Tools for Engaging with the City
A youthful, elegant storytelling platform
CLIENT – City ToolBox, Berlin, DE
MY ROLE – Consultant for strategy, content design, visual identity, illustration.
SERVICES – Design strategy, content development, co-creation of a survey tool for collecting project stories, corporate identity concept development, designing a visual language of icons.
OUTCOMES – Story-collecting tool, content strategy, website.
City ToolBox is a new online platform that shares strategies for producing community initiatives, from neighbourhood walks to printmaking workshops to community festivals. The platform’s main goal was to share knowledge with youth who are looking to get involved and acquire new skills. We created a tool to reach young audiences in a simple, engaging way.
The final online platform and story-collecting survey encourage contributors to learn and communicate about grassroots urbanism projects in different ways. It gets young people and experienced professionals alike excited about telling their story and sharing their methods.
What do young people in the field of civic engagement need the most? Through interviews with young individuals involved with the Actors of Urban Change, a European network of civic engagement professionals, the project team determined that young people in this demographic needed access to knowledge and mentorship.
Based on this learning, we focused on: telling compelling stories, providing an elegant window onto existing initiatives, and profiling mentors with whom young people could connect. In order to create engaging content, we decided that a key aspect would be a story-collecting tool and a curated submission process. Through this, the site could build trust and user validation.
We developed a survey tool to help contributors share information using different forms of storytelling such as key quotes, photo stories, step-by-step tips, and keywords. Word limits and tips for jargon-free writing embedded in the survey help to keepstories clear and accessible, for example: “How would you describe your project in a simple way - say to your grandmother or a small child?”
A street-sign inspired logo and set of hand-drawn icons set a look and feel that expressed DIY-making and navigating the city on one’s own terms. A programmer then wrote the code for the final site and a screen designer translated the overall concept into a screen design.