Marker Seven Delivers a Fresh Look to Champions of Fresh Water
The Human Needs Project (HNP) builds “infrastructure for opportunity” in some of the most impoverished places in the world.
Founded by actress Connie Nielsen and green builder David Warner, HNP is an international non-profit that develops community infrastructures, called ‘Town Centers,” in poverty-stricken areas of the world. These Town Centers provide both basic services - such as fresh water, toilets and showers - and empowerment services through education, micro-lending, and internet access.
As their pilot center in Kibera, Kenya was nearing completion, HNP reached out to John Clauss, CEO of Marker Seven, who volunteered its services to design and build a new website. “We needed the platform and tools, like a blog and social integration, to help us share our successes and reach new supporters,” says Megan Warner, HNP’s website project lead. “This was especially important as we planned to ramp up press and promotion when the Kibera site broke ground.”
After Marker Seven’s first meeting with the HNP team, however, it became clear that there was a lot of work to be done, first. “HNP’s existing logo concept was overused and did not reflect all of the work that they do,” says Clauss. “They needed to reimagine their entire visual identity.”
Revealing the Vision
HNP’s ‘globe in a droplet’ logo concept was being used by at least five other non-profits which diluted its brand distinction. Furthermore, while providing clean water is an important aspect of what HNP offers, it’s only one of many benefits a Town Center provides.
Marker Seven wanted to create a logo that reflected HNP’s complete vision so it began by working with them to express HNP’s organizational persona in four, descriptive key terms: Accessible, Reproducible, Interconnected, Centric. Inspired by the shape of the Town Centers themselves, the new logo consists of 4 interconnected rectangles representing each term and conveying all four themes in an easy-to-reproduce illustration.
“We didn’t want HNP to look like everyone else,” says Scott Abbott, Creative Director at Marker Seven. “The final result is both meaningful and functional. The logo can be easily stenciled out of cardboard and marked on tools and equipment at the construction sites. We made it bright blue to honor the original clean water concept because without clean water, all the rest becomes impossible.”
Building a Website for Opportunity
Once a visual identity was established, work began on the website. Marker Seven helped HNP identify their target audience and develop a content strategy. Marker Seven also worked with Marco North of the Bittersweet Group to produce an awareness video for the site, and video remains an important aspect of the site’s content.
Functionally, the site addresses three primary organizational goals: report, educate, and recruit. Photo Old Logo New Logo Galleries, media kits, blogs – both video and text, FAQs, and passionate in-page content serves to educate visitors about the great need HNP seeks to address and convey progress to the press and current contributors. Social media hooks and financial calls to action allow HNP to expand their impact.
The new site’s visual design uses vivid, monochrome images and simple, bold text to convey the organization’s vision. “We wanted to reveal the problem HNP is trying to address in an optimistic, positive light,” says Abbott. “The minimalist color palette of the framework allows the large, bold pictures to tell the story. The site exudes enthusiasm and hope.”
Making a Difference
Since www.humanneedsproject.org launched, HNP has completed its pilot Town Center and is gathering sponsors and resources to expand into other, impoverished areas. The website plays a key role in the organization’s public communication. “We are very grateful to Marker Seven for donating so much of their time and talent,” says Megan Warner. “The new site gives us many more tools for reaching our critical audiences. We could not have produced such an effective, professional site without them.” HNP can also add “award winning” to that list.
Early this year, www.humanneedsproject.org received the Best in Class award – the organization’s highest honor - in the Nonprofit category from Interactive Media Awards. This was quickly followed by the receipt of the 2014 Communicator Awards Award of Distinction in the category of Charitable Organizations/Non-Profit, and the Award of Excellence – also the organization’s highest recognition – in the category of Social Responsibility.
“We are very happy the site is receiving recognition for how well it communicates HNP’s vision,” says John Clauss. “We saw that the work they do is amazing – we wanted to be sure the rest of the world saw it, too. This project was exceptionally satisfying.” So satisfying, in fact, that John continues to work regularly with HNP as a Key Advisor and advocate.