Collaborative Funders’ Table - Atom Studio
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Collaborative Funders’ Table

Learning briefs

Making long-form documents about complex issues simple and easy to read – by design.


The Calgary Funders’ Table (CFT), an affiliation of grant makers for non-profit programs that create entry-level jobs for Opportunity Youth, engaged Atom to produce a series of learning briefs about the best practices for employers to hire (and retain) workers from this economically challenged demographic.

As a social mission-driven alliance that works together informally, CFT hadn’t yet developed guidelines for a public-facing brand that Atom could follow in designing the learning briefs’ look and feel. However, CFT’s requirements were very clear that the learning briefs needed to convey a sense of collaboration, curiosity and innovation. The project called for a highly accessible style overall, without feeling stuffy or academic.

Another important goal the Atom team needed to consider when it created a visual vocabulary for this series of long-form documents: The intended audiences for the learning briefs were varied, and each piece in the series required a narrative tailored to one of the three different primary audiences – funders, nonprofit agencies, or employers in a position to provide jobs.

Each separate brief needed to stand alone and convey the most relevant key points to only one of the three unique audience segments, while still sharing a common visual language of typography, form, imagery and colour that tied all of them together, as a series.



Starting with basically a blank slate, Atom kicked off the project for CFT by producing a mood board – an arrangement of inspirational images and materials that evoked the client’s core principles of public service and innovation. This creative approach ensured an efficient and thorough process for CFT to provide input on style and direction, before Atom dove into the actual document-design phase.

Based on the thematic development work of copywriter Melissa Innes, who brought the CFT project to Atom after checking out the studio’s portfolio online, the design team initially produced a cover and completed pages for only one of the learning-brief series. This enabled CFT to review and approve a single finished piece, before Atom rolled out the same basic visual language across the entire series of briefs.

What emerged from this highly creative but efficient process are seven separate long-form pieces with a shared design, combining an earthy colour palette, nuanced typography and textured illustrations that convey a decidedly organic and human feel.

The briefs serve as highly effective communication tools that – by design – visually convey a sense of positive change, enticing key decision makers to pick them up, flip through, read easily and learn how to recruit Opportunity Youth in Calgary.


Atom was super timely, really attentive and creative. They could take my words and turn them into something visual. The clients loved the product, and I’m definitely calling Atom again.

Melissa Innes
Lead Copywriter & Project Consultant for CFT

Learning briefs

The series of learning briefs share a visual approach with a sense of human connection and positive change, inviting their intended audiences to flip through and read.

The Team

  • Art direction: James Jensen
  • Design: James Jensen, Matthew Jacula, Kagari Kaneoka, Chandra Vermeulen
  • Writing: Melissa Innes
  • Project management: Evonne Tran

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