Kew Guild

Strategy, UX, Design, Development, and content creation


Laying the groundwork for future membership growth while nurturing a rich horticultural heritage.

Established in 1893, The Kew Guild was originally founded as an alumni organisation for people who worked at the prestigious Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Its aim was to bind horticulturists through their knowledge, passion, and experience at one of the world’s most significant hot spots for plant science.

Today, the Guild maintains these networking roots but has also grown its remit to support horticulture’s future through funding awards and educational opportunities. Yoyo was tasked by the organisation to modernise its digital presence, ensuring the Guild’s links to the past were preserved while maintaining engagement with current members and encouraging connections with a new, younger generation on the back of a more open membership policy.

The Kew Guild’s legacy website did little to engage users and promote the organisation’s benefits. In addition, various admin tasks, such as membership and grant applications, still relied on offline processes.

As such, the project’s discovery phase uncovered clear potential for the new site to become more of a digital interface to the organisation and to create a more dynamic impression of the Guild through sharper design and content. The Yoyo team also drew on available audience insight to guide the creation of user journeys and to establish a simpler sitemap, taking into account the personas of the different generations of users.

From a visual perspective, the site had to find a delicate balance as both an unashamed celebration of the Guild’s history and a statement of its current relevance. It was important to draw a line of continuity between both points, linking past with present and also pointing towards the Guild’s future.

The design team captured this essence through the bold use of a heritage-feel serif font and evocative archive photography. This was then juxtaposed with fresh, high-definition modern imagery and the use of interactive features, such as scrolling effects and navigation devices, to create a distinctly contemporary look and feel. All the while, the user experience is anchored by the fixed navigation containing the crest of The Kew Guild.

As a registered charity with limited resource, The Kew Guild required support with initial content creation as well as the means to easily manage ongoing updates.

Yoyo answered this by dovetailing copywriting into the latter stages of the design process, helping the Guild crystallise and communicate key messages and member benefits. In addition, by building the site on Umbraco, the Guild was provided with a user-friendly content management platform with the flexibility to accommodate future developments in functionality. 

Yoyo’s integrated approach guided the development of the site smoothly from planning to design, build, content population, test and staged launch.

Throughout this phased process, there was close liaison with Kew Guild trustee Maxine Briggs, the client-side project lead, whose contribution was invaluable to the project’s success. The collective result is a site that, through its creative direction and user experience, delivers on an ambition of staying true to the Guild’s origins while also putting the organisation on a new digital path to be embraced by current and prospective members alike.

This was such a brilliant project to be part of. The client and internal project teams worked closely together to deliver an impressive new website, one which represents the past, the present and the future of The Guild.

Megan Deefholts - Delivery Partner, Yoyo