cracking the Good Egg Grant: part one

This three-part series offers an in-depth look into our design process. Follow along as we create a brand that is easy to love, quick to remember, and feels like part of the neighborhood.

triptych image featuring Dove's cucumber refillable deodorant, a layered mushroom visual by Bolt Threads, and Seedlip's compostable mushroom gift packaging

At Design B&B, we know that strong strategy, smart storytelling, and surprisingly obvious design solutions are key to an organization’s success. Through the Good Egg Grant, we’re working to make quality, strategic design more accessible to our community by providing one Chicago nonprofit with free access to our services for a full year. 

In the first of our three-part series revealing the behind-the-scenes of our 2021 Good Egg Grant partnership, you’ll get a peek at our process with this year’s recipient: the Northwest Side Housing Center (NWSHC). Stay tuned for updates as we roll up our sleeves and reach new milestones.

The Northwest Side Housing Center

Located in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, the NWSHC identifies and responds to the needs of the surrounding community by leveraging resources to improve their economic wellbeing and quality of life. Originally focused on housing, the center has since expanded to include services like financial coaching, workforce development, youth programming, health workshops, and adult education. They’ve helped thousands of families keep their homes, access financial opportunities, and grow as community organizers and leaders.

triptych image featuring Everlane's sustainable clothing and smiling employee
triptych image featuring Everlane's sustainable clothing and smiling employee

The Northwest Side Housing Center

Located in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood, the NWSHC identifies and responds to the needs of the surrounding community by leveraging resources to improve their economic wellbeing and quality of life. Originally focused on housing, the center has since expanded to include services like financial coaching, workforce development, youth programming, health workshops, and adult education. They’ve helped thousands of families keep their homes, access financial opportunities, and grow as community organizers and leaders.

triptych image featuring Adidas's collaboration with Bolt Threads on a new mushroom-based shoe

Listening

The NWSHC came to us with a few challenges. Their name was causing confusion, as it no longer encompassed their full range of services. They also needed a strategy for organizing and quickly communicating their extensive list of programs. And — lucky for us — they were open to a radical change to their visual branding to reflect their vibrant community. 

triptych image featuring Adidas's collaboration with Bolt Threads on a new mushroom-based shoe

Listening

The NWSHC came to us with a few challenges. Their name was causing confusion, as it no longer encompassed their full range of services. They also needed a strategy for organizing and quickly communicating their extensive list of programs. And — lucky for us — they were open to a radical change to their visual branding to reflect their vibrant community. 

Framing the Problem

We kicked off our partnership with informational interviews of roughly a dozen members of the NWSHC team, learning about their history, goals, and challenges. We then compiled what we heard into a learning report that outlined strengths, opportunities, and actions to guide our path forward. 

We also did some digging on the nonprofit landscape, assessing strategies like how to communicate multiple pillars of service under one nonprofit roof. And lastly, in our effort to make design (even more!) accessible, we began building some “Design 101” training resources to help their team understand our process, make informed decisions, and ensure self-sufficiency after our partnership ends.

Based on all that we’d learned, we had a few key objectives:

    • Establish vibrant and distinct branding that reflects their values and conveys authority

    • Ensure that the system resonates with community members

    • Help structure brand architecture to better communicate services

    • Ensure the brand can flex to fit more formal executions where needed

    • Consider a name change that better encompasses the organization’s extensive services

triptych image featuring Dove's new refillable deodorant
triptych image featuring Dove's new refillable deodorant

FRAMING THE PROBLEM

We kicked off our partnership with informational interviews of roughly a dozen members of the NWSHC team, learning about their history, goals, and challenges. We then compiled what we heard into a learning report that outlined strengths, opportunities, and actions to guide our path forward. 

We also did some digging on the nonprofit landscape, assessing strategies like how to communicate multiple pillars of service under one nonprofit roof. And lastly, in our effort to make design (even more!) accessible, we began building some “Design 101” training resources to help their team understand our process, make informed decisions, and ensure self-sufficiency after our partnership ends.

Based on all that we’d learned, we had a few key objectives:

    • Establish vibrant and distinct branding that reflects their values and conveys authority

    • Ensure that the system resonates with community members

    • Help structure brand architecture to better communicate services

    • Ensure the brand can flex to fit more formal executions where needed

    • Consider a name change that better encompasses the organization’s extensive services

Diving In

With that in mind, we set out to brainstorm three distinct approaches for a new branding system. 

triptych image featuring Burger King's new reusable packaging

Direction #1: The Golden Thread

A popular theme we heard in info interviews was connection. One interviewee described the NWSHC as a “golden thread” within the community, connecting people to the resources they need to thrive. We brought this theme to life with expressive line illustrations and a vibrant color palette, balanced with a simple wordmark logo and photojournalistic black and white photography.

triptych image featuring All Bird's sustainable shoes

Direction #2: Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect represented collective empowerment and the positive chain reaction that comes from giving community members much-needed resources to thrive. An abstract ripple pattern interlocked to form the “nw” logo and lent itself well to iconography. The curves were enlarged to become holding shapes for text or a “window” for photography, creating a modern impression.

triptych image featuring Burger King's new reusable packaging

Direction #3: For All Of Us

For All Of Us put a spotlight on the people who call Belmont Cragin home. A more refined approach, this direction told a compelling visual story through rich-toned portraits, a warm color palette, and ornate font choices to become type as texture. Its adaptable logo rotated to become an image frame, holding shape, and rotating icon. 

triptych image featuring Burger King's new reusable packaging

Last but not least, we presented some new name ideas that would no longer limit the organization to housing. These were circulated among the larger NWSHC team for some valuable feedback. 

Curious to know what visual direction and name were chosen? Stay tuned for part two of this process coming soon. And don’t miss your chance to vote for your favorite on our Instagram story!