Toronto Public Library Foundation

Zeitguys was the agency behind the strategy, concept, visuals, key message writing and development of the new Toronto Public Library Foundation website. The donor-centric and analytics-supported approach we crafted focuses on creating the most accessible, ergonomic and streamlined workflow to drive visitors to complete their donation transaction.

The design, imagery and content is impactful and deliberately works within the guidelines of the Toronto Public Library brand to ensure that visitors know they are giving to the Library, not some Foundation of which they had no prior knowledge.


Living Content

One of the constant challenges we face in this era of Content Management systems is the tightrope walk between giving the Administrative user as much control as possible over the creation and management of content, and on the other end, delivering a compelling and varied visual design that is relevant to the specific content on the page.

We determined early on that the design of the Toronto Public Library Foundation website would be modular, rather than templated. So we built an intuitive and usable “front-end editor” to WordPress that allows a non-technical Administrative user to “assemble” a new page, from fragments of other content, with full control over order and grouping.

These fragments include images, icons, headings, excerpts, links to other content, and body copy. All are managed visually in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get layout.

Above, an administrator’s view; underneath, the public page.
Above, an administrator’s view; underneath, the public page.

Custom Illustration


With the major visual elements of the design being dominated by powerful full-colour photography, we felt that hand-illustrated accents could be effective highlight punctuation for key content and bring a softer, more approachable attitude to an otherwise serious and down-to-business look-and-feel.


These custom elements were all drawn in-house using a very modern workflow: the artist leveraged advanced drawing apps on an iPad using pressure-sensitive input devices that closely approach the feel of traditional pen-and-paper. Creating the drawings electronically enabled much faster prototyping and iteration, and immensely facilitated the conversion into resolution-independent vector line art that could be brought into the website and manipulated using conventional markup.

“The Toronto Public Library Foundation hired Zeitguys to completely overhaul our very dated website. We couldn’t be more happy with the result. The Zeitguys team led the process through strategy development, design, content development, usability, implementation and staff training. At each stage, Zeitguys showed a level of expertise that went beyond our expectations. The WordPress backend they tailored for our website is very easy to work with – even for those of us who are not digitally savy. I highly recommend Zeitguys for any web-based projects.”

Karen Devine
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Toronto Public Library Foundation
November 2014