Our fourth-annual Design Blitz event started with coffee, a smorgasbord of bagels, and lots of excitement—and 24 hours later, the scene looked much the same (plus a few bloodshot eyes and familiar outfits).
LPK’s two teams worked morning, noon and night to tackle the challenges of Greater Cincinnati nonprofit organizations Women Helping Women (WHW), a resource for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH), the leader in affordable housing and community programs for Cincinnati’s urban epicenter.
The overnight event concluded with a reveal at LPK’s Brand Innovation Center, where Chief Creative Officer, Nathan Hendricks, thanked the organizations for joining LPK on a wild, 24-hour ride: “This event teams up worthy organizations and talented minds to solve big brand problems. What this format does, I hope, is introduce new methodologies for dealing with time scarcity and limited resources.”
WHW came to LPK with a big problem: they’re a team of women and men, helping women and men. The organization was in need of a clarified positioning statement, promoting inclusivity and diversity, and an amplified story—the foundations that convey its role in the community.
The team’s work included insights immersion, communication strategy and narrative development, giving way to a strong and simplified design system, rooted in themes of strength and serenity. “We approached the work through our desires thinking lens, and were inspired by the tension between power and tranquility,” says Meredith Post, design director at LPK. “That duality felt true to the organization and the survivors it serves, and it steered our design.”
For OTRCH, an organization that’s been on the frontlines of economic, racial and socially inclusive neighborhood initiatives for decades, awareness has been a barrier. “We’ve been around since 1978, but some people don’t know who we are and what we do,” explains Mary Burke Rivers, the organization’s executive director.
After a walking tour of the neighborhood and interviews with key stakeholders, the LPK team hit the ground running, developing a creative strategy to educate the community and evolve OTRCH’s brand. Though the nonprofit does many things in the community, the team believed a stronger focus on housing was critical. Inspired by the notion of “housing first, community always,” the team developed a robust identity system, designed to work across diverse touchpoints. “OTRCH works with diverse stakeholders, from government partnerships to one-on-one connections with residents,” says LPK senior designer Nikole Barkalow. “We made our expression toolkit flexible and scalable to meet those many needs.”
WHW and OTRCH will take the work back to their stakeholders for evaluation and refinement, then premier their refreshed brands publicly. “This experience was incredible and beyond words,” says Kristin Shrimplin, WHW’s president and CEO. “We’re walking out today with a new brand that’s right on the mark.”