FIELD NOTES

12.01.20

Inward, Onward, & Forward

Our work over the past months, despite the seeming stagnation of real life, has managed to keep us on our toes, moving swiftly, and growing as creative people. Though the day-to-day movement that once propelled our work week turned inward – offices became bedrooms, conference rooms became browser windows, colleagues became cats – the motion nevertheless remained forward, and the work we did remained challenging, engaging and rewarding.

The Incredible Edible Web(site)

We Madisonians have always known that our beloved hometown is a top-notch spot for eating, drinking and generally great restauranting. Surrounded in every direction by acres of farmland, we’re literally down the road from the freshest vegetables, meats, fruits, cheeses, and beers in all the land. And although our talented, hardworking culinary community always manages to keep things exciting, our local food publication had some catching up to do. After several years of marinating in that late-90’s je ne sais quoi, the Edible Madison website was ready for a refresh. We were more than happy to roll up our sleeves and whip up a new design centered around elegance, functionality, and a tasteful simplicity that will bring even the most satiated visitors coming back for seconds.

Shine On, You Purple Eggplant

It’s not every day that a client checks off all your boxes for the ideal partner.

Mission-driven nonprofit? Check.

Purveyor of quality, locally-grown foods? Check.

Passionate agents of social justice? Check.

And as with most dream relationships, the right combination of values and vision results in something beautiful. So it was with Milwaukee-based Fondy Food Center when they approached us for a rebrand. We dug in deep, learned about their history, people, and goals, and developed a visual identity as strong and vibrant and the ideals and optimism that drive their organization. Goodbye, eggplant. Hello, happy client!

Parenting in a Pandemic

We probably don’t need to point out that this summer has been kinda weird. Actually, it’s been really weird – especially for parents confronting the conundrum of sending their kids back to school and maintaining some degree of normalcy now that everyone is at home. All. The. Time. In an effort to alleviate at least some of this weirdness, we teamed up with the rockstar folks over at EdNavigator to create the Kinda Guide – a robust, engaging, and fun-to-use website that's full to the brim with resources, media and information specifically tailored for families navigating the uncharted territories of 2020. Kinda Guide was built off the wonderfully successful and richly illustrated, Camp Kinda site, which we branded, built, and launched this summer. We designed and built the guide within a lightning-fast timeline, and we continue to maintain it so we can ensure that the rest of 2020 is a little less weird. Kinda.

There’s no I in UX

Do a quick Google image search for ‘UX Design’, and you’re likely to find a plethora of boring and uninspiring images of paper post-its clumped on a white board with people gathered around with their hands on their hips. User Experience (UX) Design is the nebulous science of improving the experience for people doing a thing – from using a website, completing a form, or making a plane reservation. Doug Baker is an evangelist for good UX and has helped organizations like American Family Insurance and Springs Window Fashions improve the experience of their customers and improve their business as a result. We collaborated on a brand strategy, visual identity and website design and development.

Education Analytics

We’ve been working with the Madison-based non-profit, Education Analytics (EA) for the past 4 years as their design partner for project work. This past year, they enlisted our help to rebrand their organization. While still a relatively new player in some of the tech space, they are well known for their work on student growth models, but they’ve expanded their capabilities beyond that and it was time for a rebrand. Re-energizing their original brand identity, we designed a full visual system including animated logos, report templates, an illustration suite, print collateral and a full website (coming 2021!)

Let’s Rally!

When the Pandemic hit and schools closed, our partners at Education Analytics and CORE Districts sprung into action. They enlisted our team to guide the user-centered design process and to design a dashboard specifically designed for teachers to help them understand their students in remote learning environments using real-time data. With Rally, teachers see their students’ academic data alongside well-being information, see summative information alongside formative assessments and well-being surveys throughout the school year. The platform predicts performance where data were missing in 2020 and follows recovery from learning-loss due to learning disruptions. Teachers have access to resources around equity, curriculum and wellbeing and tools to take notes, set goals and create intervention groups.

Our team named, and branded the platform, conducted usability reviews with teachers and school leaders to define features, we worked with CORE Districts to develop equity pauses throughout the platform to encourage teachers to see their whole students in focus. We also created instructional videos for educators getting started with Rally. The platform launched in districts across South Carolina, and California in August 2020.

Bringing Balance Back to Farming

Vitruvian Farms has gained a reputation around Madison for growing some of the freshest, tastiest vegetables in the area. Ask their devoted base of local chefs and CSA subscribers, and you’ll quickly realize that they must be doing something right. Their successful approach to organic farming involves a balance of modern technological practices, with a recognition of nature’s processes to improve soil and nourish plants in the most natural way possible. After learning about their mission and philosophy, we designed a logo rooted in the ideas of their namesake, the Roman architect Vitruvius, who believed that all human endeavors should aim to encompass the values of balance and beauty in their works.

Law Forward

By now it’s clear that we work with some pretty awesome people. And a few of them are actually legit superheroes. Law Forward is a new non-profit legal advocacy organization that is fighting to preserve democracy and the constitutional rights to fair voting rights in Wisconsin. In early October, they came to us looking for a quick turn visual identity and website to get their name out prior to the 2020 election. In less than three weeks, we created a logo and website just in time for press coverage in the NYTimes.


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