Lancaster, Pennsylvania is my hometown and will always hold a special spot in my heart Through some connections, I learned about the Disability Empowerment Center and the amazing work they do. I was taken by their mission to empower people with disabilities and impressed by the commitment that 60% of staff and board members must be individuals with disabilities.
Unfortunately their logo was outdated and their website was uninspired. They were looking for a design agency to guide them through a rebranding and I was invited to submit a proposal. Through that proposal, my team and I were chosen out of a number of agencies to lead the DEC Rebranding project.
Step One: Discovery
All of my projects, large and small, start with the Discovery phase. It’s a step that is absolutely crucial to creating an authentic brand. The size of this rebranding warranted an on site visit, so I traveled to Pennsylvania and spent three days at the DEC offices – meeting their staff and board members; conducting round-tables and interviews with absolutely everyone; and distributing surveys. From this visit, I was able to learn the real personality of DEC, the unique offerings they provided to their market, and the direction they really needed to go in to meet their goals.
As a side note, if I was impressed by DEC before I spent those three days in their office, I was completely blown away after. They are such an inspiring, heartwarming group of people. The entire place just oozes positivity and if I could have, I would have moved my own office, in with them!
Step Two: The Message
DEC didn’t have a tagline but they really wanted something that would sum up their organization and their mission in one nice little package. Also, they are apart of a larger Independent Living organization, so we had to be sure that the connection came through in the line.
As usual, the people in the organization ultimately wrote their own tagline. Through all of the interviews and roundtables, we were able to gather their own words to create the line they were hoping for: “Breaking through the barriers to Independent Living.”
Step Three: Logo
From there we headed directly to the logo phase. During Discovery, the team had participated in a logo survey, so we understood their preferences.
Many disability related organizations focus on disability, but the recurring theme that came through with DEC was the focus on empowerment, so that became our starting point.
Using their preferences, the new tagline, and their goals, we developed several options, and then final their final design.
The colors were selected based on the feelings we wanted to illicit.
Step Four: Visual Identity
As a mid-sized nonprofit organization, DEC had a lot of collateral that used their name and logo. For the Visual Identity Package, every bit of collateral was redesigned including: brochures, letterhead, envelopes, labels, stickers, business cards, folders, banner, promotional display, pens, magnets, email marketing account and templates, email signatures, office signs.
As part of the LCM team, we also had a local professional photographer, PhotOle. Ole was able to provide DEC with all new professional photography of their staff, their offices and several special events. This photography was used through the Visual Identity Package and the entire Rebranding.
All LCM clients get surprise gifts and DEC was no exception, so all of the staff who had been so helpful received a custom DEC calendar!
Step Five: The Website
We completely scrapped the existing DEC website and started from scratch to create a site that held all of the positivity and feelings of empowerment that their organization holds.
It’s a WordPress site, completely mobile-responsive, with many special features including a blog, contact forms, extensive event calendar and more.