The New Community Leadership Foundation (NCLF) is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of black and minority communities in San Francisco while working towards their development, empowerment and advancement.
I met with NCLF in August 2020 as a part of a team of four designers to discuss one of their annual events: the People's Temple tragedy. We were all tasked with designing a digital experience for the commemoration, and I was happy to design the necessary printed materials as well.
When was this:
Aug - Nov 2020
What I did:
Researched and designed the digital experience and printed materials
Tools I used:
Adobe Suite (AI, PS, ID)
How can we incentivize
How can we encourage public engagement?
How can we
create a cultural and educational experience?
How can we ensure virtual attendance?
Problems at hand
Due to the pandemic in place, the NCLF was facing its first year needing a virtual alternative to a physical event while striving to keep the same level of public engagement. To ensure this, we narrowed down on four core problem areas:
Being a part of a design team and working with the New Community Leadership Foundation has been an incredible experience. It was my first time working with a non-profit for a cause that was so local to my community, and needless to say I learned just as much about history as I did design related lessons. Here are a few of those observations I made:
Designing for the future is designing for growth
Designing a website to accommodate future themes establishes a consistent, yet new, event to look forward to each year.
Accessibility comes in many different styles
You don't need to compromise on the needs of your target audience for trending or common styles. The function of the design is the priority.
Change is inevitable, even one week before the launch date
People say don't get attached to your work, and they're absolutely right. Always be ready for last minute changes and your life will be easier.
Solidifying one idea is easier than creating multiple drafts
In the same amount of time you create multiple drafts, you could extend your research and create one precise idea to move forward with.
Find reasons to love the work you do
Even the smallest of reasons to enjoy the work will provide some motivation, excitement and ambition to do well. Plus, it makes working much more fun.
A basic brand guideline was set into play that could be used by non-designers. It would be passed on to the NCLF after the project is completed, so it should be simple and easily accessible.
The goal of this virtual commemoration was to create the same cultural and educational event space, only digital. We added a timeline of the Fillmore/Western Addition history for just this reason. To take it a step further, my colleague added interactive features making it the main feature of the commemoration. As an additional emphasis on the history of this event, we designed the commemoration with an image dominant theme. Each page includes current and/or historical images of the Fillmore/Western Addition.
Design centered around history
How can we create a cultural and educational experience? By centering our design around history.
Transitioning from a physical to a virtual event while keeping the same attendance was a new challenge our entire society was facing. The solution for NCLF was all about promotion and a commemoration designed for the right audience.
Alongside the virtual commemoration, a virtual panel was taking place in which the both the flyers and the panel event would be encouraging the public to visit the new virtual commemoration. I designed a flyer in a similar fashion as the website, with higher contrast and larger fonts for readability. This ensured our audience could access and navigate through the experience with ease.
Inviting a virtual audience
How can we ensure virtual attendance?
By promoting the event and designing for accessibility.
Once people get to the virtual commemoration we want to make sure they enjoy their time enough to stay and see the majority of it. Here are a few ways we designed the website to keep visitors engaged:
Animations: Moving elements catch our attention more than static elements. Even small animations of appearing headlines and images are enough to keep visitors interested.
Gallery interactions: Giving visitors the ability to interact with gallery photos through hover effects, enlarging, and liking them encourages them to keep scrolling.
The show goes on
How can we encourage public engagement? By keeping visitors attentive and interacted.
The theme for the 2020 commemoration is healing, so to encourage current visitors to return again next year, we give them a sneak peek of future themes for the next few years. This is so they can anticipate a different type of commemoration with new themes each year.
Come back soon!
How can we incentivize returning visitors?
By giving them something to look forward to.