Building trust with our nation’s policymakers.

Case Study: Ballast Research

Ballast Research

Ballast Research is the only organization in Washington, D.C. that conducts research directly with senior policymakers. We worked with Ballast to give them a new website that better serves their mission of improving conversations between legislators and advocates and helps build trust between those groups.

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Ballast’s previous website was built for their advocacy clientele, but growing evidence suggested that most of the users on the site weren’t potential clients – they were potential research subjects. Policymakers and Congressional staffers were coming to the website to determine whether to participate in their research. So how do you convince busy legislators that working with an organization like Ballast is a good use of their very limited time?


We developed a new website designed specifically with policymakers in mind. On the User Experience side, we elevated published research and testimonials to show legislators how Ballast’s research could be valuable to their goals. On the visual design side, we expanded their existing brand guidelines and determined a new look and feel on the website that conveyed trustworthiness.

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Designed with policymakers in mind

Ballast wasn’t looking for a rebrand, but they were open to expanding their existing visual identity to reflect their new priority of building trust with policymakers. We minimized the loud teal color that had previously dominated their aesthetic in favor of a more formal navy and gold palette and selected a new suite of typefaces that felt traditional without being dated. We also provided new photography guidelines so that they could move away from stock imagery of D.C. architecture, which felt impersonal and potentially alienating to state legislators; we encouraged a more personal touch by using candid images of their team.

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Flexible = Sustainable

Beyond just delivering a beautiful design, we wanted to equip Ballast with the tools to easily manage and make changes on their site for years to come. We decided to build the entire site using flexible, modular page-builder elements that are simple to implement. It also gave Ballast the freedom to change and adapt their site as needed, whether they’re creating a new case study, adding in new testimonials, or updating their offerings to reflect the political moment.

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