3D mockup of the Origins Untold website home page on an open laptop screen, along with a view of an events page on an iPhone screen

Origins Untold Website

Non-profit community arts
Giving the volunteer arts organisation Origins Untold a platform to promote news and community events celebrating the presence of African and Caribbean-heritage people in Southeast Kent, UK.
My role
Solo freelance web designer
Project time
5 weeks

Problem overview

  • Kate Beaugié website home page displayed on MacBook Air
  • Kate Beaugié website home page displayed on MacBook Air
  • Kate Beaugié website home page displayed on MacBook Air
Visit the website

Origins Untold is a volunteer arts organisation that presents music, poetry, visual arts, fashion, and food inspired by and created by people of the African diaspora. The organisation is primarily led by Aida Silvestri, a UK artist and photographer focused on migration issues, and Josie (Josephine) Carter, a UK artist, poet and spoken word performer. Aida moved to Folkestone several years ago and was driven to join Origins Untold to strive for change after suffering racial abuse in the street. Josie was born and raised in Folkestone, but she has never had a sense of a black community during her life there. She joined Origins Untold to make the people of Folkestone aware of racism and ultimately wants to end racism.

Origins Untold strives to unite the Folkestone community by hosting cultural, creative, and social events, including workshops, exhibitions, discussions, and performances on race and racism and celebrations of cultural diversity. However, they need help obtaining funding to sustain their annual programme of events. To mitigate this, they felt the need for a website to professionally promote their cause to potential funders while presenting clear and concise event information to the public.

How might we create a community-based events website that allows the public to find and attend public events quickly and efficiently while also attracting the attention of potential funders?

Research and analysis

I invited Aida and Josie to a strategy session interview so that I could get to know them and the organisation as much as possible and, ultimately, define the website’s goals. By asking a series of open-ended questions such as, ‘What would you most want to change about living here [in Folkestone]?’ and “What would an ideal day look like for you working within Origins Untold?’, I was able to build a comprehensive snapshot of their current situation and where they aspired to be in the future.

After the interview, I watched the recording, made Post-it Notes on a Miro board and then grouped my findings into common themes and opportunities. This research synthesis formed the foundation of the strategic plan to build their website, which I presented to them as a takeaway PDF document outlining my steps to bring them closer to achieving their goals.

Top insights:

  • Origins Untold was founded by the dearly departed Arikę Stan Grant, who died on 12th June 2020 and had moved to Folkestone after living in the melting pot of London. He strove to unite people from different backgrounds in the community with various independently run events.
  • Aida and Josie are very passionate and dedicated to their work with Origins Untold. If money were no object, they would do this work full-time.
  • Typically, Black history-related cultural events and topics are squeezed into one month to align with Black History Month every October. However, this can often be quite rushed and very stressful. Instead, they wanted to spread events across the year and escape the tired convention of seemingly having” permission” to discuss and explore race issues only throughout October.
  • They were generally frustrated by other local event organisers’ publishing of confusing information, sometimes containing defective links, so they were keen to present a more user-friendly approach to their audience.

Design concepts and prototyping

Aida and Josie felt the website should be visually impactful to immediately capture the visitor’s attention while being clear and straightforward to interpret and navigate. As their colleagues within the organisation are also creatives, they wanted to cover a wide range of categories beyond art, such as photography, written and spoken word, lifestyle, and music, and allow visitors to search for content relevant to their interests.

While narrowing the focus of the visual design to the home page, early concepts explored various ways of displaying a short introduction, current community events, categories, and a newsletter subscription call to action. Having these elements displayed on the front page would allow visitors to clearly and quickly see who Origins Untold is, see the schedule of live events that they could potentially attend, and connect with the organisation via social media.

The high-fidelity mockups explored a full-colour layout (Option A) with bright and bold colours and a very restrained black, white and grey layout (Option B). While they loved the colours of Option A, Aida and Josie preferred the cleaner look of Option B. Therefore, the design was iterated further by combining Option A’s colours with Option B’s cleaner layout to create Option C.

Overall, Aida and Josie felt that the design was beautifully executed and mirrored precisely what they had envisioned in the strategy session. This alignment with their vision made them feel understood and respected in the design process.

“’I can’t fault it… It’s brilliant! It’s so straightforward.”

Aida Silvestri

Origins Untold

Solution and impact overview

Aida and Josie were very pleased with the final WordPress website. They now have a solid online presence that provides clear and concise information for their audience and gives them a more professional appearance when applying for funding.

They were very impressed with my technical know-how and ability to transform a “muddle” of information into a clear and cohesive structure. I sincerely hope that Origins Untold’s new website helps them secure more consistent funding so that they can continue to do what they love. It was a pleasure to be a part of their journey.

“I received an excellent service. Thank you.”

Aida Silvestri

Origins Untold