Building (Internal and External) Communications

For the past six months I've been redesigning, rebranding and revamping internal and external communication and marketing materials for one of the most unique program areas of CCF: The Sponsorship Department. 

The confirmation email that leads sponsors to a Resource Center, a website platform designed specifically for new sponsors to find resources and answers to questions they have.

I say unique for many reasons, but the main one I'm referring to when I tell people about Sponsorship is that our program is a one-to-one relationship with an actual child who goes to school at CCF. We will kick a sponsor out of the program for not communicating with their kid regularly. Sponsors can meet their sponsor kids - in the flesh (no scams here) - in Phnom Penh. The kids build lifelong relationships and friendships with their sponsors and their sponsors families'. I've seen kids during a Skype date with their sponsor families and it's moving, really. It is one of the best programs we run, in my opinion. 

The best part about this project and my daily work at CCF is that I really get the chance to use all my skills on almost every project. For this particular project, I used a few of the following skills: design, photography, video, web design, managerial, strategic development, marketing...Here's a breakdown of some of the work I produced on this project and a few of my thoughts.

 

1. INTERNAL STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
I wasn't given a task to redesign our sponsorship department. As with most NGO's and the inner-workings of departments within them, there are almost always improvements just waiting for someone to take on. I knew I wanted to brand and give an identity to some of the departments of CCF. But in order to rebrand, I realized how much I'd have to dig into the pre-existing internal communications in order to produce marketing materials that made sense for Sponsorship.

I worked closely with the Head of Sponsorship to pinpoint areas of communication which needed improvement, both internally and externally. I set up surveys for existing and new sponsors in order to understand weak and strong points of past communication avenues and how we could improve them for future growth.  We used these weak areas to restructure the internal communications workflow and created a new strategic communication plan. This took many interviews and meetings with key individuals including in-the-field staff and managers. 

Once a new structure was in place, the design materials that were needed became more obvious. 

COMMS PLAN VISUALIZED   Below is an example of the way I used design internally to help everyone visualize the new Sponsorship Communication Plan. This design was used to explain to employees their new roles and timeframes for each task so that there was less confusion when we rolled out the new process. I've deleted and abbreviated most of the information in the graphic below.

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2. BRANDING FOR THE FUTURE
One of my biggest concerns in giving an identity to the Sponsorship department was making sure it was developed in a way that would allow other departments the option of branding so that they would all seamlessly fit together under the existing CCF identity. 

Obviously an in-depth rebranding should be done at CCF with multiple branding elements and goals in mind. We will be redesigning our website and branding later.

There really isn't anything deep about how I did this. I picked a color that works in our current branding guidelines, played with a bunch of hand drawn fonts, drew my own, incorporated parts of the current CCF logo and put it together. The key here was making sure other departments (such as the Volunteer department - coming soon!) could also follow suit with the hand drawn feel. 

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This is one of the iterations of the logo we ended up with. The graphic below is the one I used as the opener to the video, welcoming a new sponsor. I used it in several other spots throughout the identity rebranding. 

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3. SAVE THE PLANET One of the most important complaints/suggestions we got from our survey was to stop wasting money and paper on physical leaflets and packages. Our old system was set up to send a physical folder in the mail, from Cambodia, with a photo of the newly sponsored child, a DVD of our CEO thanking the new sponsor, information about CCF, policies and other important info. Sometimes this packet would arrive 3 months after it was sent and sometimes not at all. One of my biggest tasks was breaking this packet down into a "Digital Sponsorship Package" which we eventually called the Sponsor Resource Center. 

The Sponsorship Resource Center is a place where new sponsors can come to access any and all information regarding sponsorship at CCF. I took the photos, did the design and produced the video. I love this part of my job. Below is a final version of the design:

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4. PRINT MATERIALS 
One of the things we didn't want to lose with the new rollout, was the feel of being in Cambodia while communicating with sponsors around the world. Who doesn't like to get a package from a far away land? So I redesigned a few materials that will stay as part of the physical contact we'll make with sponsors and potential sponsors. 

This is the outside. I will try to post a printed picture soon. It's confusing.

This is the inside. 

Housing for a Community

The organization I work for provides affordable necessities to a small community of people in Cambodia who live near and sometimes on a trash heap in Phnom Penh. One of the things we offer is extremely affordable housing. They have teamed up with World Housing, a non-profit based out of Canada, to build almost 200 homes this year. They asked me to shoot a few houses in the process of being built. 

Images In Infographics

I've been working on this technique where the photojournalist in me slaps the designer in me. As a photographer, I know the power of images but as a designer I neglect images because of how jarring a photo can feel in a graphic design, especially when it comes to infographics.

Designing with images is all or nothing. I used to either let them tell the whole story, simply, or not use them. Throwing a border on a photo or cutting it out as a circle feels cheap, leaving the designer in me feeling cheated.

This is my challenge - use storytelling images in a powerful, not forceful way in conjunction with my designs. Here are a few examples of how I've been trying to make this happen...does my use of images in my designs work for you?

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Apple Exploits Nepali Migrant Workers

I worked on this story for Bloomberg News while I was in Kathmandu last year. The topic needs much more coverage and so much more action. I have heard reports of at least one Nepali corpse coming into the airport per day from Qatar. It's slavery. And it's worldwide. I'm quite clueless when it comes to international law, but it's obvious that some type of international regulation needs to be in place for migrant workers around the world.

I use an iPhone; I'm writing this on one of my two Mac laptops. It's obvious Apple holds their product design to an incredible high standard. That standard should be reflected in their international labor regulations.

Bibek is just one of millions who are abused and enslaved daily so that we can use our iPhones, computers and other gadgets.

Here in Cambodia, It's not just labor that is being sold. It's women, children and it's horrific. When will this become a major issue for governments around the world? When will international standards be implemented?

Here are some ways to help and become aware.

  • http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
  • http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2013/12/world/cambodia-child-sex-trade/index.html
  • http://www.halftheskymovement.org/?gclid=CL7_4oqlnbwCFZRr7Aod4EQAtQ
  • http://www.endslaverynow.com/
  • http://www.iloartworks.org/forced-labour/end-slavery-now/
  • https://www.freetheslaves.net/sslpage.aspx?pid=328

A Few Photos

CCF offers free medical care to the surrounding community. It's incredible, honestly. We have doctors on hand that perform minor surgeries on site. This little monkey had a high fever for two days. The doctor said she'd be just fine.

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This is the CCF bakery, the day a bunch of chef's were graduating. It's a huge warehouse with ovens and classrooms. Smells amazing and the students cook loaves of bread that are given out for FREE to the community every day.

This is the CCF bakery, the day a bunch of chef's were graduating. It's a huge warehouse with ovens and classrooms. Smells amazing and the students cook loaves of bread that are given out for FREE to the community every day.

Found this little guy while teaching some CCF kids a short class on disposable film basics. I had to draw out a canister of film to illustrate what film means. The kids were looking for USB drives to stick the disposable into the camera...insanity.

Found this little guy while teaching some CCF kids a short class on disposable film basics. I had to draw out a canister of film to illustrate what film means. The kids were looking for USB drives to stick the disposable into the camera...insanity.

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Holiday Special

One of my first assignments at Cambodian Children's Fund - the Holiday Campaign. 

once i figured out how our happy holiday concepts would look, i created 4 different styles we'd use for our holiday cards. when you purchase a gift, you're forwarded a card that says thanks.

once i figured out how our happy holiday concepts would look, i created 4 different styles we'd use for our holiday cards. when you purchase a gift, you're forwarded a card that says thanks.

My first few weeks at the new job have been exciting. I shot Tony Hawk when he came to visit his sponsor child of 7 years. I designed a huge banner for a student party and set up a design request form for internal purposes. The holiday campaign came up quick and I suggested a face-lift.

I have nothing but positives to say about my new position and life. I get to produce designs, photos, videos; I have full creative freedom to come up with interesting ideas and campaign concepts; my boss is a designer himself and very laid back while still interested in exploring new creative caveats; but the best part is that I use my communication skills to help kids.

Below is my holiday campaign work. You can view it live for a month here: www.cambodianchildrensfund.org/gifts-that-matter

first, i drafted a few happy holiday concepts, playing with colors and shapes. we didn't want anything too Chirstmas-y, but we still wanted it to feel like a holiday card.

first, i drafted a few happy holiday concepts, playing with colors and shapes. we didn't want anything too Chirstmas-y, but we still wanted it to feel like a holiday card.

for the holiday cards, i used existing images in our database and gave them a new funky tone to go with the retro design. i also shot each product and added the shots to the design to create an realistic element to the gift campaign. 

for the holiday cards, i used existing images in our database and gave them a new funky tone to go with the retro design. i also shot each product and added the shots to the design to create an realistic element to the gift campaign. 

i also designed 11 FB covers for each day we wanted to showcase a new Gift That Matters. 

i also designed 11 FB covers for each day we wanted to showcase a new Gift That Matters. 

here's how the homepage looks on our website (which we will be redesigning soon). i designed a button, a banner image and a few small elements that stick out of the homepage.

here's how the homepage looks on our website (which we will be redesigning soon). i designed a button, a banner image and a few small elements that stick out of the homepage.

here's a detail of the inside page where you can purchase a gift. with images of the actual gift you're buying plus the pictures of the beneficiaries, you really get a good idea of what you're investing in. 

here's a detail of the inside page where you can purchase a gift. with images of the actual gift you're buying plus the pictures of the beneficiaries, you really get a good idea of what you're investing in. 

Book Design and Layout

I've been working with SPRINT Initiative out of Malaysia for the past few months on a Facilitator's Manual. In the beginning, I created a concept-design for a book or manual that would help the facilitator's focus more on teaching. SPRINT has printed the first draft of this 400-page book and I am hoping to attend the next facilitator training in the Philippines so that I can make changes to the manual that will drastically improve the design. Below are the proposed cover, beginning chapter pages and an example of a content page. All of the content is from a previous design.

In order to make this design easier for the facilitator's to understand and use, I created a set of icons that correspond to the different activities that will be used during the training. I also added a time and date indicator to the header of each page to inform the facilitator's of where they are (or should be) in the training.

Cover for SPRINT Facilitator's manual.

Cover for SPRINT Facilitator's manual.

Chapter opening pages

Chapter opening pages

Content example

Content example

Film Southasia Designs

I've been working hard with FSA [filmsouthasia.org] for the past few weeks to get ready for the documentary film festival. We're doing standies, flex prints, schedules, invitations, web stuff...everything design. The best part of this experience has been seeing my designs in very large quantities. The schedule (below) was printed 3,000 thick and the 60-page catalog had 500 copies. It's been fun, hard, and challenging. I will post official designs once everything is printed.

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KTM street art

finished a video for Katie Green yesterday (katiegreenartist.com.) she's an incredible artist, one i am proud to have worked with. i challenged myself to think outside of the box on this video. i wanted something more edgy and a bit less-traditional in the storytelling arena. in the end, i think we came out with somethink Katie likes and i was proud to publish. what do you think?

MyNepalTrip.com

Finished this a while back, but needed to add it to the blog. Here is the front page and below are a couple of details. It's still being coded, but I really enjoyed this job. It went through many drafts and I was told from the first draft that it was too, "French" looking. I listened to my clients and really tried to make it less French. They liked this in the end.

Hotel search results page.

Pretty gold search engine detail.

Fashion: The Buddha Does Not Approve

An artist and costume designer asked me to shoot a few of her in a dress she  made. Sounded kinda exciting. She sent me a zipped file of all her previous dresses and they are quite stunning reflections of nature melded into wearable art. In one shot she looks like a piece of forest with moss on her head. 

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The piece she wanted me to shoot was a dress made entirely of Buddhist prayer flags. At the Monkey Temple in Swoyambhu, we were instantly greeted with dirty looks and a comment from a woman who said, "She can't do that." I started to get a tad bit nervous as we are in a developing country where religion is taken very seriously. I've seen placid situations escalate into mass maiming in a nano second in Kathmandu and I was sure we didn't want to see that.

I told her we should shoot what we can and get out quickly. Seems like this won't fly for too long. So we shot about two scenes and a monk appeared at her side. "No no no no no," was all he snarled at her as he ripped off some of her flags. He was very angry. So I shuttled our human prayer flag into a bathroom and she changed quickly while the masses got riled up behind us on the stupa.

I'm caught in the middle on this one. Because I get it. I really do. And I'm not in love with fashion, ever. But those prayer flags are made in a factory by common men and women with common tools. 

Yet feet are very unholy and truly the dirtiest, at times, in Nepal. Even to point a foot at someone is considered disrespectful. So I understand how blasphemous walking on flags that signify prayers to god sounds.

It was an interesting experience either way.  

The Rise of RS MOTO

So, my husband builds bikes. He takes old machines and breathes life into them. It's not usual for KTM. I'd say he's one of the only people doing it in town, really doing it. He's on his third bike with 3 more orders on the way. We're hoping he can continue this work in Sri Lanka were we've found an abundance of classic bikes and cars.

These are a few of my favorite images from our recent photo shoot. You can see most of the take here on my [Facebook Page.]

Stay tuned, RS MOTO is on it's way up. Video and more coverage to come soon.