaging strategy meant that staff, supporters, and the media could not easily describe the organization's activities. 

INSIGHT

Over its 10-year history, NROC grew from a static, “online repository” into an active community of education leaders. We began our work with an extensive research and discovery phase, where we gained an understanding of the founder's longer-term vision. With that perspective, we suggested modifications to streamline the language for the organization’s projects. While many of these projects were complex, we realized the need for clear, concise names and consistent themes to address a diverse, national audience. This has been a multi-year process, and we are proud to say that due to the persistence and determination of everyone involved, NROC is increasingly gaining recognition for their valuable and innovative work.

 

RESULTS

Taking marketing to the next level

  • NROC began referring to itself as "The NROC Project" to change the focus to the active and participatory nature of the work while retaining their history. 

  • The visual identity has become more modern and professional, with an evolving suite of print and digital collateral to clearly articulate the mission, values, and offering.

  • Various elements of NROC's customer/member experience are now better aligned with the overall organization's identity.

  • NROC has a style guide and templates that staff can use to unify ongoing communications.

  • NROC hired a dedicated marketing director, who has brought decades of experience in corporate marketing and collaborated closely with Blue Marble. 

 

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CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Communication strategy

User experience design

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

Training and ongoing support

FOCUS

Education


“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project

The World Bank | An innovative travel visa

An innovative travel visa

Promoting seamless travel between South African countries

CHALLENGE

With the goal of increasing trade in tourism services and easing the movement of travelers across their borders, partner countries of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) were in the process of transitioning their individual visa programs into a single unified visa system called KAZA VISA. This was to be the prototype for a wider unified visa program among the partner countries of the Southern African Development Community. As part of an awareness campaign that was launching at the United Nations World Tourism Organization 2013 Assembly, The World Bank hired Blue Marble to develop a brand identity and communication materials that would garner support and leverage growing enthusiasm for the KAZA VISA program.

INSIGHTS

The primary draw for most of the KAZA partner countries is their abundant and unique flora and fauna. As such we focused on how to use wildlife as a central theme and also convey the idea of borderless travel. We settled on a white bird in flight as the graphic for the primary logo. In certain formats, this logo was expanded to include an illustrated depiction of the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe which, with Zambia and Zimbabwe as the two pilot countries for the KAZA VISA, was symbolic of their close partnership.

We created a small booklet to provide detailed information about the KAZA VISA program as well as profile the KAZA partner countries. As KAZA VISA is ultimately a promotion for travel within and among the KAZA partner countries, we formatted the booklet to have a similar feel as a passport. It was important to incorporate beautiful imagery of landscape and wildlife and although the KAZA team lacked access to high quality photos, we were able to secure many compelling images from our own image library. We also designed business stationery, a rack card and large stand-up banner for The World Bank and KAZA teams for use at various events and for branded correspondence with current and prospective program participants and backers.

RESULTS

Bringing the KAZA VISA concept to life

The brand identity enabled The World Bank and KAZA teams to more successfully educate and generate support for the program. The communication materials have helped to encourage regional collaboration between KAZA partner countries and in particular to build awareness of Zimbabwe and Zambia as competitive international tourism destinations for cross-border tourism activities.

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CLIENT

The World Bank

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Economic Impact


SETDA | A clear picture of state education policy and practice

A clear picture of state policy and practice

Sharing state’s regulations and process for acquiring digital instructional materials

CHALLENGE

Several years ago the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) developed an online database called the State Education Policy Center which housed data related to state policies on broadband access, online assessments and professional learning. Both the website’s public user and administrative interfaces were clunky and hard to negotiate such that it was difficult for SETDA staff to keep the site up-to-date with current information. With a large amount of new policy information recently gathered and more on the way, SETDA asked Blue Marble to create a new website that would make the data more accessible and easier to manage.

INSIGHTS

The most significant aspect of the project was the data that resulted from a survey SETDA had issued to all 50 states and two US territories. It was a huge amount of information concerning the procurement of digital instructional materials that is constantly changing. The data needed to be housed in such a way that users could understand the big picture as well as pull out detailed data points as needed. Both SETDA and BMC teams worked hard to comb through and organize this data into a computer-readable format.

Because SETDA intends to add additional topics to the site, it was also important to develop an information architecture that would would allow the site to expand and layer multiple data sets.

A central component of the new website is a data-driven interactive map that helps users easily see what’s happening across the nation with various topics related to digital instructional materials. From this map users can access a detailed profile of their particular state. A comparative table enables users to select up to five states to run a side-by-side analysis and ultimately understand the policies, requirements, and process for online content procurement as it relates to their particular situation.

RESULTS

Making policy data accessible and useful

  • State and district leaders better understand policies related to procuring instructional materials in order to best meet student needs and potentially impact policy changes.
  • With this information, publishers, technology developers, and funders know which states are open to innovations and understand individual states’ processes for acquiring digital instructional material.
  • State profiles and data sets can easily be shared, exported or printed.
  • SETDA staff have been able to easily adjust data points within the website’s CMS.
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CLIENT

State Education Technology Directors Association

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Education


Trinity Natural Medicine | A blend of healing modalities

A blend of healing modalities

BluePrinting enables successful launch of new business

CHALLENGE

When Dave Martin, owner and practitioner at Trinity Natural Medicine (TNM) and the White Salmon Apothecary (WSA), was first getting established, he recognized he needed help with several key aspects of launching a new business. In addition to seeing patients in his Chinese medicine practice, Martin was planning to carry and sell a wide selection of Chinese herbs to fill custom prescriptions for his clients and other practioners. Martin originally went to Blue Marble because he wanted help in producing his basic vision for a logo. What he didn't realize was how much BMC would be able to help him via our BluePrinting process clarify and document many aspects of how his business would work.

INSIGHT

While Martin was clear about why he wanted to practice Chinese medicine, he was uncertain about how to position his business and the steps to get started with communications. We were able to help him define clear, actionable items related to his marketing and communication efforts.

Martin's unique approach to healing includes conducting a broad spectrum review of a client’s condition in the context of both Eastern and Western medicine. After defining short and long-term objectives, audience profiles, and key messages, we developed two separate but related brand identities, one for the clinic, and one for the apothecary. Martin wanted to grow the clinic and the apothecary at their own natural paces, and Blue Marble helped him acquire the communication tools to do this.

RESULTS

  • Through BluePrinting, Martin was able to refine his business strategy and establish the relationship between the clinic and the apothecary.
  • With professionally designed materials, website and well-thought out content, TNM and WSA quickly established credibility and trust so Martin could build a successful practice.
  • Being in the clinic is a sensory experience. A library of high quality image assets helps to show future patients and customers how it is to be treated in this environment, surrounded by rare Chinese herbs and Martin’s fine carpentry work.
  • Martin’s mother happens to be a professional illustrator. Her illustrations are paired with old-fashioned type to create a meaningful logo for the apothecary.
  • Branded client in-take forms, labels, and packaging for the herbal prescriptions from the apothecary ensure a complete and pleasant customer experience. This level of attention to detail is further demonstration of how TNM treats its clients.

FORGING AHEAD

Shortly after opening his clinic, TNM moved into a larger building and Martin hired staff. He has been able to build upon the brand identities we created.

 

CLIENT

Trinity Natural Medicine

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

Training and ongoing support

FOCUS

Health & Well-being


OSU Extension Service | Passport to Happiness

Passport to Happiness

Creating a welcoming space for older adults

CHALLENGE

Backed by Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, the Wasco County Network on Aging is a consortium of local agencies focused on exploring ways to improve the health and well being of older adults living in Wasco County, Oregon. The organization offers monthly educational events for seniors who want to learn ways to improve their health and happiness. With a desire to increase participation in these events, OSU approached Blue Marble for assistance.

INSIGHT

Blue Marble worked with OSU and Network staff to develop a campaign name, “Passport to Happiness,” and a brand identity that is light-hearted and energetic in tone. A key deliverable was a wall calendar that features healthy food recipes, tips on personal well-being, agency resources and a full schedule of events. We created large, custom illustrations and typography that would appeal to seniors and we incorporated professionally shot images of local residents involved in relevant activities. To encourage attendance at specific campaign-related events, we designed a passport card that participants could bring to events, have stamped, and then turn in for the chance to win prizes.  

RESULTS

Increased participation among key audience

  • Custom illustration, typography and photography give the campaign materials a decidedly unique aesthetic that has resonated with participating seniors.
  • The inaugural year of the Passport to Happiness program was so successful, the Network decided to extend into a second year.
  • The Passport to Happiness materials has increased awareness of resources and services for older adults living in Wasco County and made learning about health and wellbeing topics more interesting and fun.

FORGING AHEAD

With a successful first year underway, the Network decided to continue the Passport to Happiness campaign and hired Blue Marble to create a new calendar for the second year of the campaign. While the new calendar featured fresh photography and content, we maintained its overall visual identity order to build upon the project’s growing visibility and strengthen brand awareness.

 

CLIENT

Oregon State University

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Health & Well-being


“I am thrilled with the response we received for the calendars. Our program kick-off was a big success. I think the folks that participate in these educational events over the next year will really enjoy themselves and have an opportunity to reflect on their happiness and improve their health.”

– Lauren Kraemer, Oregon State University Extension Service, Wasco County

US Forest Service | More than just a trail

More than just a trail

Building stakeholder engagement through elegant design

CHALLENGE

The last time stakeholders in the development and maintenance of the Florida National Scenic Trail sat together to discuss goals was 1986 when collaborators created the original Comprehensive Plan. Priorities and personalities shifted in the ensuing years until it became clear it was necessary to bring together land holders, trail managers and local conservation groups in order establish new priorities and create a strategy for the near-term evolution of the Trail. Conservation Impact facilitated the convening of stakeholders and managed the creation of a new 5-year strategic plan for the Florida National Scenic Trail.

The strategic plan is a landmark document that provides a framework for focused, collaborative efforts and allocates resources to achieve specific results that benefit both the trail and trail user. The plan also presents a new partnership model that fully engages a diverse group of land managers who are connected to the trail. In order to bring the concepts presented to life and ensure the information would be read, the project team hired Blue Marble to come up with a thoughtful design for its layout.

INSIGHT

To appeal to a wide variety of constituents, the strategic plan needed to look less like a government white paper and more like a feature in an issue of National Geographic. To that end, we emphasized beautiful photography and lots of white space to evoke the ambience of the trail as it traverses the Florida coast and inland the expanse of its open spaces. We also incorporated a variety of staff and trail-user photos which gives readers a sense of personal connection and ownership. The publication's landscape orientation connects with the impressive length of the trail but more importantly maximizes optimal readability on screen.

RESULTS

As a printed brochure, the Florida National Scenic Trail Strategic Plan makes the work that has been done tangible for stakeholders. Digital versions of the plan have been widely distributed making it easy to share pertinent information among the partner entities and keep the public engaged. Elements of the brochure have since been used as visual references when providing progress updates. 


 

CLIENT

US Forest Service

SERVICES

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Environment


HRSWCD | Increased visibility for local conservation efforts

Increased visibility for local conservation efforts

Cleaning up the online environment

CHALLENGE

The Hood River Soil & Water Conservation District (HRSWCD) provides technical, educational and financial support to the local community for the preservation and conservation of natural resources. Over its fifty-plus years of existence, the organization has done a great job of evolving to remain relevant. Unlike many conservation districts, HRSWCD had invested time and attention building a web presence. However, while the information on its existing site was vast, it was not well organized and its maintenance was extremely cumbersome. There was no recognizable brand identity or consistency in presentation. The liberal use of dated clip art was distracting and detracting. When HRSWCD asked Blue Marble to redesign the website, we knew we could dramatically improve their efforts to reach more people with information and services. It was a great opportunity to demonstrate how clean design can support a cleaner world.

INSIGHT

The new website would need a significant design update and restructuring in order to present information clearly so more people could understand what HRSWCD does and take advantage of its services.

We quickly cleaned up their logo and overall style to provide a consistent, professional experience and reinforce HRSWCD’s perception as a credible and effective environmental steward. HRSWCD had attractive photos of flora and fauna, so we built a system to allow these images to be featured throughout the site.

The site includes an interactive open community section called “Wildlife Watch” where anyone is able to post descriptions and photos of local wildlife sightings. News and events listings, an important area of activity for HRSWCD, are cross referenced throughout the sight with the ability to filter listings for a refined view.

We built the website with a content management system specifically customized for the needs of HRSWCD. The CMS features a range of custom editing modules that allow staff to easily collect and manage the information for various types of resources, projects, and inventory for their annual plant sale. A user-friendly CMS is a critical aspect of the site redesign because staff had found maintaining their previous site challenging to the point of frustration and abandonment.  

RESULTS

  • With a quality user experience and greater ease of information dissemination, HRSWCD staff feel confident in their outreach efforts.
  • The site acts as a central hub for HRSWCD’s related entities, the National Resource Conservation Service and the Hood River Watershed Group, so that community members understand all of the services available to them through one office.
  • Staff are able to manage the online component of their annual plant sale much more effectively now which has resulted in less frustration and higher sales.
  • With a completely redesigned wildlife log, user engagement has increased. Staff are able to readily approve and publish user submissions from with the admin interface.

FORGING AHEAD

HRSWCD has remained largely self-sufficient with the administration of its website content which is exactly how we intended it to be.

 

CLIENT

Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Environment


FCA | Building a better fish screen

Building a better fish screen

Using images and video to show innovation

CHALLENGE

Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA) helps farmers reduce their costs of maintaining their water delivery systems, protect fish, and keep their canals free of debris through a unique and innovative fish screen technology. As engineers and product designers, FCA highly values a strong blend between function and aesthetics. This carries over into the organization’s brand identity, with materials that artfully present its product, process, and impacts. FCA’s fish screen product is complex and not easily explained in words alone. Therefore, the website needed to show the construction, installation, and operational processes of the screen using images, video, and webcam feeds.

INSIGHT

Blue Marble recommended that FCA implement a WordPress-based website with a series of page templates to present different types of media content — including photo galleries, videos, and webcam feeds. With a number of different audiences to address — farmers, engineers, project managers and funders — it was important to have most of the content at the top level. Doing so required the use of “mega menus” that organize a large number of top level links in such a way that users can quickly access what they need but without feeling overwhelmed by their choices. We also created a special area to present information about FCA’s individual fish screen projects with individual project profile pages that include video, photo galleries and details about the site.

RESULTS

  • As FCA has grown from a small nonprofit into a venture-backed social enterprise, its website and other communications materials adequately demonstrate the value of its fish screen to investors and clients.
  • The site’s structure allows FCS to present complex information in a well-organized, easy-to-navigate way.
  • The WordPres content management system allows staff to manage their content and easily catalog and display all completed fish screen projects.

FORGING AHEAD

As needs arise for the site, we have built additional page templates and styles that gives FCA a great degree of flexibility and control over how new types of content is added and their ability to keep current information fresh and up-to-date. 

 

CLIENT

Farmer's Conservation Alliance

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Environment


The World Bank | A plan for transformation through tourism

A plan for transformation through tourism

Harnessing tourism for growth and improved livelihood

CHALLENGE

After two years of intensive research and data compilation, the World Bank’s Africa Region Finance and Private Sector Development Unit had devised a strategy for tourism development in Sub-Sahara Africa in an effort to: formalize its involvement in tourism in Africa, create a framework for future interventions, and prioritize tourism-related activities. To garner support and funding from the World Bank’s key internal and external stakeholders, the research team needed to succinctly explain their findings and recommendations in a format easily accessible to The World Bank’s Africa-based staff and partners. 

INSIGHT

Through a series of work sessions with the research team, Blue Marble helped to identify the project’s key messages and explored various ways to present them. After several iterations of data visualizations and story sequencing, we developed a shared understanding of the story and how best to tell it. A strong visual identity for the project and a series of graphics to represent core findings were critical components for building awareness of the work and explaining complex ideas that might otherwise be lost in cultural translation.  

RESULTS

Confidently building stakeholder engagement

  • The body of work that the research team produced was packaged into a compelling story from which a presentation, printed brochure and one-sheet were produced. These materials have made the research and resulting strategy accessible to a large number of people that would not otherwise be exposed to or understand the lengthy report.
  • The research team is able to share their recommendations in a universal format with multiple audiences who have different cultural perspectives.
  • A visual articulation of the strategy has made core concepts tangible and enabled the research team to gain support for the implementation of their plan.

FORGING AHEAD

For the last several years, the Africa Tourism Strategy team has continued to promote its work and publish updated recommendations and findings as the project evolves. As part of a promotional campaign for AFTFP Tourism's recently released book entitled "Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods," we created an informational booklet and one-pager which was shared at the United Nations World Tourism Organization's 2013 General Assembly.

 

CLIENT

The World Bank

SERVICES

Multimedia campaigns

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Economic Impact


Energia Eficiente | Building a case for energy efficiency in Brazil

Building a case

Convincing Brazilian hoteliers to invest in energy efficiency

CHALLENGE

Energia Eficiente (EE) is a consulting firm focused on helping entrepreneurs invest in energy efficiency through a unique combination of technical and financial assistance. The company runs Programa Pro Hoteis (PPH), an initiative aimed at helping the Brazil hotel industry implement energy efficiency measures. When Energia Eficiente took over PPH — which had received start-up funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) — the program was successful at completing energy-efficiency audits, but struggled to convince hotels to implement the recommendations outlined in the audits. Energia Eficiente had the technical and business skills to take the program to the next level, but it lacked marketing expertise. That’s when a member of the leadership team reached out to Blue Marble for assistance with developing the marketing strategy.

INSIGHT

Blue Marble conducted an in-person BluePrinting workshop at our White Salmon, Washington office with one of the EE leaders. We spent nearly three days combing through presentation materials, visualizing the future, and discussing audience objections. We brought clarity to Energia Eficiente’s sales and consultation process. We helped EE’s leadership team get clear on the perspective of their ideal hotel customer through each stage of the process, and documented our conclusions with a customer journey map. We also created audience profiles, and a mood board which provided direction for a new brand and aesthetic, and we outlined the messages for a new sales presentation. As a last step in this process, we executed a redesign of both Energia Eficiente's visual identity as well as that of Programa Pro Hoteis.

RESULTS

Clearly communicating the value of energy efficiency

  • Energia Eficiente’s new materials contain icons and illustrations that are used across the sales, auditing, and reporting process which serve to clarify and unify key messages about the PPH offering.
  • Energia Eficiente has a new sales presentation that has greatly improved the sales team ability to explain the program to potential participants.
  • Energia Eficiente staff now has a comprehensive set of marketing tools, templates, and brand guidelines which they are easily able to update and expand upon.

FORGING AHEAD

With clarity about how to explain the PPH program, Energia Eficiente is experiencing greater ease in their communications and confidence in their business development efforts. Its leadership team has a map showing where the team can make incremental changes to improve its customers’ experiences over time. After training in how to use their collateral, members of Energia Eficiente’s leadership team have been able to update presentations and sales materials on an ongoing basis.


 

CLIENT

Energia Eficiente

SERVICES

Customer/user experience planning

Brand and message development

FOCUS

Economic Impact


“Definitely the work we did together and the several inputs received are being of great help to the development of our business.”

– Thiago Simões, Energia Eficiente

SETDA | Improving education through technology

Improving education through technology


Uniting multiple initiatives under one brand umbrella

CHALLENGE

State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is a national nonprofit helping build and increase the capacity of state and national leaders to improve education through technology policy and practice. When we first began working with SETDA, the organization had recently completed a strategic planning process that included a brand identity refresh. Yet SETDA’s website remained outdated, and was a poor example of the organization’s technical focus and innovation — a concept that is core to SETDA’s mission. The site’s content was poorly organized, the messaging lacked clarity, and staff could not easily make updates. In addition, SETDA project initiatives that warranted individual websites were not integrated into the parent website, creating an information gap and disjointed user experience.   

INSIGHT

As important as having a clean, modern website and content management system (CMS) was having a seamless interface between SETDA’s parent website and its microsites. All of these interconnected websites needed to have a consistent look and one CMS. By using a WordPress multi-site install, we were able to establish a single database from which all sites originate and that allows for a multi-faceted search across all SETDA websites. The SETDA team had long been frustrated with the disorganization of their website content and their inability to efficiently manage it so it was critical for us to create custom modules in the CMS that would reduce staff members' level of effort.

RESULTS

Stakeholders are well connected

  • In the absence of compelling photography, the new website leverages typographic contrast, a bold color scheme, and strategic use of white space to denote information hierarchy, improve readability, and allow for easy navigation. 
  • Numerous customized editors in the CMS give SETDA staff a high level of control over their content and makes website administration much more streamlined than ever before.
  • A powerful search allows users to search SETDA’s parent website and its microsites at once, and delivers comprehensive results.

FORGING AHEAD

Since the launch of the parent website, Blue Marble has developed additional microsites that operate independently but share important database and stylistic features that bring cohesion to front- and back-end user experience.

 

CLIENT

State Education Technology Directors Association

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Education


Evergreen Education Group | A brand shift

A brand shift

Repositioning an established company with a new focus

CHALLENGE

Founded in 2000 as Evergreen Consulting Associates, Evergreen Education Group underwent a major change in 2009 when the founder decided to transition away from environmental consulting and focus exclusively on the education technology (edtech) sector. This shift required a new company name, a new brand identity, and new communication tools such as a website and business stationery. As long-time partners, the company reached out to Blue Marble for help.

INSIGHT

Our approach to Evergreen’s rebrand centered around market research and personal interviews with the company’s staff and key clients so we could understand current perceptions and the distance between those and the ultimate vision for the business. Through this research, we discovered that Evergreen should capitalize its ability to maintain neutrality in its work (impartiality is highly valued when working with private, governmental and nonprofit entities in education) and create a timeless image that would resonate with an ever-evolving audience. We helped Evergreen see the value of keeping its current name whose meaning was multifaceted, and evolved the wording slightly to allow for growth and clarification of their specialization.

RESULTS

Elevating Evergreen Education Group as an edtech leader

  • The company’s new identity has supported Evergreen’s thought leadership and new business development.
  • A suite of print and digital materials has helped Evergreen convey its story to gain recognition as a well-established, highly-valued research and consultant in the K-12 edtech space.
  • Strong brand guidelines, templates, and a content management system for Evergreen’s website have allowed staff to expand their communication efforts and retain a consistent visual identity

FORGING AHEAD

Since its rebrand, Evergreen has grown into a mid-sized company that utilizes a carefully crafted network of consultants and partners to fulfill its mission. The company is reputed as a leading edtech research and consulting firm. As the company’s service offerings have evolved, Blue Marble has helped Evergreen define and explain its value proposition to potential clients — through brochures, presentations, and other marketing materials.

 

CLIENT

Evergreen Education Group

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education