Design for Europe

Creating a platform to promote design-driven innovation across Europe


Europe's economy needs innovation to grow. That was the message from the European Commission when setting up this major new initiative. The project brought together a team of 14 partners from across the EU, all joining forces to create Design for Europe.

Design for Europe is a European Commission funded project to share ideas and connect people as part of their Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation. Headed up by Design Council in the UK, the pan-European group invited Numiko to create an identity for the project and to design and build the website which would become the focal point for activity.

We kick-started our Discovery process with interviews and focus groups in Brussels which led to rapid persona creation – all in just 2 days. After speaking to users, we realised that we needed to produce a simple, intuitive user interface for the 3 distinct audience types we’d identified and creatively categorized:

  1. Map Maker – Policymakers, forward planners and thinkers, government advisors, University researchers.
  2. Sherpa – Guides and intermediaries who typically advise SME’s across Europe and are also the eyes and ears on the ground that help influence policymakers, Chambers of Commerce, regional innovation hubs.
  3. Climbers – The people that run businesses and public services and make changes on the ground to how they work.

We needed an active tense call-to-arms for our project name, something set apart by its very simplicity: Design for Europe.

The guiding principles of our creative brief were to be clean, uncluttered, authentic and approachable. As well as being fully responsive, this site needed to be accessible to non-native English speakers so we focussed on the simplicity and usability of sites such as Medium for inspiration.

Design for Europe Logo work

The website we’ve created has evolved as the project has evolved, and 18 months on we’re just about to launch newly created ‘ways in’ to the large library of resources which have been built up. This gives users from across the continent, with differing levels of design expertise and comprehension, the ability to arrive serendipitously at content by arranging it by 'sector' or 'topic' and supporting exploration.

Using a Drupal CMS has also allowed us to flex with the emerging needs of the project and give content owners the ability to create content ‘packages’.

“From day one Numiko really took the time to understand the project and our audience. The brand they developed was clear, attractive and a great fit for what we wanted to achieve. This brand was translated into a modern highly useable site that has grown with the project. Numiko's work has won us a lot of praise and given us a clear point of differentiation.” — Sam Dub, Editor & Digital Manager

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