Grief Connections

For over 30 years The Christi Center has been serving the Travis and Williamson county areas providing free, ongoing, peer-based grief support services to the bereaved. Our project brief was to use human-centered design principles to discover ways to help a local organization.

Recognition // AIGA Flux 2020: Social Impact Design


Grief Connections


Branding, UX, Web,
and Illustration



What We Did

Research and Discovery
The research begun with an audit of the services that the Christi Center offers. Addressing access to support and representation for marginalized groups became a key area of focus.

Our designer made observations by attending grief support groups and talking with the staff and volunteers of the Christi Center.

A photo ethnography was completed and structured interviews with key stakeholders to discover key problem areas.

Through research, it was discovered that the language surrounding grief support was important.

We learned that even though the services offered by the Christi Center were free, they weren’t accessible to everyone who needs them.

We also learned about a program that was very much in its infancy. Named Grief Connections, it’s purpose was to train members of the community in peer-based grief support facilitation so that they could hold their own groups in their own community.

Photo Ethnography of the Christi Center


The Problem

Our team nerd learned that the Grief Connections program was only managed by one person, and consisted of a 12-hour training program where trainees come to the center to receive their in-person training.

At the end, the trainee would receive a 3-ring binder filled with the training handbook that they could review and reference in the future if they had any questions arise in their groups.

It was obvious that the program needed a professional face to attract new trainees.

The 3-ring binder was also an outdated tool that was impossible to update once the handoff happened at the end of the training.

If trainees had more specific questions, they’d have to call The Christi Center, taking away precious mental resources that the Christi Center staff needed to save for the bereaved.

Learning More About the Trainees and Framing the Problem

From observation, Grief Connections needed a website to serve as a marketing tool for the program and also function as a digital handbook for trainees of the program.

Before researching further, one of our design nerds took initiative to learn more about the people who would be using the program.

They held a workshop with the main stakeholders of the Christi Center who was already familiar with these people and heard their needs.

From this workshop, our design nerd created some main users to design for. They also ran some exercises to find out what the Christi Center staff saw as Grief Connections value proposition.

These helped us determine that the brand voice should be warm, competent, personal, secular, and show expertise.

Designing the Website

With the target users identified, we moved onto wire framing the website.

Our design nerd took the results to the target users for testing and documented the results.

Feedback often centered on the clarity of the message, and the subject’s understanding of how the Grief Connections program actually worked.

Designing the Logo

Designing the brand identity for Grief Connections, the logo needed to connect with the current brand system of The Christi Center as it was a program offered under their services.

The logo is designed to feel welcoming and comforting.

Subtle gradients using purples from the Christi Center are used and a transitional serif typeface paired with a grotesque sans serif keep the look contemporary.

Designing the Landing Page

Due to the scope of the project, the website design was divided into two phases: the landing page was phase one, the training manual is phase two.

The goal of the landing page was to represent Grief Connections as a customized program that utilized the over 30 years of expertize of the Christi Center staff to train new facilitators to learn how to run grief support groups in their own communities.

Using a soft palette of purples and yellows, the connection to the Christi Center brand was honored while also giving Grief Connections it’s own distinguished look.


All illustrations were custom designed with the aim of representing a diverse group of people since grief touches us all.


The outcomes of this project is Phase I of the website (the landing page). Coming soon, Phase II will launch the Grief Connections online handbook. The project is currently on pause due to COVID19 and will be resumed in the future.


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