Design for Democracy: Brand Toolkits

How Digital Toolkits Mobilize Social Communities

It all started with a guy named Pete (you may have heard of him). When we’d wrapped our branding for his Presidential campaign, and and it was time to build guidelines so Pete’s team could give the brand wings, we decided to take a bit of a left turn. What if, instead of meticulously documenting the brand—all its applications, lock-ups, do’s and don’ts—and packaging it into a confidential file, we made that documentation not only public, but interactive? What if “for internal use only” became “for external use, always”?

And thus, the design toolkit was born. (Read more in AIGA’s Eye on Design.) The campaign toolkit allowed folks from every state to show their pride and for coalitions—from atheists to veterans—to demonstrate that Pete represented their diverse values.

It was a hit: graphics were downloaded over 115,000 times (including 17,000 on launch day alone). The campaign visuals transcended both digital and physical spaces, from social media tiles to garage murals. Explore the toolkit!

Since the Pete for America campaign’s success, which turned a virtual unknown into a household name, our design toolkit has become a versatile solution for a range of initiatives.

The beauty of the toolkit is that it empowers people who may not have the tools or time to design their own materials, elevating the voice and values of each individual while building brand equity by aligning the look and feel of the initiative they support.

Presidential campaigns have a tendency to usher in new digital trends that make their way into the broader world of digital advocacy. Read on to see how our custom-built design toolkits have turned audiences into ambassadors.

Let’s talk about your options

Vote Early Day is a new cultural holiday that brings together Americans from across the political spectrum to learn how different voting options can work for them (learn more about our branding strategy). The initiative launched in March, 2020 with about sixty partners across leading media companies, consumer brands, and nonprofits—a lineup that’s since exploded to over five hundred! Thanks to the VED toolkit, supporters on both the individual and institutional level can customize graphics that rep Vote Early Day. Each download can be formatted for Twitter, as well as Instagram’s grid and Stories. Whether you’re stoked to advocate for your state, your company, or your community, you can access tiles, photography, and fonts to join the cause in full VED style.

Helping teachers tell their story

As part of our rebrand for pioneering crowdfunding platform DonorsChoose, our mission was to recenter the heart of the brand: its teachers. In light of perpetual budget shortfalls in classrooms nationwide, for the past 20 years DonorsChoose has helped educators in schools across America to tap into their communities as a funding source.

Understanding that teachers are already passionate, strapped for time, and going the extra mile for their students, the Design Playground” toolkit supports teachers on that final, critical step in creating a fundraising campaign on DonorsChoose: sharing their story. Equipping teachers with the ability to advertise their projects using the sleek, energetic DonorsChoose brand underpins the legitimacy of teachers’ efforts and helps build community around the DonorsChoose experience for both educators and their supporters. Fun fact: our rebrand and design playground was named a winning design by Shorty Awards and RGD Social Good Awards.

People-powered polls

Power the Polls has been all over the press lately, from NPR and the Wall Street Journal, to ABC and Marie Claire. Major brands like Target and Old Navy are signing on to pay employees to serve as poll workers. How has such a frankly mundane topic become the trending story across mainstream media? We like to think our Power the Polls toolkit has been helping to fuel the fire.

The strength of Power the Polls lays in its decentralized approach: both corporate partners and individual advocates can be part of the conversation, taking on the mantel of voting access and spreading the message to their audience, no matter how larger or small that audience is. Thanks to our short-and-sweet toolkit, it’s a frictionless process to get a sleek, eye-catching social tile that shares Power the Polls in less than thirty seconds. And so far, Power the Polls has smashed its engagement goals: after setting out to recruit 250,000 poll workers, more than 450,000 have signed up. Can we get PTP to half a million? May we suggest using our toolkit to spread the word?

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Hyperakt crafts transformative brands and digital storytelling experiences for clear-eyed champions of social justice and creativity.