Introducing Anna Zigmond As Our Marketing + Impact Coordinator!

Anna is joining us after graduating from Indiana University where she studied journalism and business. Her interest in design and socially conscious companies drew her to our team and the L.A. community.

What is your favorite social cause?

A: In high school, I was disheartened with the constant negativity coming from my peers regarding self-esteem and body image. I started a club to educate and empower young girls to fully accept themselves, which quickly led to several initiatives throughout my school. This personal experience fueled my passion in supporting causes that empower our youth, especially girls, by tackling bullying and self-esteem issues. Shout out to Step Up and Kind Campaign for all they’ve done and continue doing for young girls! #GirlPower

What are you most excited about for your new role at verynice?

A: My passion for service pushed me to work for and with companies actively pursuing opportunities to give back. I am thrilled to be working at a company that values a methodology focused on collaboration and sustainable solutions through design. I’m looking forward to continue sharing our work with the world, and ultimately help more people.

What interests do you have outside of your career?

A: I grew up as a ballet and modern dancer, so you can always find me dancing! Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family, playing ukulele or exploring my new city, Los Angeles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

$10,000,000.00!

In 2008, verynice was established with a bold aspiration: to, one day, become known as the most generous design firm in the world. We're excited to let you know that our original model is evolving in an exciting way in order to allow us to accelerate our impact, and ultimately provide our services and resources to even more people. Now, our firm and leadership is not only providing traditional pro bono services, but also sliding scale fees, board service, pay-what-you-want, pro-bono marathons, open source services, traditional volunteer service, and more! As of last week, our mission has reached a new milestone. We have officially provided access to $10,000,000 worth of free and discounted resources and services to thousands of organizations and practitioners from 150+ countries!

Looking forward, we are excited to continue pushing ourselves to find new ways to help as many people as possible. Thanks so much to all who have supported us over the years. Updates to reflect this on our website, and more announcements about what to expect as we start to approach our 10 year anniversary, coming soon.

Looking for design or strategy services? Working with us directly supports our mission to help others. 

5 Tips for Improving Your Annual Report

Balancing the primary requirements of an annual report with the marketing needs of diverse stakeholders requires a keen sense of objectivity, transparency, and narrative. Outlined in this article are 5 tips for improving your annual report planning, execution, and distribution.

Leverage Your Brand

Who are you? Consider that many people looking at your annual report are new to your organization. They may have some understanding of what you do, they may understand how you do it, but it is the function of a brand to ultimately articulate why you do it. This goes a lot further than having a logo, or visual consistency. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small nonprofit organization, having control of your voice across the way you communicate data, stories, and develop marketing collateral can give your audience a sense of who you are and why they should support you.

Example: The Downtown Women’s Center 2014 Annual Report

The Downtown Women’s Center had just rebranded their organization and although they had a toolkit with a new logo, colors, some fonts, and photography, the annual report we designed for them for 2014 expanded on how those elements could really come together and come to life. This report leveraged the opportunity to showcase the new brand and potentially get new people interested. Bold color blocks, a strong grid, and full bleed photos of real DWC beneficiaries created a vivid report, gave insight into the the organization’s impact, and established a system for the brand that could be recognized over time to cultivate the trust necessary for donors and advocates to participate.

What Do You Need to Communicate?

By thinking strategically, you will uncover the best tactics for writing, organizing, and showcasing your content. Not only will this help you understand how to leverage your current resources, but also consider the tone of voice, and graphical style for the report. Particularly when it comes to solving communications challenges such as confusion in the market about what you do. For some organizations this means taking a moment to collect stories from stakeholders and telling them in a succinct way that shows relatable context for your reader.

Practice Using Data for Storytelling

Data doesn’t have to be boring, and using a narrative to digest data is a more interesting and entertaining way to get through large sets of numbers. Consider ways that you can create a story with numbers. Consider adding context to your numbers by framing numbers in terms of time or place, personalizing or localizing numbers, or making direct comparisons with things that are more familiar to the audience. You can also try throwing in a bit of irony to highlight any misplaced societal values. These can include how we spend more on products with little impact than we do on solving big societal issues.

Example: The Downtown Women’s Action Coalition 2016 Needs Assessment Report

For the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition we had the pleasure of joining volunteers to take surveys of Skid Row’s female homeless community before designing the Needs Assessment reports. This experience highlighted the importance of humanizing the data to tell the story of these women. For this report we created custom illustrations for as much of the data as possible. These illustrations allowed the readers to not just see the numbers, but understand the tone and significance of the insights through the lense of the real people affected. Visual symbols and illustrations are evocative, they able to convey a message or feeling without words and therefore communicate quickly and to people that speak different languages or think differently. Replacing complex language with a more universal one will allow your data to reach and be understood by more people.

Understand Different Types of Infographics

Infographics became all the rage when social media proved to be a viable communications channel for visually displaying data. But did you know that infographics range from graphical approaches that span academic/scientific, to marketing, to editorial? Each of these purposes calls for a different approach to helping the content appeal to the audience, comprehend the information, and ultimately retain it in order to recall when necessary. Some designers such as Yale Professor Edward Tufte have gone as far as coining the term “chart junk” for graphical elements that do not have quantitative value. When working with a designer, it is key to be able to 1. Pick the best data that helps tell a story, and 2. Identify the best type of infographic for your primary audience.

How Will You Get the Word Out?

While content is at the core of the exercise, having an understanding of how you will distribute the report will not only help you allocate your resources accordingly, but also inform your designer as to what opportunities and constraints they must work with. In many cases this means knowing whether this annual report must live in a kiosk within the lobby of a high traffic area, or whether it makes sense to draw chunks of information from this report for long term distribution on social media platforms like instagram. Some organizations can go as far as creating interactive digital content in order to showcase their impact. These are a few examples of the way design can help the document be most effective and potentially serve as a multi-format piece.

Example: The Downtown Women’s Center 2015 Annual Report

Much of DWC’s donor audience communicates through the mail. To connect to this audience, be flexible to new audiences, and maximize a smaller annual report budget, we created a more consolidated annual report for 2015. This challenge resulted in a design that showcased the experience at the Downtown Women’s Center--a welcoming brochure that unfolds to reveal relevant information, guided by beautiful photography of real DWC women and staff. The content was broken down into a few simple categories to fit the flow of each panel. This grided, panel design not only allowed the brochure to bend and fold down to a mail-friendly size, but also allowed the information to be easily broken down into sections that can be shared individually and digitally for a different audience.

Overall, we recommend working with a professional that will help guide you and your team’s effort so that your story can be most effective within the hearts and minds of key stakeholders. The ultimate goal of every business leader is to inspire confidence and showcase the clarity and effectiveness of their strategy. This ability to show the inner workings of an organization not only serves as evidence of hard work, but also has the ability to prove to supporters that the organization is transparent and has the honesty to showcase their results, and yes, challenges, in an appealing way.

Celebrating Impact Holidays in June with Desktop Wallpaper

 

Wow! Can you believe we're already halfway through 2017? We'll be featuring the artwork from one of verynice's volunteers each month. The prompt was to pick a holiday(s) that inspire us to give back. This month we feature the work of Alisa Olinova. Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us.

Volunteer Spotlight
Alisa Olinova

Did you know that June is National Adopt a Cat Month? There are 3.4 million new cats in shelters every year, but only about a third of them get adopted. Cats are adorable, hilarious, low-maintenance roommates that can lower your stress, provide companionship, and help you invent new memes!

Click here to download

verynice_17desktop_June_AO.jpg

Why I give back

My family immigrated to the United States when I was a baby. My parents’ journey inspires me to push myself to be someone that they will be proud of, that I will be proud of. There’s a lot of different ways to define it, but for me, success is the privilege to be able to help others be successful. What compels me to give back is actually a selfish need to achieve and be fulfilled, to prove that I am successful. It’s not a requirement that I am able to give back through my work, it’s really an honor that in my current position at verynice, I get to fulfill this need while doing what I think I do best. Working with passionate, deserving, and inspiring clients, I get to use art and design to get more donations, increase awareness, and communicate their missions to more people. What a great feeling! I think we can all be more selfish and show the world what we can do as individuals to make the lives of others and the environment better. ;)

Visual Design Internship Positions Available

We are hiring a visual design intern to join our team this summer! To apply, please send your cover letter, design portfolio and resume to info@verynice.co with the position you are interested in indicated in the subject line.

Position Description:

The Design Internship is a production-oriented position that supports our creative team in the visual design process for various client projects. The Design Intern will split their efforts between our for-profit and non-profit clientele. This is a flexible 16 - 32 hour per week position, and is housed in our downtown Los Angeles office in the Arts District area, requiring 2-4 full days in-house. Hours are Tuesday - Friday, 9am to 6pm. This is a 3 month position available for current students in their junior or senior year of undergraduate studies. Compensation options include a paid stipend or course credit.

Deadline to apply is Sunday, June 11, 2017 before Midnight PST.

Position Requirements: 
Pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Design, Visual Communications, Fine Arts, or a related field. Strong verbal and visual communication skills. Interest or basic experience with socially-oriented design. Entrepreneurial spirit and attention to detail. Ability to handles multiple projects and deadlines at once. Must have own computer (preferably Mac) and Adobe Creative Suite. 

To apply, please send your cover letter, design portfolio and resume to info@verynice.co with the position you are interested in indicated in the subject line.

Women's Design Salon Recap

We're reflecting on our first installment of the verynice Women's Design Salon: Inspiring Action. In March, I had the pleasure of moderating this event with my co-host, Clarisa. We had our panel of experts discuss their experiences in the world of design and impact and then guests broke out into groups to get to know each other, talk about how the social climate effects us in the workplace, and how it affects our personal lives. 

Download this wallpaper for your desktop, and for your phone

Thoughts from our Visual Recap Designer, Olivia Sy: Throughout both the panel and breakout group discussions, many mentioned the desire to uplift women creatives during these politically hectic times. As women of diverse experiences, I find it critical for us to collaborate in communicating the changes we want to see realized in our design sphere. Connecting through mutual struggle, being united in difference of skill and thought, and overall advocating the pursuit of each other's ambitions is what I felt captured the transformative spirit of the Inspiring Action Design Salon, expanding our horizon toward a more creative and feminist future.


A very special thanks to all that contributed to the inspiration.

Our friends and partners:

General Assembly Los Angeles

Our amazing panelists:

Genevieve Haines, President of Haines & Co.

Bora Shin, Design Strategy Lead of LA Mayor's Innovation Team

Jennifer May, Director of Designmatters at ArtCenter College of Design

Our wonderful volunteers:

Kate Manos, Photographer

Flo Di Sarli, Samantha Cabrera, and Isabelle Gioffredi, Group Facilitators

Olivia Sy, Visual Recap


We're excited to announce that for our next act, we'll be closing out the Los Angeles Design Festival, and boy am I looking forward to round two of this wild opportunity. Hope to see you there! Please follow WDS on Instagram to stay in the loop! Interested in getting involved with the Women's Design Salon? Please get in touch at info@verynice.co

 

Celebrating Impact Holidays in May with Desktop Wallpaper

It's May! We'll be featuring the artwork from one of verynice's volunteers each month. The prompt was to pick a holiday(s) that inspire us to give back. This month we feature the work of Clarisa Valdez! Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us. 

Volunteer spotlight
Clarisa Valdez

May Calendar features Mother's Day: All types of mothers!

Click here to download

Why I give back

I do pro bono work because I am continuously reminded by various local and global affairs how truly lucky I am to be in a position where I can make impact driven work.

I come from a Fine Art background, where the Arts has always come under scrutiny for it’s value. In my late college years, the Fine Art Department of my alma mater was threatened with elimination and I protested with my classmates (along with the local community) to fight for understanding of it's worth. While our battle ultimately ended in loss for the future of the institution, I'm proud I was able to obtain my Fine Arts degree and I'm proud of the contributions I'm able to make as a result. The Arts has always had the unique ability to contribute empathetically and that's something I consider paramount in my past, present and future practice.

Practical Insights from the F8 Facebook Conference

An array of emerging technologies were showcased at the annual Facebook F8 Conference this year that included virtual reality, augmented reality, network technologies, messenger bots, and many other exciting breakthroughs. While many of these features are still being developed, here are six things you can do today in order to leverage the latest updates to the platform. 

Grow Accustomed to Virtual Meetings 

While meeting face to face is ideal in many ways, facebook is making it easier for us to connect and interact virtually. The most anticipated update from the conference was the announcement of the new Spaces platform which allows users to meet in virtual reality and share 360º videos and photos, draw in 3D, and even take photos within the virtual environment. This might seem like a fun social media application now, but for those that look deeper, it presents a strong potential for business uses, meetings between families, and educational opportunities. 

 

Add a Donate Button To Your Content

You can now add a donate button to your Page header and ads to make it easy for people to donate to your organization by directing them to a website of your choice. Your nonprofit can also solicit donations directly on the platform. To accept donations directly on Facebook and add a donate button to your Page posts and live video you must be a US-based 501(c)(3) organization and verified by uploading your official documentation. 

Fundraisers

Fundraisers are an awesome new feature that enables people to raise money for your nonprofit on Facebook. Your supporters can set up a dedicated page to share their story, tell others about your mission and rally around a fundraising goal. You could also receive distributions through the Network for Good Donor Advised Fund if you are listed in GuideStar. For example, if you are an after school program, you can encourage parents and teachers to set up crowdsourced campaigns in order to purchase new equipment and supplies. These features will be particularly helpful during the heaviest of fundraising  events such as Giving Tuesday

Try Telling Stories with 360º Video 

Facebook just unveiled incredible breakthrough technology in 360º VR cameras. However, there are now many consumer grade 360º cameras available for use with your own mobile phone. From the Ricoh Theta, to the new Girpotic camera, there are many options under $500. This exciting new medium can give your audience a new perspective on your work and allow them to interact with the content itself. Try it out! 

Enable People to Create a Fundraiser for Your Organization

Facebook Fundraisers give your constituents the opportunity to raise money for your nonprofit on Facebook. Your supporters can set up a dedicated page to share their story, tell others about your mission and rally around a fundraising goal. Similar to other crowdsourcing programs like AmazonSmile, Fundraisers at an individual level can leverage their own networks to attract new donors and contribute while they use frequently visited website. 

Add a fundraising tab to your Page:

To turn on the fundraisers tab, you need to add it to your Page.

  • Go to your Page Settings 
  • Click on Edit Page scroll to the Tabs section
  • Toggle on the Fundraisers tab.

Optimize for the Newsfeed

For most people, the facebook algorithm is somewhat of a mystery. The question is always, "how can I make sure my content is seen by the most people?" Consider the following ways facebook calculates the probability of your content being relevant to audiences.

  1. What stories have been posted by friends and publishers? This means you have to be aware of what stories are trending and what appeals most to your audience. 
  2. Who posted the story, what time, Where? facebook uses hundreds of thousands of variables when calculating these probabilities. To ensure you are doing your best in getting your story out, make sure to be aware of as many variables of relevancy to your audience. If it's outside of your network, consider using the ad targeting functions to pin point different audiences. The Insights panel will give you a lot of information such as where and what time your audience is most active. Pay attention to these metrics in order to decide how and when you post. 
  3. How likely is your audience to comment? After facebook brings together the variables mentioned, it creates a probability model. This is what determines a numerical score that eventually gives your content love on the newsfeed. 

 

 

Trading Impact for Impact on Earth Day

Hey Earth,

Guess what! We’re offsetting half of our global warming emissions for the next 5 years. We know Earth Day is tomorrow, but we couldn’t wait to share the news! This offset will be enough to roughly cover all of the travel that we do to give presentations and work with our wonderful clients all around the world.

So how are we doing this? I’m glad you asked. Quite simply, we traded our branding services in exchange for some of our very own trees in the Congo Rainforest, one of the largest and most important in the world. Here is some context.

This past winter, we had the pleasure of working with Jadora, a company has worked since 2008 to establish strong relationships in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and create economic opportunities for protecting the rainforest rather than cutting it down. Through their Isangi REDD+ project, which protects a 334,000-hectare concession of rainforest near Kisangani, they have generated 1.3M carbon offsets. Essentially, by ensuring these that these trees remain standing means that they will continue to absorb one of the primary greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide. Jadora works to train the local community to measure just how much carbon these trees absorb so that they can sell carbon credits to companies, organizations, and academic institutions.

What we love about Jadora’s approach is that it simultaneously reduces excess emissions in the United States while increasing access to viable economic opportunities in the Congo. So when they came to us to rebrand their company we were happy to help. Since they were going through a transition after the tragic loss of their founder, it became clear that we would have to get creative about pricing the project. As a for-profit company, Jadora was not eligible for our pro-bono service, but luckily we came up with an even better solution—we traded impact for impact.

Jadora logo before (left) and after (right)

Jadora logo before (left) and after (right)

verynice redesigned Jadora’s brand and, as part of our exchange deal with them, Jadora gave us carbon offsets. This was a true collaboration where we got to lead Jadora through our design and branding process and they got to guide us in calculating our environmental footprint for 2016. We learned that the majority of our emissions come from our travel.

Our 2016 emission sources

Our 2016 emission sources

In the end, we earned 150 metric tonnes of carbon offsets in total and Jadora received a new brand and visual identity to help it build upon its past success, develop new initiatives, and live up to its name, which means “Peace in the Forest”. So in true, verynice style we’re giving half this Earth Day by offsetting 50% of our emissions over the next half decade. The other half we plan to address in a twofold manner. Directly, we will continue to reduce our footprint through energy saving efforts around the office and we’ll keep making the most of our Metro passes. Indirectly, we will continue our work to increase the impact of our environmental clients, such as Fair Trade USA, LA Conservation Corps, and Heal the Bay. Ultimately, we’re excited to be keep testing new ways of making impact, trading impact, and sharing impact.

 

Forever Yours,

The verynice team

We're hiring! Check out our current openings!

We're excited to announce that we have two part-time job opportunities! Our team is looking for a Junior Designer, and a Marketing + Impact Coordinator. More information on the opportunities and requirements as well as instructions for applying are listed below.


Marketing + Impact Coordinator - Part-Time

The Marketing + Impact Coordinator at verynice supports the team by promoting our ongoing initiatives, and by assisting in the new business development process. The Marketing + Impact Coordinator primarily reports to the Project Manager and Operations Manager, but will also work with the Design Strategist and Managing Director on select initiatives. The Marketing + Impact Coordinator also serves as a team member on select client-facing projects and workshops sessions that are centered around marketing and content strategy/storytelling.

*this role is part-time with the opportunity to transition into a full-time position*

Marketing (75%)

  • Produces content for, curates, and manages, the company’s social media presence and blog.
  • Launches new strategies to drive awareness and increase usage of verynice’s range of digital products including Models of Impact, Give Half, Toward a Preemptive Social Enterprise, and more.
  • Leads select marketing and internal initiatives from planning through production including special events, webinars, and product launches.
  • Assists the Design Strategist in client-facing projects and workshops relevant to marketing, copywriting, storytelling, and social media.

New Business (15%)

  • Leverages historic data in order to assist the Design Strategist and Project Manager in the drafting of compelling narratives for new business proposals
  • Joins select calls with new business opportunities to take notes, and capture critical information for the Design Strategist and Project Manager.
  • Researches for new business opportunities, and secures leads.

Impact Measurement (10%)

  • Develops strategies for capturing and measuring ongoing and immediate impact of the company’s projects.
  • Crafts and disseminates compelling narratives around the company’s impact

The ideal candidate is passionate about using their skills to create social and environmental impact, and has a strong attention to detail. Additional requirements for the position include:

  • Degree in Marketing, Communications, or other relevant area of study
  • 1-2 years of experience with social media management, marketing strategy, and business development
  • Strong communication and written skills, a strategic and entrepreneurial thinker
  • Experience with Photoshop and Illustrator a plus.
  • Experience with Google Applications

To apply for the Marketing + Impact Coordinator position, please submit your resume, cover letter, 2-3 references, and a writing sample to info@verynice.co.

Applications for this position are due by May 01, 2017. 


Junior Designer - Part-Time

The Junior Designer at verynice assists the design team with the production of select visual design projects that include brand identity, user interface design, marketing collateral, and layout design. The Junior Designer reports directly to the Designer and Art Director, but will also work with the Design Strategist and Marketing + Impact Coordinator on select initiatives.

*this role is part-time with the opportunity to transition into a full-time position*

The ideal candidate is passionate about using their skills to create social and environmental impact, and has a strong attention to detail. Additional requirements for the position include:

  • Ability to adapt to a variety of styles
  • Comfortable with drawing and sketching
  • Understanding of composition, color, and typography
  • Proficient in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign (+ some experience with AfterEffects) 
  • Ability to handle multiple projects and deadlines at once
  • Preferably with 1 year of previous experience
  • Your own computer and Adobe Creative Suite (CC)

To apply for the Junior Designer position, please submit your resume, cover letter, 2-3 references, and a portfolio sample (or link to online portfolio) to info@verynice.co.

Applications for this position are ongoing.