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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Bringing tech innovation to government systems

Entered in Civic Engagement


Ford Foundation and a coalition of tech partners approached NationSwell with the goal of creating a revolutionary program that would allow private sector tech companies to support innovation in historically slow-moving government systems.  The program’s focus would be on letting tech-sector employees to work in local, state, or federal governments for a period of time to allow for an infusion of talent, innovation, and healthy disruption to encourage growth and evolution.

We needed to create a brand that could quickly build awareness and credibility with tech sector and government leaders and employees. This pioneering concept would require strategy, creative, and thought partnership to help facilitate a successful brand development and launch.

Strategy and Execution

NationSwell Studio worked with a coalition of tech partners including Ford Foundation to complete a competitive audit, desk research focused on learning from analogous initiatives and gathering insights on what motivators and messaging looks like at key organizations offering civic leave programming, and conducted positioning workshops (strategic insights and discussion with key stakeholders on directions and naming).

We analyzed industry trends related to “leave” policies, civic service, and technology. This allowed us to develop a rationale for how to communicate that a “civic leave” opportunity is beneficial for all parties: technologists, tech executives and their companies, and the government divisions receiving technologists during their leave.  Our insights and interviews were synthesized into our ultimate brand strategy.

We then embarked on a brand naming process that included additional focus grouping and pressure testing, and landed on our brand’s new name: “Tech in Service”.

NationSwell’s Studio team moved ahead with creating the visual and verbal identity of the brand. Our process explored key visual and tonal themes across civic good brands, civic tech brands, and nonprofit brands, ultimately creating visual solution that would set us apart from competitors, inspire civic pride (but remain non-partisan), and offer the flexibility to evolve into an international program (see: “Future state: International logo explorations” below).



With our visual and verbal solution established, we codified it in a Tech in Service Brand Guide and collateral system.  We launched the brand at Code for America 2022 in Washington D.C.  Our launch goal was simple:  Stand out at a competitive conference and drive awareness and program sign-ups. Our collateral design for the launch, which can be viewed below, supported user journeys using prioritized QR codes, branded Typeform pages, retractable banners, flyers, eye-catching motion graphics to draw attendees to our table.

The impact: 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

NationSwell Studio, Ford Foundation and Schmidt Futures


Entry Credits