Tools for Enaging with the City
CityToolBox, Berlin, DE
Consultant for Strategy, Content Design, Visual Identity, Illustration
Civic Engagement, Community Urbanism, Education
Story-collecting Tool, Content Strategy, Website
CitytoolBox is a new online platform that shares tools and strategies for producing community-based initiatives, from neighbourhood walks to printmaking workshops to community festivals. The website’s main goal was to share knowledge with youth who are looking to get involved and make new projects. Storytelling about community projects can often be jargon-heavy and unclear. We set out to create a tool to help initiatives reach young audiences in a simple, engaging way.
The website concept grew around a story-collecting survey that encourages participants to breakdown information into key steps and different forms of storytelling. I worked together with the CityToolBox team to develop the story-collecting survey as well as the general strategy for the site. I then created a visual identity based on a language of hand-drawn illustrations to reflect CitytoolBox's grassroots, DIY spirit. The programmer and screen designer then developed these concepts into the full website.
The team determined that the website needed to focus on what young people active in the field of civic engagement need the most: mentorship and access to knowledge. As such, we decided to focus on telling compelling, human stories and providing an elegant window onto existing projects. By profiling key individuals who could serve as mentors, the site would create a space for young people to see what’s out there and learn from people with experience.
In order to create compelling content, we decided that a key aspect would be a story-collecting tool and a curated submission process to get people excited about telling their story and sharing their methods. Through this, the site could build trust and user validation.
As part of submitting information about tools for engaging with the city, participants are encouraged to share elements such as key quotes, photo stories, step-by-step tips, and keywords. Forms encourage brevity with word limits and jargon-free writing with friendly tips, such as: “Tell us about your tool. Help us imagine it. How would you describe it 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 tone of DIY-making and navigating the city on your own terms.