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City on a Hill is a faith-based nonprofit

that works to restore hope, reduce poverty, strengthen families and foster racial reconciliation in the Milwaukee community. They achieve this through youth programming, training events, health services and mission trips.

Overview

City on a Hill (COAH) is a faith-based nonprofit that works to restore hope, reduce poverty, strengthen families and foster racial reconciliation in the Milwaukee community. They achieve this through youth programming, training events, health services and mission trips.

A strong component of COAH's programming is mission trips from churches across the state into Milwaukee to help with basic services like food kitchens, clothing distribution and the like. COAH's website needs to convey the experience and the value these missions bring a congregation.

Process

COAH needed a modern, friendly website design that expressed the meaning behind their brand and words. They needed a site that would connect to the different audiences with an intuitive navigation and a cohesive design system across a variety of screen sizes. 

We helped COAH see the value of communicating the needs through bite-sized statistics and facts. Not only do they give the facts in a clear, easy to understand way, they give the sources for each of the facts that helps people trust the information.

COAH had a logo, but not enough brand to build an entire site design system, so we helped backfill the brand by creating site elements that have a more tangible feel. The navigation itself comes from a distillation of the buildings in their logo, and the footer somewhat matches this style, but adds a faith-based element that's a defining factor of the organization.

top blue navigation

We also found ways to let their words stand out. We made website pages stronger on their own but having context navigations to help people understand the context of the page and goal-based to show people how they can get involved. Creating enough site typographic styles as part of the design system is necessary as different words and paragraphs can convey different meanings.

While this might not be common for web development firms, it's important to us that websites don't all look the same. But we never set out to do this, that's more a byproduct than a goal. Websites that look the same mean the designer missed the meaning behind the organization, or they were stymied by some off-the-shelf theme's inability to push beyond its parameters. We don't build sites with themes -- we study the audience and their needs, and this influences the design, and the design is hand-coded every time. So when a visitor comes to COAH's website, they see something fully unique to COAH which gives them brand distinction that helps them connect and show their leadership. 

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