Getting a Little Ugly for a Good Cause

In the fall of 2016 a non-profit I support, HomePlate Youth Services, moved into a new more permanent location in Beaverton, Oregon. This was a very important upgrade for HomePlate and allowed them to expand the vital services they provide to youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability in Washington County. With a big move like this non-profits need to raise funds and rally support from the community and supporters.

As the sole graphic designer volunteering on their Marketing Committee a lofty task fell to me. Give this campaign an identity. Make it stand out. By-the-way, we only have a couple weeks to get this off the ground, a minimal printing budget, and we need to raise $50,000 in a month. GO!

Inspired by the brick facade of the house they were moving to, I created the “Brick & Mortar Home 4 HomePlate” and incorporated a brick house thermometer, along with various other digital graphics, email design, appeal letter, an “every brick counts” donation slip, a donor plaque, among other things.

To make the materials stand out from the normal warm blue and lime green brand colors for HomePlate, I decided to try a bright red and gold-ish yellow along with the normal warm blue. I knew it would take some convincing and I was right. The immediate response to the mock-ups was “Can we change the colors to the normal blue and green? This looks too ketchup and mustard”. I kindly pushed back and pointed out that we need to catch the attention of our donors, let them know at first look that this isn’t a normal communication, as well as add some urgency to the cool colors we usually use. I explained that getting a little ugly sometimes can get the kind of immediate attention this campaign needed.

And, as luck would have it, I was right. This campaign generated a great deal of positive response from donors and the community and was an important tool in the $65,000+ that was raised by the campaign deadline. I considered this a win for ketchup and mustard.










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