Working with one of
Americas oldest brands.
July 2015 - Dec 2015
ARC was a main client for a company I worked for in downtown San Diego. Their design needs ranged from Landing Pages for promotions to banner ads for the web. Our big success was the cleaner and simpler design approach we helped ARC adopt.
A timeless brand
The American Red Cross is a brand that has its style guide written in stone... or at least since 1881. The style guide they provide is dense and they do a pretty good job enforcing it, hats off to them. For this particular project, we were tasked with designing the 'Holiday Catalog'.
The team and I had worked with ARC before on banner ads, campaigns, landing pages, and more but this was going to be our most impactful project to date. Based on previous data it would receive millions in traffic and drive some of the companies largest donations for the year. A challenge myself and the team were ready for.
Understanding the problem
We sat down with the marketing team of ARC and discussed the prior years' design and results first. They expressed to us that they felt the design was not as easy to navigate as they'd like. That's when I knew I'd have an opportunity to introduce something fresh and a bit more modern. A timeframe was set for one month from the meeting for high a fidelity mockup. For the brand, the audience size, and the total redesign I wanted to implement, it seemed like we would be cutting it close.
A previous years Holiday Catalog.
At this point in my career, I was still learning a lot and trying to establish a foundation of design heuristics I could apply routinely. Looking back now I would have done things a bit differently but that just tells me that I've matured as a designer. Which is always a personal objective of mine.
ARC sent over a PDF complete with annotations outlining areas of concern and how the marketing team thought it could be improved. This helped to ensure that we didn't stray too far from their end goal and was essentially a box to work within. With all this information I was ready to start turning out designs.
All though I do not have these to show, I did around 10 different layouts with wireframes within the first week. I knew this would be a great one-page design so I didn't make any efforts in abstracting content out to different pages. The layouts were all designed in a way that took the current design and "stretched" it out. I wanted the content to breathe more and be simple to scan and consume. The old layout felt much too crowded and I was going to change that.
A story had to be told, potential donators would be visiting this site from either a separate social/email/web campaign and it was my job to ensure they believed in our mission enough to give generously. So I started curating and creating content for a "mood board" if you will. I wouldn't say it is the exact definition of a mood board but regardless, it worked.
In the mood board, I had quite a bit of "Western" themed holiday references. Which for ARC, is a big no-no. The design had to appeal to a wide audience from different backgrounds and cultural beliefs. So I iterated a few more times until we had something everyone was thrilled with!
Unfortunately, no Red Rider BB Gun's allowed in this design...
After a few weeks of fine-tuning, the site was ready to be implemented. This was the highest profile website I had worked on thus far in my career and based on ARC's feedback, the 2015 holiday catalog was a large success.
Since that year, ARC has adopted a more modern design approach. I know because this was not my last project with the company. I designed a few other large campaigns that implemented the same visual language and "less is more" mantra.
Current "Give Blood" page, which I designed intitially.
The "Sleeves Up" campaign which I worked on closely.
They have never told us exactly how much we increased traffic or donations but we like to think they didn't keep asking us to design things "our way" if it wasn't significantly contributing.