Blog Insights
Spotlight: The Forum One Design Team

Good design is engaging, attractive, and usable. Mission-driven organizations rely on Forum One to bring their ideas to life through designs that inform and inspire action.

From creating an improved user experience to a new brand impression, we help organizations achieve a look on the outside that represents the modern, innovative work that they do on the “inside.”

As head of the team, I’m happy to introduce the Forum One design team and the inspiring design work we accomplish with our partners.

What the design team does

Understand client and audience needs

To accomplish an organization’s goals, we research and listen deeply to understand the needs of a given project. This begins with all the stakeholders in a particular project. Design can feel very personal and often provokes strong opinions—that’s a good thing! We always want to learn how internal stakeholders, from web managers to CEOs, will respond to design so we can incorporate these important perspectives into our approach.   

Yet understanding design wants and needs doesn’t end with the organization that hires us. Audiences are the ultimate arbiters of whether a design works or not, and audiences know what they need. Using audience research and even participatory design, where we engage end-users in early-stage design, we help organizations break out of their own internal ways of communicating. It’s common for organizations to structure information at an expert level or include jargon that doesn’t connect with the audiences they wish to reach. Along with language and information architecture, design decisions can help break down and structure content in a way that’s more easily consumable.

Create visuals that engage

Design should not only look good; it should actively help audiences move up a ladder of engagement. When we know a certain action that audiences may take—register for an event, make a donation, or submit a resume—we can design in a way that not only makes those actions logical and easy to understand, but that inspires action.

Through format and design, we can lead audiences to explore and then engage. Design helps an organization look, feel, and read like an exciting, modern, interesting place that draws audiences in and creates an emotional connection. 

Meet the design team

Members of our 16-person design team have specializations, from user experience design to interactive design. Team members have also developed unique strengths in animation, branding, accessibility, user research, analytics, and more. These varied experiences meanwhile we may be concentrated on a particular project—a website redesign, for example—our team is able to envision the broader communications ecosystem of an organization—from print to web to social to campaigns—and see the intersections and viability of our designs in different applications. 

In addition to being well-rounded as a design team, we’re deeply integrated with other teams at Forum One. We collaborate closely with our colleagues in development, ensuring that the designs we envision can actually work—we never show design ideas without confirming their practicality. In a digital space, it takes a team to bring design ideas to life.

We are also systems thinkers. When working with organizations that may have thousands or even hundreds of thousands of screens or pages, we need to be able to create an information architecture and a design system that ensures that the brand is consistently represented in a giant ecosystem that users can navigate seamlessly.

What does it take to succeed on our team?

Outstanding design skills are of course a baseline, but what sets apart successful candidates for our team are curiosity and a willingness to learn. A core value of Forum One is continuous learning.

The unique thing about working in an agency, rather than as in-house designers, is that we’re always learning about what drives our clients. We bring deep experience in design and relevant work with similar clients, but we always bring a beginner’s mindset to the project. That means we bring an attitude of openness and eagerness when working on a project. We can’t design without this understanding—missions fuel our work—so we need to get up to speed on the issues that matter quickly.

Our designers are not only embracing new topics, they’re advancing new skills in their own toolsets. We have designers who are learning new animation skills, deepening their accessibility skills, learning front-end development, and more. More than anything else, we are a team of learners.

The Forum One design team is growing and hiring! Take a look at our careers page to learn more.

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