Children’s defense fund


The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked for more than 40 years at federal, state and community levels to ensure a level playing field for all children. Through its policies and programs, CDF’s mission is to lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; ensure access to health care and quality education; and provide a moral and spiritual foundation.

A modern identity, website, and updated digital strategy enabled CDF to communicate the important work they do and future-proof its identity. The website needed to address CDF’s broad mix of advocacy, programs and services, and make an extensive library of policy-related content accessible to legislators and policy makers.

IBM iX created a clear information architecture and navigation hierarchy. A vibrant design system reflects the youthful population it serves and an optimistic outlook. A responsive, modular template can easily be reproduced and maintained by a small team at CDF. The new website has helped CDF bridge a major leadership transition, expand outreach and implement a new donation strategy.


CDF UX annotated.jpg
  1. A dropdown menu presents a clear information architecture. This primary navigation device articulates CDF’s areas of focus and makes it easy for a user to understand and move through the site.

  2. Calls for donation are seamlessly integrated into the content and navigation, allowing users to easily access the donation portal at any point in their experience without it being intrusive.

  3. Color-coded headers define each of the policy priorities

  4. Subnavigation makes it easier for users to navigate between policy sections. 

  5. Lengthy, technical policy text is broken into manageable chunks and enlivened with illustrations, photography and icons, making the content easier to consume.


CDF visual design annotated.jpg
  1. The logo preserves the organization’s existing boat illustration, which was adopted in 1974 and of great significance to CDF’s founder, Marian Wright Edelman.

  2. The team created a design language that was inspired by childhood and pushed it in a more modern direction through the use of color, pattern and typography. Hand-drawn, irregular shapes have a playful quality; a friendly font and bright, modern palette convey a sense of optimism. A library of abstract patterns and colors can be used across a wide spectrum of topics, from light-hearted to serious.

  3. 4. 5. The identity is designed to work across channels and on merchandise.


CDF tech annotated.jpg
  1. We transitioned the entire organization (1 national site, 6 state sites, 1 site for Haley Farm) to a single CMS.

  2. We streamlined costs and simplified site maintenance with a single login experience for all 8 sites.

  3. A new, optimized donation flow enables additional payment options and features. The mChose platform can export reports and integrate with SalesForce/BlueWolf. CDF now accepts Google Pay, Apple Pay, bank transfers, and employer matching. They can also provide end of year tax information and PDF receipts which promotes transparency critical to non-profit credibility for donors.

design team

IBM iX | Pei Hsieh (UX), Greg Gennaro (UI / Visual Design), Sean Loyless (Development)