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By plaidtractor

On 23, Jan 2018 | In | By plaidtractor

Grantmakers in the Arts: Website Redesign for a National Leader in Arts Philanthropy

Click here for draggable samples of desktop, tablet, and mobile layouts.

“In designing our website, Bob first made sure to understand the work of our organization and our mission. That understanding laid the groundwork for a productive, positive experience and outcome. Additionally, he listened to our feedback, explained the opportunities and limitations and was extremely responsive. GIA is very pleased with our new website and in the work of Plaid Tractor”
– Janet Brown, President & CEO, Grantmakers in the Arts.

CREDITS: Creative Direction, Web Design, UI Design, Typography by Plaid Tractor, Development by Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA).


1. A path to success

Plaid Tractor responded to GIA’s RFP, winning the bid by demonstrating a full-spectrum understanding of GIA’s needs, and articulating how our process would meet each one. Showing them a path to success was the core strategy. A dose of genuine interest and enthusiasm didn’t hurt!

2. Discovery: knowledge as a catalyst

A discovery phase revealed additional needs relating to their newly acquired brand identity, and details concerning the site’s functional, technical, and design requirements. We built a complete needs hierarchy, which would allow visual design solutions to be more reflective, sooner.

3. Realization

For the design phase, a straightforward approach: drawing from discovery insights, work to achieve the right visual tone and usability for the landing page, then allow that outcome to inform the remainder of the site’s design.

For their users and members, GIA sought to combine a broad sampling of content up front along with improved access to the site’s powerful search features. The site would also serve as a portal for the org’s extensive, decades-long collection of valuable content and information. Since GIA sought a text-heavy site, intuitive ease of use and readability became a top priority.

How was landing page usability addressed given the demand for a wide sampling of content?
We carefully established clean, sharp, hierarchal layout and typography for intuitive navigation and readability, and tactics such as grouping funding categories by color.
Why does the live website differ in some ways?
GIA is working to configure their Drupal development framework to the recommended final design spec.
How was the new logo and GIA brand served through the design?
A flexible color palette was designed for the site to visually extend GIA’s new identity (and refer back to it). A combination of type, imagery, layout was used to reflect GIA’s stature, and align with GIA’s reputation as a premier, open resource to arts Grantmaking.

Formerly based in Seattle, GIA is tireless in its pursuit of meaningful, equitable philanthropy guidance for the arts nationally, and are the original pioneers of the field, credited for inventing Grantmaking (in name and in practice). We hope this valuable asset will serve them for years to come.

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