The Bartlett School of Architecture
A state-of-the-art virtual exhibition
The Bartlett School of Architecture is one of the world’s most diverse, innovative and creative places to study architecture. Every summer, it hosts its largest annual event, The Bartlett Summer Show, which celebrates the work of over 700 students, and welcomes circa 15,000 visitors from all over the world.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, The Bartlett Summer Show couldn’t be held in its usual format. Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) set out to create an engaging, state-of-the-art digital alternative. The result was an exciting virtual experience and platform that firmly positions The Bartlett as the cutting-edge institution that it is, while ensuring that students could showcase, celebrate and share their work in the best possible way during a challenging time.
The concept behind it all
In order to create an experience that felt authentic, Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) first considered how The Bartlett Summer Show is normally physically encountered and set up. The team abstracted these elements to their fundamental shape and function for use in a digital context.
A spatial experience
The resulting digital building blocks enabled the team to build a virtual showcase which is reminiscent of the physical experience, without being a literal translation of it. On landing, vertically stacked ‘floors’ represent the different programmes and units, each one acting as an entrance to its own exhibition ‘room’ which users can freely explore.
User activity and ambient sound
Through use of ambient sounds and visitor traces, the team added a layer to the experience that created a sense of a live atmosphere, ensuring that The Bartlett Summer Show still felt like a live show, even if taking place virtually.
An award-winning project
Senior Producer at Hello Monday (part of DEPT®)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Putting disability inclusion in the spotlight
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations (UN) agency connecting nations, partners and people to champion health and a better future for all, leading global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance to live a healthy life.
The WHO turned to DEPT® to conceptualise and design a series of awareness-raising campaign assets that would help position it as a role model on disability inclusion within the UN.
Leading the charge
The WHO Affinity-Resource Group on Embracing Disability – a voluntary, employee-led team charged with creating a diverse, inclusive and supportive workplace culture – had devised a disability inclusion action plan which they wanted to maximise the impact of. The team recognised that a strong campaign concept, visuals and messaging was needed to raise employees’ awareness of disability inclusion, the WHO’s policy on it, and how it was going to tackle it.
Being such a vast and complex organisation, with 8,000 employees in 150 locations across six regions, the WHO was looking for an expert creative partner to develop a versatile concept that would resonate across the full breadth of the organisation. As a Certified B Corporation that is committed to DE&I, DEPT® leapt at the opportunity to conceptualise a creative campaign that would empower and inspire the WHO’s global workforce to take action.
Evolving the brand
To develop campaign assets that resonate and are memorable, it was essential to establish a strong brand mark that would tie all elements of the campaign together. The WHO came to DEPT® with a starting point: a logo. Our creative experts refined and evolved the logo to ensure it was reflective of the campaign’s aims relating to accessibility and inclusion, and that it was in a format that could be easily augmented and applied across all mediums.
The logo needed to be scalable, so we redrew it before adopting typography best practice to incorporate a new, more accessible font and creating much clearer separation between the logo and the tagline; maximising flexibility by allowing for more characters when translated, with limited space restrictions. As well as providing greater versatility in usage across the campaign assets, it was future-ready for translation and application throughout the worldwide organisation.
Kicking off the design thinking process, DEPT®’s creative team established a series of digital boards where they could deep dive into the brief to pull out key messages, ambitions and language that would be central to the campaign.
The purpose of this discovery stage of design thinking is to stretch as wide as possible to share all research and ideas across the team to aid optimum collaboration and conceptualisation. After interrogating the brief, we recognised the importance of the campaign’s messaging, so we primarily focused on the words that could shape the campaign. After gathering hundreds of words and phrases relating to the theme, we analysed them to develop three narrative ideas to share with the WHO.
Once we had cemented the most impactful narrative options, we started to think about how they could be visually interpreted to enhance and bring focus to the messaging. At this stage, following a thorough review of existing disability campaigns, DEPT® set an internal goal to ensure that our concepts did not go down the stereotypical route, which focused on iconography and graphics. To drive maximum impact and resonate with the vast audience, we opted for a visual direction that leaned heavily on the use of striking, abstract shapes and patterns, complemented by photography of ‘real people’ so that employees could see themselves represented within the campaign. In a bid to reflect the campaign’s aims, at all times we wanted the visual direction to be bold, confident, positive and uplifting.
Following thorough research and exploration of different routes to take, DEPT® developed three campaign concepts that could be used independently or in conjunction with one another. Every route presented challenged the disability inclusion status quo both linguistically and visually. Two of these concepts were combined to form the final campaign concept.
01 A spotlight for all
Our primary ‘spotlight’ creative concept was based on how disabilities are sometimes overlooked. We wanted to challenge the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that is so prevalent in the space, drawing attention to disability inclusion in order to make a change. The idea naturally inspired ideas around circular ‘glow’ shapes and gradients that could be used to bring typography in and out of focus, much like a spotlight.
Using the spotlight in this way helped us communicate that after being seen, disabled people deserve to be heard. We avoided the use of stereotypical imagery and, instead, opted for a more abstract and versatile choice, with different sized and positioned ‘glows’ reflecting the diversity of disability, as well as providing the opportunity to highlight individual disability challenges. The approach also provided the flexibility to work both as a purely graphic asset, or complemented by photography.
02 1 in 7
15% of the world population has a disability. 15% of the WHO’s workforce equates to 1 in 7 people. This was cemented as the secondary message of the campaign for its ‘wake up and pay attention’ impact, highlighting to team members that they will cross paths with people with disabilities more frequently than they may have realised.
We took colour inspiration from the existing logo, adopting magenta as the primary hue for its eye-catching qualities, and incorporating this with a purple shade that has increasingly become associated with disability awareness and has been used in a previous WHO campaign, allowing for recognition as well as an element of continuation.
As an absolute minimum, we ensured all design elements, including font and colour choices, met the requirements of Level AA WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Although true Level AAA requirements are largely based on black and white designs, we incorporated as many of the technical elements as possible, while nodding to this through the use of imagery that was largely black and white in tone, creating a striking contrast against the vibrancy of our chosen colourway.
All too often, campaigns only translate well in certain situations and mediums. So flexibility was paramount to the effectiveness of the concept. Not only did the assets have to resonate digitally as well as above the line, they were to be translated into multiple languages to be communicated across the six world regions the WHO operates in, and meet both immediate and longer term campaign requirements.
The campaign assets DEPT® produced were in English, but with the WHO rolling out this campaign globally, we had to consider how they could be edited by internal team members for translation and circulation within their region. With that in mind, we exclusively featured text outside of any shapes to allow more freedom when translated into languages that tend to use more characters.
Although the initial brief only outlined a small requirement of flyers, GIFs and social media frames, the versatility of DEPT®’s approach enabled the team to expand on this to deliver a toolkit of campaign assets that met both immediate and long term needs for digital and print circulation. This would ensure maximum impact of the campaign across all of the WHO’s internal communication channels.
DEPT® developed a memorable and empowering campaign concept and a toolkit of assets that tick every box. In presenting this concept, the WHO Affinity-Resource Group on Embracing Disability beat off stiff internal competition to secure board funding that will facilitate its delivery across the six world regions it operates in.
The campaign will soon be expanded and rolled out across two key regions, before being communicated across the rest of the world, to drive awareness, increase Affinity Group members, and engage the entire workforce in the important discussions around disability inclusion.
Head of Design
A green strategy to reach more climate-conscious donors
The temperature of the earth keeps rising, and in effect, the earth is drying out. To stop this desertification and climate change we must take action now. Justdiggit, together with farmers and local parties, greens dry soil in Africa to make it fertile again. With their campaigns they spread awareness about nature-based solutions and call to action: Dig in! Justdiggit looked for a way to better streamline their digital marketing channels and expand their community of donors.
A worldwide regreening movement
Together with farmers in Africa, Justdiggit digs crescent-shaped circles (called “bunds”) in dry soil. Rainwater can be collected here and that ensures that the soil becomes fertile and green again within a year. This is not only necessary for the local living conditions, but also for humans and nature worldwide. With climate change at stake, this is an opportunity where DEPT® as a B-Corp organisation, is happy to contribute.
The community of Justdiggit consists partly of local partners and communities that work the soil, and donors & ambassadors that create a worldwide awareness to financially contribute to these solutions. Donors primarily come from European countries (such as the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany), where donations go to environmental projects. To expand this community on a worldwide scale, we first had to determine what our focus was and how donors could be reached. Furthermore, we had to streamline our online marketing channels better.
Since all media budgets are pro bono and therefore limited, choices had to be made on how we could best use our budget. Both per channel, and on a national scale. Where did we see the most opportunities, and how could the community be expanded?
To maximise the impact of the marketing campaign, four phases where set up:
- Analysis of the market attractiveness
- Analysis of donations and media behaviour among the target group
- Optimal media mix based on (grant) media budgets
- Effectively measuring the growth of a community
We combined our power with Justdiggit for this green mission. After rolling out the strategy, we saw the following increases in performance:
- 16% growth in turnover from donations
- 35% growth in sessions
- More hearts were greened? Check!
Strategist, Digital Marketing NL
The American Society for Deaf Children
Pioneering the teaching of sign language
To address language deprivation and help bridge the communication barrier between deaf or hard-of-hearing children and their (hearing) parents and peers, creative studio Hello Monday partnered with the American Society for Deaf Children to create Fingerspelling.xyz – a hand tracking experience using machine learning to help learn the sign language alphabet.
The importance of the sign language alphabet
Every year, 2 – 3 out of every 1,000 children born in the US are deaf or hard-of-hearing. 90% of these children are born to hearing parents and, in many cases, their child is the first deaf person these parents have ever encountered.
Without being introduced to sign language at an early stage, a deaf child may miss out on learning language. This can lead to language delay or deprivation, which has long-term negative impacts on a child’s life. That is why it is so important that parents of deaf children have the opportunity to learn American Sign Language (ASL) as soon as possible. This is where Fingerspelling.xyz comes into play.
A playful learning experience
Fingerspelling.xyz is a browser-based app that uses a webcam and machine learning to analyse your hand shapes so you can learn to sign the ASL alphabet correctly. Fingerspelling is an essential part of ASL, the primary language of the American Deaf community. It is often used for proper nouns or to spell a word you don’t know the sign for.
The app shows the user a series of words and uses a 3D model to demonstrate how your hand should be positioned for each letter. When you sign the word, the camera tracks your hand movements and provides feedback so you can make corrections as needed. This helps you to quickly develop your fingerspelling skills and move to the next level of the program.
The fingerspelling game is a great way to introduce the basics of ASL in a fun and playful way. Instead of having to read or watch videos about fingerspelling, we offer an online teaching tool that guides you step by step in how to master fingerspelling – hands on!
Anders Jessen, Founding Partner, Hello Monday
The design and tech behind it
From a design perspective, the goal was to communicate fingerspelling in the cleanest and most simple way possible. Therefore, the 3D-hand is placed prominently in the centre of the site and paired with a playful typeface. Its angled glyphs have a dynamic movement that mirrors subtle visual nuances in the hand gestures, and the slightly off-kilter appearance feels joyful and engaging.
In regards to colour, the aim was to use a palette that was bold enough to draw people in and, at the same time, energise them to start learning to fingerspell. Capturing attention was key.
The 3D hand was designed to feel friendly, with enough detail for users to be able to easily see how the fingers are positioned and bent. A blend of cartoon style and realism was the perfect solution.
When it comes to the technology used, the main feature of the site is the hand tracking, for which MediaPipe Hands is used. It is extremely performant, and is able to do detection, even when parts of the fingers are hidden behind other fingers.
The most time-consuming task was to define when a Fingerspelling letter should be accepted or not. The team developed a rule-based system for each of the letters which looks at the rotation of the hand; whether it faces up, down, left or right. If the hand orientation is correct, it then looks at how each finger is positioned and how much the finger is bent. Setting up the rules was a manual process for each letter which involved a lot of trial and error. To make sure the signs are all taught the right way, an ASL professor helped test all of the different letters.
A useful learning tool, recognised in the Awards industry
The result, Fingerspelling.xyz, is designed for desktop, primarily to be used by parents of deaf children, but it can help anybody become more familiar with the ASL alphabet by providing an easy and simple way to get started.
Within 10 days of launching the site, 150,000 correct hand signs were made. 10 months later, more than 2.5 million correct hand signs had been registered. The American Society for Deaf Children now also uses Fingerspelling.xyz as part of their own training materials, which shows just how useful the tool is.
We created this fingerspelling tool with Hello Monday to help parents support their child’s mastery of sign language and so parents can share the joy of communicating and connecting with their deaf child.
Cheri Dowling, Director of Outreach and Programs, American Society for Deaf Children
Fingerspelling.xyz has certainly made a positive impact for the Deaf community and its innovation has been recognised with prestigious international awards, including:
- Webby Awards 2022: two Webby Award wins in the Diversity & Inclusion and Best User Interface categories, and People’s Voice awards for Technical Achievement, Diversity & Inclusion, and Best User Interface.
- Eurobest Awards: Innovation Eurobest Award, Gold award for Design, Silver award for Digital Craft
- Awwwards: Site of the Day
- FWA: Site of the Day & Site of the Month
- Cannes Lions: Gold in Design & Silver in Design, Silver in Digital Craft
- New York Design Awards 2021: Silver
- Anthem Awards: Gold – Education, Art & Culture, Gold – Responsible Technology in the Product, Innovation, or Service Categories (For Profit) category.
Founding Partner, Hello Monday (part of DEPT®)
A brand refresh to inspire all gymnasts
As the National Governing Body for gymnastics in the UK, British Gymnastics unifies the community, celebrates the sport’s legacy, and shapes the future. British Gymnastics has played a key role in the sport’s rapid growth in participation and popularity in the UK. To continue inspiring athletes of all ages and abilities, as well as showcase the elite gymnasts’ rising on the international stage, British Gymnastics turned to DEPT® to refresh its digital brand ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Crafted with precision
DEPT® created new digital brand guidelines to shape how British Gymnastics is publicly perceived. The project involved refining its brand personality and tone of voice by rooting it in the principles of teamwork, challenge, encouragement and greatness.
The British Gymnastics logo, brand marks and icons were placed into a grid, where suitable spacing and colour combinations were defined to maximise visual impact. Additionally, we reviewed typography and assigned primary fonts and fallback typefaces, outlining how they should be used in a content hierarchy.
A secondary colour palette was introduced, evolving the primary colours of Candy Apple Red and British Blue with vibrant accents of Gold, Purple, and Aquamarine. Our creative team paired complementary colours, and specified when combinations work best in various digital scenarios, for example call-to-actions or statement banners. Using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, we tested several concepts with black and white fonts in a range of sizes. Based on the results, we compiled a reference library outlining which content is most widely accessible.
A brand design to celebrate the movement of gymnasts
Creating a rhythmical user flow
Drawing curved, elegant lines
DEPT®’s designers applied the refreshed brand guidelines to create a suite of digital components and style guides which were used to design a fresh, new website for British Gymnastics.
Inspired by the elegance of gymnastics and the shapes gymnasts make when they move, all edges were softened into rounded and curved lines to represent the physicality of the sport and the equipment used. This concept was expanded when designing the website layout by adding tone-down textures that pronounce the curvature of lines and create a subtle 3-dimensional effect.
Bringing people forward
Photography played a key role in the design and was used tactically throughout the website design as a visual storytelling technique, helping to create a welcoming environment for all aspiring gymnasts. The people that make up British Gymnastics and help champion the sport were brought to the fore. Website visitors can take in the emotion from the coaches, dedication from the staff, commitment from members, and encouragement from friends and family. The identity of British Gymnastics became more about the people, and less focused on the network of training facilities and accolades. A diverse range of images are used throughout the site to ensure all users feel represented.
Matching the movement
We reflected the continuous, smooth and routined movement of gymnastics when constructing the website wireframes, ensuring an easy to navigate and enjoyable online experience for all users. We drilled down on who is visiting the website and for what reasons. This insight was used to create a set of user personas, which were flushed out in a customer journey mapping exercise. By reviewing the previous website sitemap and analytics, we managed to significantly reduce the number of web pages from thousands to hundreds; minimising pain points and creating a more direct path to the information users want to access, in their preferred format. For example, the flow for coaches was streamlined into one portal, allowing them to complete courses and fill in workbooks in a central location, without facing distractions from disconnected platforms.
Launchpad for the Olympics
The events section of the British Gymnastics website is one of its most popular, highlighting non-competitive meets all the way up to international tournaments. It’s where results are broadcast and awards are announced. Leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, DEPT® created themed templates and designed a content hub around the games to profile members of Team GB, host handy guides and schedules of events, as well as communicate updates in real time. This area also acts as an information source to share news coverage, interviews, podcasts and live-action photos. Engagement was a big focus; British Gymnastics released activities and challenges to encourage clubs and Leisure Centres to join in on the excitement leading up to and during the Olympic games. All of these resources became available on-demand and gymnasts that participated the most were awarded medals.
Winning with teamwork
British Gymnastics turned to DEPT® to finesse its website ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to reflect the skill and aptitude of its world-class athletes, aiming to inspire all gymnasts and fans. We collaborated with its in-house team as a creative partner, brought in to oversee the new look and feel of its digital presence. Its new brand guidelines, user-experience maps and design modules empower British Gymnastics to maintain its refreshed identity and take it to the next level.
To bring the designs to life, we co-created the website; DEPT® took the lead on the front-end and British Gymnastics’ in-house developers created the functionality in the back-end. We used a technical approach involving Next.js React Framework and Storyblok to manage content effectively. Together, we ensured the website performs like an Olympic gymnast: reliable on all stages, maintains a continuous flow, and executes creative flair seamlessly.
London Marathon Events
A brand refresh for the world’s greatest marathon
London Marathon Events (LME) organises world-leading mass participation events in running, cycling and swimming that inspire more than 200,000 participants every year. As part of a major branding and digital improvement project, LME turned to DEPT® to refresh the branding for the company and all its events to create a distinct personality that embodies its core values, and to develop a technical solution to centralise its digital touchpoints.
London Marathon Events’ branding has evolved organically over time, as new events were added to its portfolio, participant numbers increased, and sponsors and partners came on board. Its brand presence was cyclical, running in peaks and troughs throughout the year in line with its event calendar. There was a need to connect the dots across this cycle to develop a stronger presence throughout the whole year, and not just in the lead-up to its events.
LME brings remarkable people together and celebrates personal achievements that defy all odds. In the first phase of work, the brand refresh for the London Marathon, LME’s flagship event, our team took inspiration from this joint sense of achievement shared among its community.
The London Marathon, the most prestigious of LME’s events, is just the beginning of our work with LME. Our team became inspired by all of the events and activities organised by London Marathon Events and aspired to visually communicate the vibrancy of the company and its vision and work.
Fresh visual branding
The London Marathon interacts with millions of diverse people. We selected a photography style that captures their inspiring moments, from the intensity of crossing the finish line to the journey of past, present an future athletes. The London Marathon is not just for elite athletes; its community comprises people of all abilities from all corners of the world. Their stories are told through authentic images that put people and emotion at the heart of the message, allowing onlookers to not only visualise the events, but also share in the emotion of the experience.
Colour is a big part of LME’s branding for the London Marathon. The distinctive red colour remains core to London Marathon, while a vibrant and versatile secondary palette has been introduced. Bringing high-energy, these secondary colours are to be used sparingly and are best placed in pairs for full effect. Gradients were also recommended to bring themes together in a natural and well-balanced way.
Custom patterns were created, giving depth to the London Marathon brand with exciting visual elements. DEPT® designers digitally stitched a unique set of geometric designs to represent the ground the athletes run on, the landmarks they see en-route, and the thousands of steps they take to the finish line. For example, lines were placed at a 26.2 degree angle, which exactly matches the mileage of the London Marathon.
Recreating brand guidelines
To blend creative components and ensure the longevity of the design, DEPT® created an in-depth design rulebook. It includes all of the dimensions and ratios for website images with how-to information. A ‘cutout’ approach is one of our recommendations, easily achieved by selecting an impactful photo from the storage library, removing the background and replacing it with one of the custom patterns.
An artistic representation of the marathon experience
A dynamic brand, designed for the future
DEPT®’s creative team worked with LME to design a dynamic, scalable and future-ready brand for the London Marathon.
The introduction of statement patterns, a vivid colour palette, clear typefaces and a branded photography style has revived the London Marathon’s identity and achieved coherence across its entire brand estate.
The London Marathon branding was the launchpad for DEPT®’s partnership with LME. Our design, UX and development teams are now involved in plans to create seven new websites for the parent organisation and each of its events: London Marathon Events; The Vitality Big Half; the Vitality London 10,000; the Vitality Westminster Mile; the Standard Chartered Great City Race; RideLondon, and Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine. Keep your eyes peeled for the sleek digital implementation of this visual brand identity.
Head of Design
London Marathon Events
Building a multi-site Sitecore experience
London Marathon Events (LME) organises world-leading mass participation events in running, cycling and swimming that inspire more than 200,000 participants every year. Its portfolio of world-class events includes the Virgin Money London Marathon, the world’s greatest marathon, and RideLondon, the world’s greatest festival of cycling. Previously, each of these events had its own website and LME recognised the need to develop a centralised approach to its content management. LME appointed DEPT® to build a bespoke technical solution to consolidate the organisation’s digital estate.
A deep dive into the organisation
DEPT® kicked off the project with workshops, competitor research, stakeholder interviews, and analysis of sitemaps, data and use of technology. This Discovery phase was key to gaining a deep understanding of LME’s technical infrastructure, how the business is set up operationally, and how it engages users. The project was kicked off with the London Marathon website; the first to be designed and built on the multi-site platform.
Personas for the London Marathon were created to replicate the needs of each user, falling into one of the following categories: Participants; Charities; Sponsors; Spectators/Fans; Residents, and Internal Users. Flushing out motivations, triggers and requirements allowed us to pinpoint pain points in performance and unleash opportunities to engage its diverse user base.
To put our thought process into action, we defined the functional specification and created a blueprint outlining the system’s architecture, mapping customers journeys and third-party integrations. Once we had all of the requirements identified, our teams crafted a detailed project plan and began putting the pieces together.
A Sitecore solution
The new London Marathon website was built on Sitecore Experience Platform 9.3, providing the building blocks for a complex, bespoke solution. We wanted to deliver a solution to not only meets the needs of the organisation today, but one that will evolve with the organisation in the future:
- A multi-site structure was built in the Microsoft .NET framework. DEPT® developers followed Sitecore Helix practices and conventions, based on modular architecture (a.k.a. package design), to manage associated websites effectively within one solution. The London Marathon website was standardised so that subsequent websites can easily be rolled out with a recognisable look and feel carried out throughout. This simplifies content delivery and website management while maintaining different domains. Furthermore, as a central hub controls each website, all data is captured and stored in one spot making it easier to digest and react to analytics.
- Configuring a headless CMS means LME has the flexibility to change how the website looks, where content is placed, and how it appears on different devices, all without needing any development support. The codebase is in a separate application, therefore content managers and developers can work simultaneously while the website is live without interfering with each other. It’s a quicker-to-market solution and more manageable for content-heavy organisations. With goals to expand content creation to engage audiences outside of peak seasons, a headless solution is perfect for LME’s needs.
- The website components were built within the React front-end framework. The library of JSS components presents the content, while the technical framework behind it captures data from user interactions to fuel an adaptive personalisation strategy; learning from common search enquiries and behavioural patterns to create a dynamic user experience. We’re thinking ahead, as this will enable LME to not only capture online interactions, but can also feed into mobile apps, retail kiosks, wearable devices, chatbots, connected home devices, and many other channels.
Accessibility was a top priority throughout the website design and development. The final solution excels AA levels of accessibility, and ensures the digital experience is optimised for all users. The inclusive website is accommodating for people with permanent disabilities, as well as situational limitations.
When designing the website, DEPT®’s creative team pulled brand concepts created a couple of months prior, as part of the London Marathon brand refresh, which introduced new brand patterns and secondary colour palettes. We turned to online generators to test colours; how they display in foreground and background with variations of font sizes. Taking into account the spectrum of colour blindness, ratios were set to improve colour contrast sitewide in line with high accessibility standards. Newer technologies, such as CSS grid and CSS/HTML features, were used to create reusable components that are accessible and can be held within a responsive design. This includes four different types of carousels.
In the code, DEPT® developers adhered to a set of semantic markup rules to help screen readers and assistive technology software to interpret the content. All existing content was optimised and a new process was put in place; as content is added in the CMS, LME can add key information such as Alt tags to images and subtitles or captions to videos or motion graphics. The coding techniques used enables users to skip links, sectioning and tab control, allowing users to jump past decorative elements for more streamlined navigation.
Winning the race with technology
A scalable solution
DEPT® built a website for the London Marathon that gives LME more control over its digital presence. The Sitecore Experience Platform provides far more than just content management; it has the functionality to alter the website design to reflect campaigns and key messages, all while providing key user insights. The website tightens communications with charity partners, giving them access to edit key details on the website and visibility into analytics associated with their digital advertising. Ultimately, the website has improved the digital experience for all visitors with advanced personalisation and accessibility.
We created a platform for the future. As the organisation looks to explore emerging technology, it has access to all of the Sitecore updates without needing to re-platform. We’ve used common terminology for solution architecture, making Sitecore implementations more discoverable for current and future developers, decreasing the cost to alter the solution, helping to reduce technical debt, and adding more value to customers. The website is hosted on Sitecore Managed Cloud to provide the best practice Sitecore infrastructure on Azure.
DEPT®’s partnership with LME will continue, with the releases of further individual event websites. Plans are also in place to update its registration system, which will be a robust solution integrated into the Sitecore built.
Global SVP Technology & Engineering
A brand refresh for an incredible charity
Manchester homeless charity Coffee4Craig operates a daily drop-in centre supporting the most vulnerable in the community with hot meals, showers, medical aid and mental health crisis intervention. DEPT® teamed up with Coffee4Craig as part of the DEPT® Cares programme, donating the agency’s time, skills and expertise to support the charity with a complete brand refresh and new website.
The charity’s roots
Coffee4Craig was founded by Risha and Hendrix Lancaster after Risha’s brother, Craig, died of an overdose whilst living on the streets. As a reaction to his death and a desire to make the world a little better for those who find themselves homeless, Risha and Hendrix started giving out free coffee to the homeless community in Manchester. Fast forward seven years and that simple act of kindness has become a catalyst for a charity operating in his name – Coffee4Craig.
A brand inspired by its heritage
As DEPT® approached the brand project, it was clear that the charity needed to remain recognisable, so a refresh was needed as opposed to a brand new identity. The brand refresh is rooted in the charity’s heritage, whilst incorporating bright colours and clean, minimalist graphic design concepts. Here’s a behind the scenes look into the creative process:
- Mood boarding: A collection of visual assets were collated by pulling together an array of imagery, topical and industry references, inspirational quotes, patterns, font and typestyles. The theme is filled with positive emotional appeal, rather than focusing on any negative empathy.
- Revealing a new logo: Coffee4Craig was initially hesitant to part with its logo so with this in mind, illustrators adopted many of the original concepts in a more modern format, such as the coffee-cup stain. The ‘Craig’ part is a handwritten font, symbolising the name a barista jots on a takeaway coffee cup. This concept was appealing to the charity, as it provides room to expand with custom logos for key volunteers (e.g. Coffee4Amanda/ Coffee4Stephen), and can also be incorporated into future campaigns.
- Pastel perfect: To encapsulate the positivity of the charity, a contemporary palette was selected with contrasting colours that can be used through all brand outputs. Fresh and clean, it lends itself well to both online and offline. The charity has already used the new colour scheme to paint the walls of its new premises.
- A new identifier: For its social media profiles, DEPT® designed an identifier to run in the logo’s place, ensuring the brand is recognised in situations where legibility of the full logo would be an issue. The identifier’s design refers to Coffee4Craig’s design heritage, adding consistency as the charity moves ahead with its new look.
Elevating a unique community charity
Simplifying the solution
When it came to the website redesign, DEPT® began by reviewing the existing site to see where improvements could be made.
Across the site, DEPT® took a visual-first approach, replacing text-heavy sections with imagery and video content. The new design approach also shows the teamwork at the heart of Coffee4Craig; the connection that everyone involved has to the cause.
DEPT® revamped the brand look and feel to focus on the uplifting impact Coffee4Craig has had on the homeless community in Greater Manchester, showing possible donors the positive effect their money and time donations can have.
The UX team were keen to simplify the route to donation on the website. Driving donations and support were top considerations throughout the rebranding project and the new Coffee4Craig website was strategically designed and developed to achieve this. Accessibility was a key goal, to ensure visitors are always one click away from giving. A ‘donate now’ button was added to the site navigation bar, always visible when a visitor clicks on a new page or scrolls down.
The above the fold section of the homepage now prominently features a sliding donation scale, with each suggested amount showing the visitor what that donation provides for the charity. This helps donors to really visualise how their donation can help.
Additional donation methods
Amazon Wishlists are an important new donation channel for many charities, particularly those operating at a regional level. Certain donors prefer to control how their contribution is used; the wishlist facilitates that by allowing people to purchase selected items that Coffee4Craig need, such as disposable razors and warm clothing. By making the wishlist more prominent on-site, another barrier to donation was successfully broken.
After years of service expansion, the website needed to communicate the breadth of services to potential donors, and volunteers need to understand the scope of Coffee4Craig’s work and find out how they can get involved. Testimonials from current volunteers were added to show what it’s like to be part of the Coffee4Craig team, and contact forms were included to make it easier for volunteers to get in touch and offer their services.
Thinking of their offline donations too, DEPT® purchased two iZettle contactless payment machines to support easy donations and payment at events around the North West.
From a technical side, the old site was built through Wix, which the charity paid a monthly fee for. For small charities, reducing monthly online overheads can make a world of difference over the long term, so DEPT® opted to use the open-source Netlify CMS instead, which offers additional functionality and doesn’t incur any cost.
A partnership for the long term
The DEPT® team are emotionally invested in the Coffee4Craig partnership; all services were provided pro bono and many Depsters went above and beyond, coming together in their own time to brainstorm ideas and pick up extra tasks to ensure the new branding and website are exceptional. We wanted to create a solution to match the quality of work the charity does in the community.
The project team is proud to have helped elevate and build brand recognition for Coffee4Craig. The team feels confident that the new branding and website sends a clear message about who the charity is and what they stand for, to help facilitate online donations, whilst attracting volunteers and partners.
The new website is live now, ready to take donations, find new volunteers and connect with the homeless community. Visit the site today to find out more about Coffee4Craig’s work and how you could make a difference.
Head of Frontend Development
Van Gogh Museum
Step into the extraordinary
More and more individuals are shifting towards digital channels to accomplish any and everything. Seeing this shift, the Van Gogh Museum understood that it needed to elevate its digital presence and ensure it was accessible to everyone. So they asked DEPT® to turn their existing website into a work of art.
Designing a new website worthy of Van Gogh’s art
The iconic Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, dedicated to displaying the works of Vincent van Gogh, is one of the most important museums in the Netherlands. With over 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by the artist, it’s the largest Van Gogh collection in the world. To meet the demands of the digital world, the museum has partnered with DEPT® for the last two years. Together, we have created a new visual identity for the museum and developed the Unravel Van Gogh mobile app. But it was time to take it up a notch and design a new website worthy of Van Gogh’s art.
When you think of Van Gogh, colourful sceneries come to mind. So this was our starting point. We wanted the website to resonate with the user and leave an impression while, at the same time, being modest and simple in appearance. So, to kick off our design process, we started with an analysis which would enable us to make concrete recommendations for the museum’s future website. We researched the user journey and delved into any challenges they may face while browsing the current website, paying special attention to any difficulties those with a disability may encounter.
Behind the brushstrokes
To ensure the content stood out and that the design did not compete with the work of Van Gogh or other work featured on the website but instead complimented it, we kept the design clean and minimalistic, giving it a timeless feel. We embraced the museum’s new identity, which was designed by Studio Dumbar (part of Dept) in 2018, by using similar colours and typography. We assigned each page to a different colour which was adapted to the work of art displayed on it, a feat rarely done amongst the white backgrounds of various museum websites. We also implemented subtle interaction animations and transitions to make the website feel light and engage the user.
The museum website not only aims to inspire and entice visitors but also educate and delight them. However, the old story format didn’t promote users to read the content in its entirety. So we updated the website’s story format by simplifying the layout while making it more snappy and interactive as the user scrolls down. This made the articles more appealing to read, especially for users coming from social channels. It also enabled editors to create and post content in a much quicker fashion.
Revealing the details of Van Gogh’s paintings digitally
The museum’s new website embarks in a voyage of discovery and inspiration, helping guide art lovers to the world of Vincent van Gogh. Ensuring users all around the world are inspired by how Van Gogh influenced art’s history and can connect with the museum in a desirable digital manner.
Experience the website
Using the power of technology for a good cause
What do you get when you bring digital and tech together with a good cause? A digital marketplace where donors are linked to African farmers, who shovel life back into the barren soil.
The climate is one of the major concerns of this generation. Realising this, Justdiggit trains people in areas of drought to dig half-moon circles in which rainwater is collected. This process of ‘greening’ ensures that the land will be fertile again within a year, something that is vitally important for the local population and which, on a larger scale, the whole world can benefit from.
Climate change is one of the major concerns of this generation
Spreading the knowledge
Justdiggit focusses on spreading their knowledge all the while empowering locals to organise and carry out the work themselves under the guidance of fundi’s, the local rangers. In order to have a lasting and positive effect on the climate, Justdiggit needs to fertilise as many hectares of land as possible, something it simply cannot do by itself. They believe that empowering the local population is a sustainable solution.
Justdiggit asked DEPT® how technology could help them achieve their goals. As we’re committed to making a change, the agency is a breeding ground for social and sustainable initiatives. So within DEPT®, a team was put together to give a helping hand.
In a strategy and design sprint, the team designed a platform where farmers who want to dig holes in a qualifying area are linked to people who want to sponsor them. Research showed that many of the farmers in African villages are well connected. They completely skipped landlines and ADSL and take care of a lot of business mobile. For example, over 40% of the population of Tanzania does their banking via M-Pesa, which amounts to 95 million mobile money transactions per month.
People in the West can easily donate money through Ideal and in the background, a system automatically connects the donations to all the farmers who are allowed to dig in a qualifying area. Once a hole has been dug, it is captured with a photograph. The donor receives the photo and the transaction overview. It is a fair system and a perfect example of cutting out the middleman, where Justdiggit is purely the facilitator.
The marketplace/app works as follows:
- People in the West can easily donate money through Ideal.
- In the background, a system automatically connects the donations to all the farmers who are allowed to dig in a qualifying area.
- Once a hole has been dug, it is captured with a photograph. This photo is approved by a fundi, who acts as a kind of overseer, and then the transaction is made.
- The donor receives the photo and the transaction overview. Digging a hole costs €3,64, of which €2,02 goes to the farmer (55%). The rest of the money goes to the purchase of seeds (27%) , the salary of the fundi (5%), transaction costs (5%) and the protection of project areas against overgrazing by cattle (8%). It is a fair system and a perfect example of cutting out the middleman, where Justdiggit is purely the facilitator.
The most important quantitative goals of the platform in 2019 were to raise the average donation height. Our prognosis was that the combination of complete transparency of the chain and higher engagement by use of messenger and/or the platform would make this happen.
This worked out: the particular donations via the platform is now €34,35 per benefactor; that’s almost three times than the regular online donation to Justdiggit before the launch of the tool. This was far above expectations, especially when you keep in mind there’s been no paid media involved.
Global SVP Technology & Engineering
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