NIFE, the National Institute for Faculty Equity, was developed to offer guidance and resources for underrepresented faculty in STEM disciplines. In recognizing that minorities--minority women especially--are an untapped resource to all STEM disciplines, NIFE was created with the express goal of inspiring the next generation of minority STEM leaders and to further the advancement of minorities currently in STEM programs. Trig worked with NIFE to update their branding and digital presence to create a modernized look and feel with a database driven website that could be easily adapted to new and changing content.
Minorities and women, minority women in particular, are underrepresented in academia, even more so in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Members of these underrepresented groups represent an untapped resource. Failure to fully develop talent and fully utilize resources serves as a threat to the nation's economy and global competitiveness. The National Institute for Faculty Equity seeks to address this persistent problem, in part by institutionalizing the professional development and career success of women and minorities in STEM.
One of the ways that NIFE reaches its intended audience is through an online channel, facultyequity.com. With this site NIFE offers resources for underrepresented faculty in engineering, including presentations from the Minority Faculty Development workshops as well as from the Cross-Disciplinary Initiative for Minority Women Faculty conference. The previous iteration of this site was dated and not optimizing the available resource materials. In order to update the NIFE brand and create a scalable solution that would upgrade current materials, while allowing for an easy expansion of future resources, NIFE’s executive director, President Gilda Barabino expanded her relationship with Trig and to include work with this initiative.
Trig began our journey with NIFE by completing a competitive brand analysis where we explored contemporaries in the field to ascertain the environment in which the brand would live. While NIFE had an existing identity, it was dated and we found it important for us to ensure a successful experience by reviewing current assets and strategies and exploring what peers were doing in order to position the initiative appropriately. To help tie together President Barabino's personal work to NIFE, we chose to continue working with a Brand Archetype that was able to support what is true to her, and NIFE’s mission: A primary Hero, with a secondary Sage.
Once an Archetype was established we moved into developing style boards that captured the essence of the archetype and also served as a north star for how we would create tone and assets for any digital or print materials produced. After selecting a styleboard we worked with President Barabino to update the NIFE brand mark to reflect the research and work that we put into early stages. With the analysis, styleboard, and brand mark completed we were able to begin work on a new digital presence. By analyzing the existing site we determined what content needed to be updated and ported to the new site we were able to establish a site architecture that was used to build low fidelity mockups that served as an initial roadmap during the design process. After virtual revision meetings with President Barabino Trig was able to produce a high fidelity prototype created in Adobe XD that served as a roadmap while developing a scalable, database driven site using the Webflow, a visual canvas and software that provided website build and hosting capabilities.
In addition to regular virtual meetings Trig provided digital iterations of all brand development process milestones for President Barabino’s team to mark up for any requested revisions.
During our work with NIFE the world experienced something unseen in recent history, a quickly moving, airborne global pandemic. While Trig, as a firmly established virtual company, was well prepared to roll with the punches, it was an adjustment for the rest of the world. This global shift in operations did delay some of our communications with NIFE but we were ultimately able to complete the project to the clients' delight and satisfaction.
I'm really glad to be working with the Trig team. It's hard to find people that just get you. It is comforting that everything they do is intentional - grounded in a process of understanding and expressing my vision. There is a beginning, middle, and end to their branding process, and it all ties together. Working with Trig has inspired my natural inquisitiveness to want to learn even more about branding.
The challenges of structural change do not happen overnight. To create change within an existing system, the tools and resources need to be readily available to those generally without access to them. By creating an Identity that will resonate with the intended audience, coupled with a scalable digital resource repository, NIFE is taking important steps in becoming a force of change.