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100 years of making voices heard

2018 sees The English-Speaking Union (ESU) celebrate 100 years of promoting oracy skills and better communication between people, cultures and countries. To support this celebration they wanted to build a campaign website to engage their audiences, and share their remarkable history and the ambitious future of this world-renowned organisation.

Founded in 1918, the ESU is an educational charity and membership organisation which believes in the power of spoken communication. In the last 100 years, the ESU has been changing lives through promoting oracy skills, and global and cultural understanding. From alumni and supporters such as Sir Trevor McDonald and KT Tunstall, as well as a distinguished history including the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and TS Eliot, the ESU has a wealth of personal history and an archive of imagery to bring those stories to life. This content was brought together in the celebratory site, which connects this history with their future focus: quipping young people with the oracy skills and confidence to engage with the world, discuss their ideas and share them with others.

What we did

To kick off, we started with an in-depth discovery workshop with the team at ESU. Out of this workshop came a reimagined brief that aligned the goals for the website with organisational objectives. Alongside a vision board which would help translate needs and features into logical user journeys leading to clear calls to action, and a description of the site’s main content types, we emerged with the following goal:

“Create an innovative and immersive campaign hub that informs, updates and inspires interaction with the ESU to celebrate a landmark 100th anniversary.”

We established a brave new design direction for the website, featuring full-width imagery, bold use of colour and strong typography. Working with the ESU team to define a content direction, we then iterated over the designs of page templates to create an immersive storytelling experience across the site.

How it went

The 100 ESU website launched on January 8th 2018, just three months after the project began. The site’s bold visual direction has since been rolled out to the wider campaign.

Communicating the ESU’s mission through reference to its long history and hopes for the future, the centenary site illustrates the impact the organisation makes through powerful personal stories told by people whose lives have been changed by ESU activity. And it’s helped spearhead a campaign to empower young people to speak out about issues affecting their lives. See the results at #ESUSpeakOut

“We’re delighted with the impact that the website is having so far. It is enabling us to extend our reach further than ever before and to share both our relevance today and the importance of developing and harnessing oracy skills in young people to improve social mobility.

For the first time, we are able to share our compelling alumni stories on a modern, eye-catching platform which reflects the direction we are moving in, as a forward-thinking charity and membership organisation.” – Sarah Matthews, Digital Marketing Manager, English-Speaking Union

As well as achieving its primary objectives, the project has been a catalyst for driving change across the whole organisation.

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User Experience Design
web development
User Experience
Web design
Brand Identity

Clients

The English-Speaking Union