Since 2014, Democracy Fund has worked to support an open and just democratic system through funding, philanthropic advising, and advocacy work. Democracy Fund selected nclud to conduct discovery research with internal and external stakeholders and to refresh Democracy Fund’s digital brand and redesign its website property, democracyfund.org.
Addressing the needs of diverse audience groups.
After the completion of the discovery phase and outputs, we set to work on creating a reimagined sitemap for democracyfund.org. Our key priority was to make sure pages and user flows were tailored to the needs of Democracy Fund’s key audience groups: Peer Funder and High-Net-Worth Individuals, Potential and Current Grantees, Policy-Makers and Practitioners, Media and Influencers, and Job Applicants. The color-coordinated sitemap below shows the breakdown of this prioritization. The previous site included a lot of vague navigation terminology that we wanted to get from. We worked with Democracy Fund to come up with navigational flows that were as specific as possible and focused on high-traffic areas of the site like the Grants Database and Democracy Fund’s Healthy Democracy Framework.
During wireframes, we took special care to revamp the content strategy and flow of the website. The major landing pages of the website, Ideas section and Grants Database were paid special attention. Democracy Fund considers itself a “foundation+” meaning they not only fund important work and foster a collaborative community, but also put out scholarly research and opinions of their own. We created the “Ideas” section of the website to reflect these organizational objectives. The Grants Database also got a makeover. We turned the database from what was essentially an excel spreadsheet into a useful interactive tool, not only for grantees and potential grantees, but for internal Democracy Fund staff and partner funders in the space.
Translating the brand to an extensible design system.
For design, nclud had a unique challenge at hand. Democracy Fund’s internal design team had worked to create a brand that spoke to both sides of the aisle and did not appear over-the-top patriotic and cheesy (this was a fine line to toe, especially because Democracy's color palette was various shades of red, white and blue). We were sent the current brand guidelines and a variety of print materials for inspiration and a jumping off point. Each moodboard focused on many subtleties: type treatments, arcs and waves, image treatments, alignment concepts, iconography, and different ways of using Democracy Fund’s color palette.
In all three moodboards, we wanted to propose a confident and bold translation of Democracy Fund’s brand that not only reflects the current political climate, but also the urgency that many in the field feel at this moment.