Chicago Diabetes Project Website

Created: 12/06/11
Last Edited: 11/20/12
A brand and digital communications overhaul allows the Chicago Diabetes Project—a global medical research initiative—to reach a wider online community interested in finding a functional cure for diabetes.
  • Chicago Diabetes Project

    A brand and digital communications overhaul allows the Chicago Diabetes Project--a global medical research initiative--to reach a wider online community interested in finding a functional cure for diabetes
  • The Chicago Diabetes Project (CDP) began in 2004 and has become a marquee medical research initiative for the University of Illinois Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1935. The CDP team approached Mightybytes with the challenge of reaching a wider audience and solidifying their brand to secure better funding options in 2008 and we have been working with them ever since. The scope of our work with them has included:

    • Logo, print collateral, and brand identity
    • Video production and editing
    • Website design and development (two sites)
    Our longstanding relationship began with the fundamentals of a brand overhaul: logo mark and strategic messaging. SWOT Analysis and several in-person workshops formed the basis of a communications framework which we used to develop brand positioning statements, visual aesthetics, and an online communications plan. With a plan in place, we began implementing various strategic elements as time and budget allowed.

    Logo, messaging, and style guidelines provided the first set of deliverables. We then set forth building the organization’s web-based communications hub and developing content and media elements with which to populate it.

    WebsitesWe built two websites for CDP, both using ExpressionEngine with custom theming and functions. The first website, launched in 2008, won an American Graphic Design Award in 2009. The second site launched in 2011.

    The CDP’s website serves as a collaboration tool and repository for updated information on all the important work done by members of their global community. An initial Discovery phase drove information architecture and content guidelines. We created all the site content concurrently with its design framework, allowing each deliverable to inform decisions on the next. Then, we designed and implemented a content-managed solution that could be expandable over time, facilitate donations to the organization, and support many video and rich media elements. The site also provides:

    • Critical information on research breakthroughs
    • Patient testimonials
    • Featured scientist interviews
    • Clinical trial information

    We also wrote all the content for the original website and updated the new site with keyword analysis tools. The new site is compatible with mobile devices as well.

    Video and PhotographyWhile website production for the first site was in full swing, we followed the CDP team to a 14th century castle outside Geneva, Switzerland to cover the organization’s annual meeting. There, we interviewed scientists from around the world on new research developments and the importance of CDP’s groundbreaking work. These videos and the photos we took while at the conference became key components of the website’s content strategy.

    Print CollateralThe CDP team also asked us to create collateral materials to help them share their important work with a wider audience. The brochure we created features pockets for including a rotating array of printed materials that can be targeted to the specific needs of donors, researchers, and grant applications. It was produced in tandem with business cards that were distributed globally to all key CDP team members.

    The original site was awarded an American Graphic Design Award from Graphic Design USA magazine in 2009. Tools included in the new site gives the CDP team access to critical site performance data which helps them make key marketing decisions based on performance benchmarks, a critical component of a successful online non-profit strategy.

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