It’s no secret that people are passionate about their opinions (whether others are listening or not). But we know the community benefits when we stop giving others a talking to and start talking with each other. As a primary source of grant-funding in Martinsville and Henry County Virginia, the Harvest Foundation came to us with a vision to bring a variety of voices to the community table. Over the past few years, the Foundation has been shifting its investment towards projects that encourage collaboration and self-sustaining thinking rather than simply funding any worthwhile idea that came their way. They asked for help developing the language and visuals to better tell their shifting story to community stakeholders.
Step 1: Think
“No duh.” You might say. “Isn’t thinking a given?” But you may be surprised how often this step is overlooked. Sure we can whip up something that looks nice, but without putting strategy behind it, it’s like trying to hit a bulls eye blindfolded. With the Harvest Foundation, we began by doing our research. We facilitated interviews with staff, grant recipients and community leaders, helping capture stories, pinpoint challenges and gather a variety of perspectives. We analyzed past collateral, organizational reports and industry trends, finishing with a gauge of design preferences.
Step 2: Create
We believe (with some successes and failures to back it up) that when we spend time on the front-end, researching, investigating and defining problems, our back-end creation process happens more quickly and effectively. With the Harvest Foundation we were given a tight, event-driven timeline to work within, which made our thinking all the more crucial to ensure we hit the mark early on. We began by crafting the language, developing themes that kept in mind tone, presentation format and potential visuals.
Armed with a fleshed out script, we (finally) could put pen to paper (literally in this case). Utilizing insight we gained from our initial interviews we focused in on an illustrative, vibrant aesthetic that invited the community to pull up their chair, stool or sofa to the table of collaboration.
Step 3: Do
While it’s easy to fixate on producing work that we’re proud of, for us the best part comes when we get to see our clients equipped with the tools they need to share their story. With a flexible script, compelling presentation and newly-streamlined elevator pitch, the Harvest Foundation is equipped to inspire others in community collaboration.
These three steps aren’t hard and fast rules, and we can’t promise they’ll always look the same. But rather, this process serves as our guide to searching out the right solution to help clients like the Harvest Foundation clearly tell their story.