When 3mil met The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy

The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy was established as an independent body in 1910 and is the premier registration body for cats in the UK. 

The Background

We were recommended by our lovely partner NRG digital who produce animations for the GCCF and our work with Crufts for the Crufts site and Judges Critique sites held us in good stead!

We were fascinated by this organisation, essentially The Kennel club and Crufts together but with cats! We absorbed ourselves in the cat world, researching and learning everything we could so that with that insight we were best placed to win the pitch. Research is always a key part of what we do as we really like to get into all the history and the origins of an organisation to really understand what makes it tick.

Starting in 1910 at the beginnings of “cat fancy” a hobby described as “for the appreciation, promotion or breeding of cats” a small number of cat clubs started registering their cats which now has led to the GCCF being the largest organisation that registers cats in the UK. The National Cat Show was held at the Crystal Palace until 1936 when it burnt down on the eve of the show!

Images courtesy of The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.

The Challenge

During the pandemic there was a huge demand for pets and for cats this led to a growth in “backstreet dealers” for kittens and people who bred cats without any care of understanding of the welfare of the kittens themselves. The welfare and healthy breeding practices are key to the values of the GCCF and they have campaigned tirelessly to ensure that people are aware of the issues.

A Kitten’s guide to good breeders by NRG Digital

So, it was a very important time for the GCCF to help and advise people on how to buy a healthy kitten.

The Process

After the pitch process we started our discovery process with understanding the current content through a thorough audit of the site which had grown organically to thousands of pages and over 87,000 links!

Next we created personas, which are archetypes of the different types of user so that we can understand their needs and makes sure than when we created user journeys they could find the content they need as easily and quickly as possible.

Through understanding the GCCF’S strategy, the user needs and the current content we were able to map out a sitemap and the information architecture of the new site.

Then we could wireframe the information architecture looking at how best to structure the navigation and content. This meant we could look at the page structure with out being distracted by pretty pictures!

Initial sitemap and IA

We then created 3 completely different creative concepts to establish the design direction, which we then refined into one design route.

We followed our “step, jump. leap” methodology with these, which enables us to take the client on a journey from a small change ie a step from where they are, to a jump which is further away to a leap which is always a much more creative leap of faith! We find this helps our clients explore lots of different creative stimulus and see how far they want to go.

Step - "For the Cat Fancy"

The first design route was to design a clean, modern look and feel using the GCCF’s existing existing colour palette with a new more modern and friendly typeface. The page was split into clear areas for choosing, breeding and showing. The idea was to show all content for all audiences at once.

Jump - "For the Cat Fanciers"

The second route was designed to focus content by audience first, so therefore less content at once. We added another colour to the palette as an active link and then used a tab device to segregate content by user, these tabbed pages then could be used as campaign landing pages.

Leap - "Bringing Fancy back"

Now for something completely different! Celebrating the original fanciness of the Victorian era in which the cat fancy was born. Bringing back the visual heritage of Cat fancying with its fancy glyphs and profile silhouettes but in a fresh and modern way.

The final design route

Want to know more? Why not read the GCCF success story or visit the site here.

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