In my role as the Chief Designer at EcoRise, I conducted a detailed analysis of the EcoRise brand—from the user experience to the organizational systems and culture. After 8 years of organic growth, EcoRise reached a point where the brand needed to be reviewed and refreshed. The objective of the EcoRise audit was to document each touchpoint in order to create a consistent brand system and experience.
August 2016–May 2017
Design Research | Service Design | Facilitation & Collaboration | Data Synthesis | Visual Design | Brand Identity | Systems Design
01: Create Buy-In
I began by interviewing the organization’s Founder and Executive Director. As the creator of the organization, her buy-in and insights were essential to evolving any brand assets. Through a series of questions, I uncovered her priorities, assumptions, and “must-haves”—critical data that informed the project’s framework.
02: Conduct Stakeholder Interviews
Based on the interview with the Executive Director, it became clear that board members, team members, students, and teachers were the most important stakeholders to interview. I worked with my colleague to design an interview guide customized to each audience. Depicted below are the interview goals and notes for each stakeholder group.
Stakeholder #1: Board Members—
- Uncover who they believe EcoRise exists to serve
- Identify any discrepancies
STAKEHOLDER #2: Staff—
- Understand staff's perspective on EcoRise’s brand identity
- Gain insight on the relationships between team members and external stakeholders
- Catalogue each department's production cycle
STAKEHOLDER #3: Students—
- Understand students' global concerns and personal aspirations
- Gather feedback on their experience with EcoRise's brand
STAKEHOLDER #4: Teachers—
- Understand their personal motivations for teaching
- Observe and document their experience with EcoRise’s online portal
What I Discovered
Keep The Brand Colorful
There was a consistently positive response to the colorfulness of the EcoRise brand—it represented diversity, growth, and innovation. On the other hand, insights pointed to the importance of modernizing the logo mark in order to stay relevant and fresh to younger markets.
Simplify The User Experience
In interviewing teachers and observing their interaction with EcoRise’s online portal, we discovered they are 1) extremely busy people, 2) love what EcoRise has to offer, and 3) slightly confused about how to get started. With these insights in hand, our team simplified the user experience by replacing internal jargon with common terms, removing superfluous buttons and calls-to-action, and streamlining the teacher onboarding process.
Build Understanding Across Departments
Staff surveys highlighted the importance of having a macro understanding of the unique activities for each department. Because team members wear multiple hats, reinforcing departmental goals and priorities proved necessary to enhance collaboration and understanding.
The Final Product:
A CoHESIVE Brand System
Below are two example outputs from the brand audit process: the Brand Voice and an Organizational Dashboard.
EcoRise’s voice is simple and optimistic. We strive to take challenges and turn them into opportunities. We see possibility and potential. In some contexts, we use the word “rise” in place of “stand.” Here’s an example of this in action:
I rise for…
The brand audit exposed the organization's challenges with collaboration. To address this pain-point, I prototyped an Organizational Dashboard. The objectives of the dashboard are the following:
- Highlight the activities of each department at any given month
- Break down silos and inspire collaboration
- Build empathy and understanding across the organization
- House our goals at the organizational, departmental, and individual level