Responses by Adam Weiss, founder and creative director, Landscape
Background: The Kelsey is a pioneering nonprofit that centers on the lived experience of people with disabilities and the creation of inclusive and affordable multifamily housing. Garnering the attention and support of organizations, such as Google Ventures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the organization is currently advancing a housing pipeline worth over $180 million, beginning with building more than 240 affordable, accessible homes in one of the nation’s most challenging housing markets: California.
Reasoning: We wanted to craft a solution with The Kelsey team that reflected the ambition and critical societal importance of their vision, as well as the opportunity and joy associated with the outcome they aim to facilitate through their work.
Inclusivity is the most consistent theme through all the work. The color palette signals community through varied skin tone–inspired hues and is grounded by a disability-forward range of blues. The typography is as accessible as it is clear and urgent. The range of colors in the illustration invites levity and joy, and the subtle expressiveness of forms humanizes the abstract without going so far as to feel unintentional. Moreover, all the work is calibrated to be accessible across all touchpoints. From the contrasts and tones in the color palette, to the scale of the typography, information architecture and UX of the site, to its implementation, meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 AA standards and even AAA where possible.
Challenges: Catching up to their team! The Kelsey team is at the forefront of understanding what inclusivity means and what the experience of the disabled community is and has been historically. We appreciated their patience as we dove into understanding more about this community. Like any great challenge, there were terrific learnings, and we’re looking forward to building upon our understanding of accessibility and inclusivity and applying this new knowledge to our upcoming work.
Favorite details: Based on diverse, skin tone–inspired hues, the color palette is such a simple gesture. It allows The Kelsey team to inherently be more inclusive in creation of their communications without playing into existing design tropes within their ecosystem. By escaping these expectations, they signal the value and distinct nature of their offering more clearly.
Time constraints: This work was created during the heart of the pandemic and, thus, we were faced with some unique challenges. We had limited access to the community The Kelsey serves when creating content for the brand’s photography asset library, as many of them were at a higher risk to more severe COVID-19 complications. We had to get creative with how to infer the diverse narratives of this community with fewer production resources and less time. We were fortunate that The Kelsey’s work inherently connects them intimately to their community and they were able to help us optimize our time together.
Specific demands: This was the first time we’ve integrated accessibility testing into our branding process and we needed to be efficient with our digital budget for the project. This necessitated reconsidering our process throughout the engagement to best optimize our resources and minimize unnecessary re-work or getting too excited about something that ultimately wouldn’t function. We brought our accessibility testing team into the work early. They reviewed symbols, typography and color palettes, as well as the initial UX for the digital experience to ensure that the content itself was accessible in both linguistic style and layout.