This spring, National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) joined our client roster, coming to us in need of some heavy-hitting digital media strategy and design expertise. Their goals: 1) to create a distinct social identity that elevated the museum’s brand across platforms; and 2) to redefine the ways they engage and mobilize their 500k-member audience around their mission and drive followers to their website.
In order to bring forward their brand mission and content, our first recommendation was to develop a new visual identity system— one that is distinct, recognizable, and compliments the existing NWHM brand. However, we also wanted this system to be flexible, and more reflective of the Museum’s millennial audience. In order to design an effective system, we did an extensive audit of their current content breakdown, their audience, and their overall goals.
The NWHM team works diligently to turn over daily historical content across platforms, alongside contemporary news items and ongoing campaign promotion. Building this calendar each month is quite the task—from selecting the women’s stories to highlight, to doing exhaustive research and crafting those narratives. This left very little extra time to work with other aspects of the museum’s mission, including seasonal programming and ongoing fundraising efforts.
Who They’re Talking To & Why
Their audience across platforms lies most heavily in the 20-35 set, and is further broken down into different social sets—educators and students, and young progressive women looking to galvanize around a cause. Overall, NWHM’s audience is over 90% women.
Fundraising plays a crucial role in how NWHM, which is currently only a virtual museum, runs its programming—including educators and students making use of their extensive library of biographies, sharing their articles, and donating to their cause. The Museum needed a strategy that engaged followers to actually click through and spend more time on their website, to demonstrate both a public need for their resources and, eventually, a need for physical space to house them.
Where We Come In
They needed our strategic eye to mold their content strategy into a larger narrative about what women’s contributions really look like, and how women have shaped history in all kinds of fields. While the history itself needed to be their main focus, it was also crucial to frame this content within the lens of a public need— that women’s history is often overlooked, but women make up over half of the American population. NWHM needed to create more opportunities to tap into that need, and galvanize their audience to support their mission to build the first-ever National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.
With this understanding, we designed a new identity system to accommodate those needs, and give them a distinctive, ownable presence on social media. The result? A mix of fresh brand elements and a flexible typographic treatment that seamlessly blends the historic with the contemporary. Check it all out below!
Primary & Secondary Brand Elements
These items serve as base elements for use on all channels and work to visually identify National Women’s History Museum content. We built a set of secondary help to pull all photography and related imagery (modern or historic) under the NWHM umbrella through a unified system of shape and form.
Flexible Typographic System
With a wide variety of subjects and applications across multiple social channels, it was crucial to build from a flexible and extensible typographic base. With the typeface GT America by Grilli Type, we have the flexibility to create a range of visual weights, ranging from bold and loud, to delicate and tasteful.
How It All Comes Together
We’ve rolled out this set of visual branding elements along with our content strategy—maintain a high volume of historical content, incorporate much more content around the museum’s ongoing programming, and build a stronger voice around their overall mission to actually build a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
— NWHM (@womenshistory) May 9, 2018
Today is #InternationalMuseumDay, a day that reminds us how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve yet to go. To this day, we still do not have a national building to house the stories of all women’s contributions to American History. Will you help us build it? https://t.co/NSUe2ZJg3R pic.twitter.com/qv9PqqeAVx
— NWHM (@womenshistory) May 18, 2018