STEM From Dance

Positioning an Established Organization for Their Next Big Expansion

STEM Case Study Annual Report

The Challenge

STEM From Dance is transforming the STEM field by empowering girls of color with the know-how, experience, and confidence to dream big in STEM — all through the power of dance. Having just reached their 10th year in operation, their team is embarking on a bold plan to expand across the US and beyond. Their existing site wasn’t built with the capacity for such significant growth. In addition, better platforms for integrating learning, signups, and community building have come online since their previous site was built.

Part of their growth strategy includes expanding programming and locations and a need to showcase recent happenings. Together, their growth plans created a desire for a flexible, scalable, and more engaging website. It also required an updated visual brand system that includes a logo refresh. Revised positioning and target audience messaging was also necessary for additional promotion and fundraising.

The Outcome

Our conclusion was that STEM From Dance is best served by a hub for students and parents that also promotes programs to schools and community organizations that serve girls of color. Students and parents could have a single source of information to understand the programs available in their area and easily sign up.

The site provides clear pathways for different audiences and conveys the benefits of the programs so that funders understand the long-term value of supporting the organization. The brand look and feel goes far beyond a logo refresh into a color palette and design elements that have been well received by students, parents, and school administrators.


  • Content & Campaign Consulting
  • Strategic Brand Building
  • Digital Infrastructure

Focus Areas

  • Social Equity & Justice
  • Arts & Culture

A Subtle But Powerful Logo Update

We liked the feel of the existing logo right away. However, legibility at small sizes was an issue, both for the dancer icon and the font. We made subtle changes to the icon and changed the font to improve legibility and create a more modern, techy, fun, and active alignment with the energy of the brand. We also used a gradient in the icon to deepen the relationship to the updated color palette and treatment.

STEM Case Study Logo

A Multi-Layered Design System

The design system presents the overall positivity of the organization. The color palette was developed to jump off the screen without hurting the eyes of parents. The STEM From Dance team also embraced a bold combination of dark and light backgrounds that have a younger vibe to them than a standard site.

A major component of the color palette is the use of gradients. While the brand has a specific gradient, programs such as Girls Rise Up have their own gradient to connect them to the main brand while feeling unique. An animated background gradient provides subtle movement throughout the site — a nod to movement found in dance and the larger movement to inspire girls to enter STEM careers.

Typography is an important part of the design system, striking the balance between professional and playful while being legible at every size on the site.

Gradients, typography, and animation come together in some areas of the site to create an enhanced interactive experience that intentionally causes site visitors to pause. Subtle and obvious textures are also used to create a 3D perspective to select sections.

STEM Case Study Design System

Analog Brand Extensions

The STEM From Dance brand exists as much in the real world as it does online. That meant creating some fun brand extensions, from t-shirts to business cards and even printable letterhead.

The collateral for the STEM From Dance parent brand is more expected and traditional, including items like t-shirts, business cards, and letterhead, while the Girls Rise Up program is so central to the organization that it has its own swag.

STEM Case Study T Shirt
STEM Case Study B Cards
STEM Case Study Letterhead

A How To Guide For Brand Elements

The brand elements are complex. Because STEM From Dance is a growing organization, we provided a detailed brand style guide to give current and future creators a toolbox of brand elements to build with. The guide is a How To for the design system that includes instructions for creating and using the gradient text effects, animated backgrounds, and other bespoke elements.

We wrapped up the handoff with a Figma training session — the software that we used to design all of the elements.

STEM Case Study Brand Guide
STEM Case Study Pitchdeck

A Flexible Icon Library

The iconography on the site is simple and abstract rather than literal. We wanted them to express general ideas such as Discover, Activate, Connect, and Immersion. This part of the design system allows for a lot of flexibility in how the icons are used and creates a library of icons that can be repurposed as needed.

STEM Case Study Icons
STEM Case Study Icons

Creating Campaign Materials

While we primarily produced digital platforms and assets for SFD, there was a clear need for print pieces as well. It’s always fun for us to create both print and digital components for a long-term growth campaign. In this instance, we designed items for both the primary brand as well as the Girls Rise Up program. One example of this is a STEM From Dance leave-behind 1-pager that includes most of the messaging in one place. This allows for things like flyers to be placed at schools so students can take them home to discuss a STEM From Dance program with their parents.

STEM Case Study Collateral
STEM Case Study Collateral

For Girls Rise Up we created:

STEM Case Study GRU Poster
STEM Case Study GRU Poster
STEM Case Study GRU Postcard
STEM Case Study GRU Brochure
STEM Case Study GRU Brochure Interior
STEM Case Study GRU Brochure Interior

Building From Values

STEM From Dance’s brand narrative runs deep. Built on strong values, we used design and succinct copy to illustrate their principles.

STEM Case Study Values
STEM Case Study Values

Creating a Messaging Foundation

We developed the voice and tone of the site by defining the messaging that answered one of the organizations’ most asked questions, “Why STEM & dance?” This core messaging created the foundation upon which all other messaging was built.

Focused Communications

As part of our target audience communications strategies, we developed individual pages for each audience. Each page helps site visitors more quickly get to the content they want and get involved with the organization in ways that make the most sense for them.

STEM Case Study Focused Communications

Highlighting an Approach

We chose to be aspirational with messaging by identifying the challenges that STEM From Dance was created to address and clearly explaining to site visitors how their approach addresses these challenges and produces results.

STEM Case Study Approach 2

In-Depth Messaging Strategy

While the copywriting for the site is as succinct as possible, we made conscious decisions about where to place more substantial copy that communicates more in-depth information. Though still not long form, the content structures we used create small content blocks that entice readers to keep moving through these more significant content sections of the site.

A Mission in Context

When we approached creating a mission statement we felt it was important to put it in context. In doing so we realized that more important than a mission or vision was the overall purpose of the organization. That’s how we found our way to a meaningful mission statement.

STEM Case Study About

Using Movement to Communicate

In building out the site, we integrated with the Givebutter nonprofit fundraising platform and with Mailchimp for forms. Our development team built the site to deliver the interactive elements of the site (such as filling out forms) as simply as possible while delivering the results to the SFD team in data collection platforms of their choice.

Site Development Maximized Signups

In building out the site, we integrated with the Givebutter nonprofit fundraising platform and with Mailchimp for forms. Our development team built the site to deliver the interactive elements of the site (such as filling out forms) as simply as possible while delivering the results to the SFD team in data collection platforms of their choice.

STEM Case Study Donate

Curated Digital Experiences

Interactions such as FAQs are built to minimize how much space they take up on the page while delivering the maximum amount of information. This leads to succinct pages that allow site visitors to easily get the information of most interest to them.

Audience-Focused Information Architecture

In addition to the interactions that help people get to relevant content, the information architecture uses the ideas of target audience pathways and programs to help people visit the pages on the site they’re most interested in. This allows the site to be as effective as possible for different audiences.

STEM Case Study Audiences

A Content Delivery Strategy

The core services that STEM From Dance offers are their programs. We created a two-fold content strategy for highlighting them. Site visitors can click on the Programs button in the main navigation and get to an overview page that provides overviews of all of the programs. If a visitor already knows what program they’re interested in, hovering over the navigation produces a standard drop down menu that allows them to go straight to a specific program.

STEM Case Study Programs

Fundraising Support

Our contribution to STEM From Dance’s fundraising strategy was to provide potential funders with both passive and active information. The Our Approach, Our Story, and Our Team pages provide potential funders with a place to do their own exploration. We also designed components for pitch decks to be used in both virtual and in-person funding discussions.

STEM Case Study Design Pitchdeck2

Focused Communications Tools

Email is the primary form of communication between STEM From Dance, the students they serve, and the students’ parents. Because these audiences are different, we created individual email templates to make the messages feel branded and audience specific.

STEM Case Study Email
STEM Case Study Email

Primed for Social Media Campaigns

Nonprofits need to market to people where they are. We created a variety of social media assets that give the SFD team a foundation for running branded social media campaigns. In addition to general templates, we created assets for Girls Rise Up, their most popular program.

STEM Case Study Social
STEM Case Study Social

Building Awareness

As part of the new website launch strategy we focused on their recent 10-year anniversary, creating a rollout campaign that looks forward to the next decade of progress. This approach couches the website and visual identity update as one component in their larger vision for the future.

STEM Case Study Launch Campaign
STEM Case Study Launch Campaign

Scope of Work

  • Content & Campaign Consulting

    • Brand Extension, Collateral, & Materials
    • Awareness & Growth Campaigns
  • Strategic Brand Building

    • Brand Identity & Design Systems
    • Brand Messaging
    • Content & Messaging Strategy
  • Digital Infrastructure

    • Modern Bespoke Website Design & Development
    • Digital Blueprints
    • Branded Website Content & Copywriting
  • Other

    Related Work

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