Outward Bound California

Project by Dotvita, 2014

When Outward Bound California approached us to redesign their site, their national brand was undergoing a massive update to shift common perception. In the past, Outward Bound had mostly been associated with at-risk youth and seen as an adventure destination to send troubled teens. Outward Bound was now being repositioned as an educational resource open to anyone that seeks to advance themselves. We developed the new Outward Bound California web presence with this in mind – designing for a wide demographic and making sure that “Education” always came before “Adventure”.

Brand contenuity was an ongoing struggle for Outward Bound. One reason for the inconsistency across schools was the lack of shared resources. In many cases, regional schools were acting independently and developing marketing materials to meet their immediate needs. In response to this issue, we helped the OB Services Group assemble a design manual to guide the individual schools. This manual also served as the starting point for our web design efforts. Getting typography, colors and image treatments right was extremely important to align with the national branding initiative.

To make Outward Bound California’s site feel unique, we chose to showcase regional advantages:

1. Stunningly diverse environments
2. The progressive and forward-thinking attitude of its people

Panoramic photography created an awe inspiring backdrop and the conversational copywriting captured the friendly, Californian voice. Due to the fact that the project budget didn’t allow for a responsive design, we used large-format typography throughout the site. This way, the text remained readable on tablet and mobile environments even when the site scaled down to fit smaller screens.

One notable aspect of this site was the flexible content structure. Each page consisted of a set of modular components that could be assembled to fit specific requirements. Modules included multi-column text layouts, quote stylings, image galleries as well as in-line tab systems to accommodate additional tiers of information. This gave our client the freedom to easily add pages without inadvertently watering down the original design aesthetic.

In the past, we’ve been re-engaged for small web projects and hired to develop additional print materials including a foldable brochure and the 2013 annual report. Working with Outward Bound is always an enjoyable experience. They are very good at prioritizing their needs and, as a result, they make decisions quickly. This nimble approach to projects is extremely refreshing.

"...I REALLY like what I'm seeing..."

Vaness Baker, Development Director

The Pyre Post