MKW Graphics
Helping small businesses turn brand vision into visuals
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Tips + Thoughts

To call myself a blogger feels all too millennial. Instead, I consider this portion of my website to be part knowledge library, part design magazine and part entreprenurial-digital-nomad travel journal. Hope you enjoy reading my musings!

- MKW

From THIS to THAT: Savvy Giving by Design + Rebranding my own Work

 

It's kind of crazy to think I have been doing graphic design long enough to already be reworking a brand that I had originally designed. In 2014, my mom started a nonprofit organization called Savvy Giving by Design. SGBD's mission is to provide comfort and healing to children facing medical crises by transforming the interior spaces of their homes at no cost to them. SGBD was definition 'grassroots' effort in the beginning, but after receiving 501c3 status and community wide recognition, SGBD has grown beyond what we envisioned. 

Last Saturday, we hosted SGBD's second annual Fundraiser "A Room to Heal" in which we raised over $50,000 for our nonprofit. We also announces a rebrand, new logo and new website launch to go with a national program to help more kids heal. 

 
 
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Why Rebrand?

I designed the first SGBD logo on an airplane sitting between my mom and my dad. All three of us agreed that the nonprofit needed an identity. At the time, the name recognition and branding piggybacked on the family business, Savvy Interiors / inSIDE by Savvy. The 'Parade' font has been with Savvy Interiors for the last 15+ years and that (at the time) was a non-negotiable. By default, 'giving by design' stayed smaller, and the idea behind the gift box was a way to symbolize giving. Finding a way to represent nonprofits in logos can be a little bit difficult, especially when you are trying not to use cliched healing hands or hearts or stars. I am really pleased with the way the new one turned out!

What stayed?

The color palette had to stay. Green and navy are timeless, gender neutral and spoke to the general feel we wanted for the organization. The old logo brought an element of whimsy with the arched ribbon and cartoon style box. The hand written font and arched text are a nod to the old whimsical composition. 

What’s new?

The new logo feels much more modern in a less is more kind of way. Instead of the elements competing with one another, the logo mark feels more balanced and flowing than the old one. Now, the emphasis is on the word ‘giving’ instead of ‘savvy,’ which is exactly what we needed in order to put some distance between SGBD and Savvy Interiors AND it makes for an easier transfer for the new affiliates. The new design lends itself wonderfully to new merchandise, as there's enough negative space for the mark to remain readable at a smaller scale. Lastly, the new logo marks and variations are better optimized for social media and the varying formats that are required on profiles and business pages.

New Website

The approach for the new website was to create a platform that was more user-friendly platform to share the stories of the kids that we help. Instead of linking outward, we want to keep visitors on our website, watching videos, looking at images, reading stories and ultimately, making donations to our cause.

What stayed? 

Overall, we kept the general structure of the original website in tact. We wanted to keep the pinterest-esque feel with the tiles of each of the rooms on the home page. Additionally, we kept the story, board member page, and donate links in the main navigation. The mission statement stays front and center, reminding us all of the goal at hand.

What changed?

The original SGBD website was the first website I ever made. One of the struggles with the old website (due to my lack of experience) was that we didn't want to have to add new content multiple times on multiple platforms so everything linked outwards. Room links lead to Houzz albums, videos took you to Youtube, basically every link and button took you away from the website. This meant people spent less time on our website and, if I've learned anything from all these business podcasts, it's that you want people to stay on your website as long as possible. ESPECIALLY because we want them to make donations. Now, with almost a year of Squarespace design and management under my belt, I feel a lot more comfortable having all of the content be self-hosted. 

The other major improvement is still in development stages. Savvy Giving by Design is planning a national roll-out for an entire coalition of designers who can use our model, our marketing and our mission to help more kids who would otherwise be out of our reach. The affiliate page will highlight each of those SGBD national branches and showcase their projects, their stories and link to their social media pages. 

What I learned as a designer...

Luckily, this was a redesign that, I agreed, was wayyyy overdue. It's really interesting and exciting to have the opportunity to look at your own work with a critical eye. Even more important, I believe that it is so so necessary for businesses and organizations to be in constant review of their brand identity, what's working, what isn't working and how it can improve. 

Thinking of rebranding? Consider this:

Here are some of the reasons I think this rebrand will be successful...

  • enough time has passed since we made the first logo - I definitely don't suggest rebranding if you've revealed your last brand within the last 6 months. Your audience will likely be confused if they see new branding in too short of a time period
  • we timed the rebrand with a national roll-out - This was the perfect time to reconsider how the logo would function outside of the San Diego bubble. 
  • we formally announced the change at our event -  We educated our biggest donors and fiercest supporters about the change and why it was necessary
  • we've got time to finish out the rest of the collateral - There is undoubtedly a transition time and now, we have time to make sure new marketing efforts match the new branding. For example, campaigns like Giving Tuesday and all of the donations that happen around the holiday season are still a few months out. 

 

Michelle Wintersteen