The capstone project is intended to bring together all the skills we’ve learned throughout the program by working with a client. The client for our term was Xtraordinary Joy, a Gainesville nonprofit dedicated to the research of rare genetic disorders like the one affecting the founders’ young daughter. We began with a situation analysis of the organization’s current marketing strategies and online presence. We then used this research to redesign their logo, as well as refine their brand with a branding guide and creative brief. Next we created a wide range of graphic design materials implementing these brand requirements and suggested a marketing campaign spotlighting this new branding effort. In the final stages, we redesigned their website within a WordPress content management system for easy post-project management. At the end of the semester, we presented our campaign, including all of the marketing materials, design materials, and website, to the client.
Most of our inspirations for the Capstone protect stemmed from the organization’s original brand. They did a great job of creating an image of a “loving everyday family just hoping to make a difference” while utilizing a feminine and joyful style. However, we also looked to incorporate a slightly more modern feel, which was inspired by contrasting fonts, and big bright images.
- Medical Professionals active in the Gainesville nonprofit community
- Local college students
- Potential marketing volunteers
- Concerned parents of children affected by rare genetic disorders
Who was the client (and a brief description about them)?
Extraordinary Joy is a young non profit organization that was founded in 2016. The organization was started by Amy and Tony Meacham, who’s adopted daughter Moriah is affected by the rare genetic disorder Xq27.3-q28 Deletion. This disorder is an x chromosomal deletion that affects young girls, and very little is known about it. Faced with an ambiguous diagnosis, the Meacham’s started Xtraordinary Joy in hopes of funding a specific research method that may provide answers for Moriah and other girls affected. Their three main goals are to solicit donations to fund research, spread awareness of Xq27.3-q28 Deletion, and create a community characterized by joy. They hope to raise over $100,000 this year through donations and community events.
This project required a wide range of skills and programs. In order to evaluate the organization’s original brand and online presence, we performed research, usability tests, and used analytical skills. We next incorporated the principles of design to complete the logo re-design and marketing design pieces using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. All materials presented to the client were put together using Adobe InDesign.
We drafted wireframes and mockups in Adobe Photoshop to design the new website. We then used a local installation of WordPress to create a custom WordPress template, using Git version control to track our progress. The responsive site was designed with a mobile-first approach and features the latest versions of HTML5 and CSS3. To make the post-launch transition easier, we created a detailed WordPress user guide for the client to reference when working within the site.
In order to produce the best final project and efficiently manage time, we decided to divide the tasks of the project based on our strengths. Because there were two of us in our group, we split into two roles: design and development.
For the situation analysis, we focused on the areas that correlated to these strengths. For example, the designer in the group focused on target audience, creative strategy and brand issues, while the developer of the group focused on SEO and usability. For the logo redesign, creative brief, and branding guide, we similarly divided the responsibilities and collaborated daily. The design pieces were also divided based on strengths, with the stronger designer creating the majority of print materials, while the coder focused on email and social media design.
In order to craft the final website, we both created mockups for three pages of the website. We then chose one to focus on, and the stronger designer finalized tweaks in the desktop and mobile versions. The developer then began coding the WordPress template of the website while the designer moved over content and helped code initial CSS styling.
Favorite Aspect of Project
My favorite aspect of the project was being able to bring together all of our coding knowledge we learned throughout the program into the final website. It is awesome to be able to have such an in depth website that we coded from scratch in our portfolios. It is able to showcase not only our coding skills, but also our design skills, considerations of user experience, and ability to collaborate on a website using version control.
My favorite aspect was the design phase, since that was my main role. I loved thinking of the campaign strategy and designing the documents around that strategy. Illustrator and InDesign are also great fun to work with, so that made the project enjoyable for me.
I learned a great deal about how to manage time while working on a large project such as this. It is easy to over or under quote the amount of time an SEO audit or website build will take. My project partner and I also learned how to utilize each other’s strengths to make a great end product while staying within deadlines.
I have a tough time letting others take control of things. When Blakeley and I knew we were going to be a small team, we decided the best way to keep on top of the campaign would be to divide up the tasks based on our specialties. We still helped each other and gave feedback for everything, but it was both challenging and refreshing to focus on one aspect of the project while the other teammate handled the rest.