The Civic Season


The Civic Season

Citizen Best

Civic Season—a two-week, nationwide event to encourage civic engagement among Generation Z and younger Millennials—needed to launch a five-page website for their inaugural season, containing links to approximately 100 events and learning sites. We were given a tight turnaround of two months and the standard budget limitations of a nonprofit.

In addition, we created a print and digital guidebook entitled “The Story of You,” as both an engagement and retention touch point for 2023.

Our target audiences included high schoolers plus 18–30 year olds (primary), institutional partners and content providers (secondary), and the general public outside these categories (tertiary). With Civic Season initially co-branded by Made By Us and Civics Unplugged, we first needed to create a new identity that borrowed from and complemented both brands.

Once we defined their brand pillars (connecting, empowering, celebratory, evolving, and true) and brand positioning, we crafted a creative direction, developed a brand statement, and established messaging hierarchy. We also determined a color palette and font and designed the logo.

Extending the brand elements to the website, we provided aspirational copy as well as UX writing. Informed by the shifts that took place in 2020, where young people started to raise their voices on issues concerning race, gender and LGBTQ+, it was key to message that “we the people” means “all of us” and to encourage a “democracy powered by you,” and that “it’s time to create a new kind of tradition.”

From a UX perspective, we made it easy for users to filter events in their area or on topics they cared about. Events were both online and in-person, so anyone could take part in happenings from the comfort of their home.

The messaging also had to acknowledge that a fair democracy can get messy and that it was important to brand Civic Season as an event where “evolution requires unquestionable legitimacy and a commitment to raise all voices without drowning out the ones that raise tension.”

We then pulled through the brand-identity and key messaging to social media posts and templates.

“The Story of You: A Guide to Navigating Your Civic Season Journey” was an essential part to build and maintain momentum of Civic Season. With activities to foster self-awareness and guide civic action, this book is a useful and enjoyable tool for young adults to stay engaged.

The design of the 30-page book was inspired by the favorable resurgence of the Y2K design aesthetic among Gen Zers. While we incorporated a pastel color palette and playful iconography, illustrations and “stickers” representing the early 2000s, we knew it was important to complement and maintain elements of the overall Civic Season branding for continuity.

In the end, we designed, wrote, developed and deployed a website and corresponding social elements and collateral that helped motivate Civic Season’s audiences to look at their history and reimagine what it means to take action.

As Citizen Best created the initial website, it’s important to know that the work we started in 2021 continues. By creating a website with a clean system, we enabled the client to grow and keep its momentum going independent of us.

The 3rd Annual Civic Season begins on Juneteenth (June 19). Each year we contribute to its evolution. As our branding created a strong foundation on which to build, both the client and Citizen Best has implemented updates and new elements to the website and brand-new collateral. In other words, Civic Season is a living, breathing creation, and Citizen Best has helped garner the energy of a new generation of civic-minded changemakers. Our collaboration with Made By Us fosters, among Gen Z in particular, curiosity for the past in order to help shape the future.

Key Team Members

Cherry Lao, Co-founder, Creative Director
Kris Flint, Co-founder, Account Director
Brooke Hodess, Copywriter
Pat Opattarakul , Senior Designer
Minny Pornprathanwech, Designer
Megan McAteer, Account Manager
Gavi Schankerman, Account Coordinator
Corrina Keeling , Illustrator
Caroline Klibanoff , Made By Us, Executive Director
Kate Doak-Keszler, Made By Us, Partnership and Communications Director
Nia Mosby, Made By Us, Program Manager
Cameron Katz, Made By Us, Community Engagement Manager
Kaz Brecher, Innovation Strategist