On 23, Jan 2018 | In Web Design | By plaidtractor
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.
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.
To further GEaR’s fundraising and promotional efforts, a plan to develop a more functional, portable logo was hatched. Their impressive capability and their mission’s remarkable backstory become fertile territory to bring meaning to the mark.
GEaR is made up of highly skilled and experienced mountaineers, a multidisciplinary team who’s talent spans search and recovery, logistics, geophysics, medical mountain rescue, and expedition medicine.
Their ongoing mission is to locate, recover, and repatriate 3 heroic American aviators buried in glacier ice in Greenland since WWII. Their Grumman Duck amphibious airplane became lost in a storm during a (2nd) daring attempt to rescue the crew of a downed B-17 using an audacious, untested ice landing technique. Previous missions have brought them to the very edge of confirming the location of the wreckage.
A logo reboot:
GEaR strongly identified with the raven for its ability to innovate, adapt, and navigate. The direction of the design immediately moved to providing a strong metaphor to represent the action and readiness of the team, flight operations and logistics, and deploying the full compliment of their capabilities to realize a successful recovery. The subtle typographic symbolism of a dog-tag buried in layered terrain is an homage to their still active mission to recover pilot Lt. John Pritchard, radioman Benjamin Bottoms, and U.S. Army Air Corps Cpl. Loren Howarth.
On 07, Jul 2015 | In Logo / Identity | By plaidtractor
A re-invisioned brand for a 92 year old company
As the only woman-owned, independent distributor on the east coast, T&H continues to be a trail-blazing leader in electrical equipment, data, and automation. For these reasons, T&H is a fairly exceptional, family owned company (25th in the nation) that prides itself on its most enduring and valuable assets: customer dedication, reliability, and being a technical and logistical innovator.
Skeptical Scientist & Finding Bigfoot cast member Ranae Holland approached Plaid Tractor to develop a beautiful, engaging web presence to further her mission: inspire people of all ages to see wild places differently by reading easy to spot signals of the environment.
We delivered a rich, full screen, responsive interface featuring touchscreen/rollover magnifiers that reveal hidden features of the forest. A warm up to future webinars designed to inspire future conservationists to read the language of the natural world
Due for launch soon, the site will be a portal into Ranae’s world and feature new adventures and educational videos.
Plaid Tractor provided design, copy writing, art direction, production, development oversight, and photography.
On 02, Nov 2015 | In Print Design | By plaidtractor
Plaid Tractor was approached to solve a tricky problem: bring a bold, unique look to a simple packaging scheme with a limited visual footprint. We responded by working closely with Paradise Springs Farm (an elite, Biodynamic dairy operation) to determine an optimal package assembly approach to determine the visual space we had to work with. Concurrently Plaid Tractor conducted market research to ensure their brand and design direction would make a distinctive statement. From there we went to work to best communicate the farm’s unparalleled commitment to quality and stark individuality. The resulting visual system delivered brand cohesion to the farm’s milk, whey, and cheese offerings, and has inspired a vigorous, loyal following throughout the Teton Valley.
Designing for a fellow designer presents a special challenge. KittenChop’s unique style and energy is part of her story, so it was important to collaborate closely to find the “sweet spot” that reflected her best. Using her work almost entirely ensured that a strong sense of ownership in the process was constant. The result is a site that’s as unique as her work, but without standing in the way of accessibility.
PT provided project management, design, development, and a wee bit of animation.
challenge: Maintain the parent company’s name (Turtle & Hughes), apply fresh meaning to create a truly original brand signature
result: A mark that serves as an extension of the parent but with distinction, and symbolizes the advantages of energy independence, longevity, and durability. Valuable collaborations with Kittenchops illustration eventually led to the final turtle rendering.
Renewable energy startup PHOS (derived from Greek, meaning light) required a distinctive brand mark and an interim website that would best represent their high level of industry competence and credibility.
The encased sun is a reference to the group’s commitment to engineering solutions that capture as much of the sun’s energy as possible for their customers.
For an authentic feel P.T. leveraged custom letterforms by the artist to construct the look. An uppercase ‘D’ serves as a subtle background and stand-in for the lowercase ‘d’. The logo evokes her distinct style and signified her variable range.
The result of this effort was a more confident and distinctive look for PSG, a premier NW cancer fighting specialist. Two essential lines of emphasis were pursued: targeting cancer, signified through the lone, blue-embodied “G”, and the double meaning life preserver and targeting crosshairs, both symbols of their expertise in cancer fighting disciplines.
The typographic tone is slightly modern while retaining a friendly and approachable feel. The overall look was designed to exude a distinct level of competence, experience, and credibility.
This logo design successfully satisfied 3 main criteria for this independent title designer: exude a modern but timeless look, show relation to the sequence of film production (represented by the cell), and represent the relevance of post production title design for film, a critical finishing touch in the process.
challenge: Show a small scale feel and symbolize the purest mixture of ingredients to describe this local grower’s approach to organic farming and raw dairy output.
result: A pure feel coupled with a rich product has lead to a fiercely dedicated following by local consumers.
A branded system designed to allow the client to tailor their message according to the type of customer a sales rep would be meeting with. A significant asset to demonstrate a narrowed focus and understanding of a customer’s needs, in addition to making it easier for a customer to fully comprehend the full scope of benefits regarding renewable energy system installation.
A true original. Designed as an interactive and functional take-away that reinforces patient satisfaction.
The reminder card uses its appointment dates to deliver a consistently complimentary fortune on the back side, leaving patients feeling positive about themselves and the overall experience.
The challenge here was to design a multi-use architecture firm announcement sleeve that blended elegance, confidence, and technical sophistication using just one color and a blind emboss. The result: a versatile, multi-purpose sleeve that expresses a dedication to quality and high design standards.