bringing a brand back together

The Design System that unified SOS Children's Villages

With a presence in over 130 countries SOS Children’s Villages is a renowned international non-profit for children in need. Didify, established internally in 2002, focuses on developing innovative fundraising products to support the organization’s mission of building families for children in need.

always in fire fighting mode

The Before

Upon joining the organization, we faced a fragmented landscape with over 40+ and 150 instances utilizing custom products. The proliferation of custom solutions led to a high volume of change requests and inconsistencies across platforms.

the token-based design system

The Only Way Forward

To address the challenges posed by fragmentation and to bolster operational efficiency, we made a strategic decision to unify the organization’s digital presence. This involved consolidating disparate platforms and custom solutions into a cohesive ecosystem through the implementation of a comprehensive design system and theming strategy. 

By adopting this approach, we aimed to streamline processes, improve consistency across platforms, and facilitate more efficient management of digital assets and resources. This concerted effort was crucial in aligning the organization’s digital identity and reinforcing its commitment

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Stefan Kyurkchiev

Poor design decisions are expensive

Why they chose me?

Having previously worked as a freelancer within SOS Children’s Villages and being a vocal advocate for design systems, my deep understanding of the organization’s needs and commitment to cohesive design principles made me the ideal candidate for the project. 

Furthermore I was already working full/time as a marketing/fundraising consultant, which enabled me to understand the organizational needs with different perspective.

July 1, 2016 – march 31, 2017

The Transformation

Over a period of approximately 8 months, I collaborated closely with SOS Kinderdorf Ă–sterreich, the brand owner – to implement the redesign initiative. Despite managing stakeholder requests from 4 continents, we remained focused on the goal of unifying the brand’s digital identity.

In order to enforce the adoption of the new brand identity we incorporated an isolated model of development where the driving force was the brand owner, which is not ideal, but in this particular case was the only reasonable way to move forward.

Challenges

1. Stakeholder management

This challenge stemmed from the need for extensive discussions and negotiations to align diverse stakeholder perspectives on design decisions. With stakeholders spread across 40 countries, coordinating feedback and reaching consensus on design elements proved to be a time-consuming process.

2. Lack of Brand Assets

The absence of updated brand assets since the 80s posed a significant challenge. This meant that we had to develop a cohesive design system from scratch, lacking modern brand guidelines or visual references, which required substantial research and creative interpretation.

3. Migrating legacy content

Migrating legacy content presented its own set of challenges, particularly ensuring that thousands of pages were migrated correctly while maintaining consistency with the new design system. This necessitated the development of legacy templates to accommodate existing content structures and formats, ensuring a seamless transition to the redesigned platform.

a brand that’s truly aligned

The After

Through strategic decision-making and collaborative efforts, we successfully unified SOS Children’s Villages International’s digital presence, enabling the organization to operate more efficiently and cohesively across borders. The impact of the redesign extended beyond marketing metrics, fostering greater satisfaction among editors and streamlining processes for faster innovation and delivery.

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SOS Children's Villages Germany