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YMCA’s annual report gets transformed from paper-based summary to engaging digital story.

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Case Study

  • Strategy & Marketing
  • Creative/Visual Design
  • Mobile Development
  • Front-End Development

I wanted to pause and let you know how excited we are with the platform we are building together. I had the opportunity to share the designs with our CEO today. He is really HAPPY with the creativity and the innovative approach we have taken to share our new focus and frame our impact. He gets the legs it will have following our AGM. Thanks for the attention and leadership that you have given to our project.

Signi Solmundson, VP, Marketing & Communications, YMCA of Greater Vancouver

When the YMCA first approached us with an idea to create a digital annual report, we knew we were in for a challenge. For non-profits, budgets aren’t always readily available. And with a short timeline from conception to completion, the concept had to be both straightforward and meaningful.

One of our challenges was to come up with a single, unifying idea that demonstrates the extensive work of the organization. To do this, we took our clients through a story discovery process.

What emerged was a clear focus on children and youth, and “the village” that surrounds them. This became the emotional core of the site. The phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” was a recurring theme as we considered problems like child obesity, loneliness and fractured social networks. With this core truth as a guide, we created a site “script”. We pared the traditional wordy annual report copy down to its fresh and pithy essence.

The finished site was revealed at the YMCA’s annual general meeting on May 22. It has received strong accolades from within the YMCA community for pushing the boundaries of storytelling, away from the traditional and into a more shareable, accessible medium. More importantly for us, it connects YMCA membership to the core story of children and youth—creating a healthy community where they can thrive.

The chalk wall of the Vancouver office is taken over to plan the flow of the story being told by the YMCA site, before any design or development happens.

Producing a script is what happens next: not just the text itself, but descriptions of interactive elements for the team to build.

Our styleboard process offers clients the chance to select from three very different design approaches: which aesthetic suits the project best? Showing not a website template, but a collage of various elements, helps make the decision clearer. (In this case, the bottom one was selected as the design inspiration for the site.)