Campaign Bootcamp

Role: Designer, developer, and good friend of the charity

Context & challenge

Brilliantly summed up by an article by the Omidyar Network:

Democratic participation in the UK is dominated by privileged communities, which matters because the majority of injustices and inequalities occur against those who are already marginalized. If the diversity of society is not reflected among the people who have the opportunity and skills to engage with campaigns and decision making, then you can draw a fairly plausible conclusion that policies and decisions are the weaker for it.

Campaign Bootcamp is a pioneering charity that empowers early-stage campaigners by supporting them to develop the skills, confidence, and resilience to run effective campaigns that challenge injustice.

They do this by running “bootcamps”. These are essentially weeklong workshops, where participants learn how to build and run campaigns that matter to them.

Back in 2017, Campaign Bootcamp approached me to help them do one simple thing; build them a website to make it easier for people to sign up for their bootcamps, and raise the profile of the organisation to attract funding.

What i did

Charities never have ideal budgets for projects, especially those in their infancy. If you combine that with the ease in which websites can be built, most designer-charity relationships follow a typical plan; have an introductory chat, draw up a sitemap and jump straight into coding the website. ie, much of the effort is placed on creating an output, not an outcome.

Understanding this pattern and wanting to make their budget to go as far as possible, I started off by holding a series of workshops with the team to get a good understanding of the charity, what they offer and the needs of their users.

Users and needs

Potential users of the website were broken down into the following;

  1. Grass roots campaigners who want to learn how build campaigns; they want to see what a bootcamp will help them do, when the next one is and how they can apply.
  2. People who are funding participants attending the bootcamps (ie. companies, organisations and trusts); they want to feel confident that this charity is professional, creates successful outcomes and provides a value for money service.
  3. Curious people already working within the campaigning space; they want to see who’s running the charity, who’s graduated and what they’ve achieved since, and any resources they’re sharing back into the community.
  4. Staff members of large funding organisations, researching Campaign Bootcamp itself; they want to see a charity with a proven track record for creating success, a determined future mission and maturity to continue performing independently.

Identifying and understanding this audience, meant we had a stable foundation to start our design phase; everything we did had to help these people.

Bootstrapped branding

The first thing to tackle was to produce a simple identity for the charity, that moved them away from the military bootcamp cliché of the previous logo and into a confident space of their own.

A early series of logo designs and colour schemes, playing on ideas of movement and momentum

Whilst early logo concepts helped to elevate the professionalism of the charity, they failed to capture the spirit of it.  Taking a different approach, we started using direction and texture to help bring some personality into the logos.

After several iterations and adapting various handwriting based typefaces we landed on a logo design that felt both appropriate and striking. It had the right level of movement, attitude and simplicity. Importantly, it didn’t lean on any “bootcamp” metaphors.

Website design

To balance the style of the logo, we decided on a clean, modern and minimal user interface. Something that would feel familiar to users but also had a production quality that wouldn’t often be found in this sector. This was important to give a sense of establishment and professionalism to the charity.

The various sections of the homepage, catering for the different user groups

The homepage summarised various areas of the charity; from giving an overview of in-person training, through to advertising the latest opportunities and from free campaigning resources they’d created to the latest successes from their blog.

The training and resources pages

Training and resources pages give users an overview on what they can book onto and also knowledge they can access right away.

The blog and stories pages

One of the most important areas we identified were the blog and stories pages. Whilst the blog gave users and overview on the the charities hard work, the Stories section focussed on the successes that individual campaigners had experienced since taking part in one of the bootcamps. Both helped build a narrative around the charities activities, encouraging people to be a part of unfolding success.

Impact

By summer 2019, two years after the new branding and website had been launched, the charity had successfully won support and funding from both the Omidyar Network and the Obama Foundation. Whilst these amazing achievements weren’t the sole responsibility of the design work, it had laid the right foundations for them to achieve their goals online and be noticed, and taken seriously whilst doing so.

I continue to work with Campaign Bootcamp to this day; running workshops with the team and helping them tweak and iterate various aspects of the website.