ACE, Canoga Park, California Alternative High School

Alliance for Community Empowerment (ACE) is a is a nonprofit community-based organization and an alternative charter school located in Canoga Park, California. Their mission is “to empower marginalized communities by providing education/ vocational programming, personal enrichment, and supportive services through collaboration and community action.” Social Impact DesignHub worked with the Alliance for Community Empowerment (ACE) and its students to create a new logo identity, brochure and information poster about their various programs. The logo was developed into a sign placed on the building of the school. Another Impact DesignHub team also worked on the creation and concept of the website.



To get a better understanding and overall feel of ACE/ RUTH Youthbuild, the branding team, Disa, Manuel, Halle, Brittney, Deep, and Karin took a trip to the ACE campus and visited the staff and youth. After visiting their campus, the team invited the youths of ACE to visit CSUN for a tour of the Art Department as well as conduct interviews. The interviews provided the team with knowledge about how the organization works and how the empowering approach, student-body driven, represents the brand and the name, Alliance for Community Empowerment. 


Above are photographs of some of the many white board notes taken during studio discussions and ideation on the ACE project. 

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The Impact DesignHub team presented a SWOT analysis, moodboard ideas, and suggested tag lines for the brand. 

In order to help the organization improve, the group spent two weeks developing and reworking the SWOT (Strengths.Weaknesses.Opportunities.Threats) Finding that there were severe weaknesses in their website after discussing how the youth became knowledgeable about ACE, the group decided to do a SWOT of the website and social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook) specifically and then later expanded to doing a SWOT of the organization as a whole.  

Website wire-frames were started but put on hold since the team was lacking knowledge web developement. It was later discovered that ACE uses the server Weebly (a drag and drop website builder that uses a monthly payment system). 

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This mood board was created based on the understanding the school and various programs. It was used as the basis of how the brand and identity would be constructed.

Brand Identity & Promotion

Logo designs were sketched and designed. 

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The DesignHub team presented the example of the CSUN university’s logo and seal. They made an argument for having both and not using the seal as the logo only. The ACE stakeholders agreed and took the presentation back to their school to obtain feedback and vote on the logo direction.

ACE Logo File

The above logo mark was chosen and the DesignHub team began their design process again to include the logo in the promotional materials. 


This poster was designed to provide the students, staff, community, and donors with a better understand of how the school and its various programs are structured and utilized in the curriculum. 


DesignHub also constructed ACE’s website, using design-thinking strategies. Designers worked directly with all the stakeholders to understand, test, and develop the best online website for the school and its stakeholders.

As part of the design-thinking process, students participated in several discussions and observations with the ACE high school students and staff. Using Empathy Mapping, brainstorming, interviewing, and prototyping, and testing, solutions were developed.

Here is a segment of the internal documentation on the ACE project.  Written by the team:

Project Manager: Prakash Prajapati
Developer & Designer: Than Hai Do
Designer: Charles Deary
Social Media Content Designer: Samuel Garay.

The ACE team kicked off the project by having a formal meeting with the ACE director (Michelle Miranda) and a group of students who attend the ACE school. The meeting mostly consisted of getting to know the organization as well asking questions related to their needs pertaining to the website. We discovered that the current website did not promote their brand message of community and strength. We conducted several iterations of surveys and research before the process of ideation of the site began.

ACE’s pedagogical structure was based on an empowering model of democracy; students made decisions along with faculty and staff. Therefore, it was only appropriate to solicited the opinions of current students. After gathering all the information about the students, we were able to understand who they were, and thus prepare us for an appropriate direction of the website to their needs. The students wanted a clean, simple, and interactive interface, but also a place they too could be a part of the creation of the images and textual content on the site. 

We constructed wireframes and prototypes of mockups sites that could potentially be possible solutions for ACE.  Three solutions were presented which included a single page scroller, two other stylized websites and the imbedded snapchat and social media feed (with a Snapchat filter). After choosing a website we continued the process of gathering content; text, images, navigations, tabs, and many more. Collaboration was important to our process, so we were in constant contact with the students and staff; providing us with input and reflection on the sites function.

We conducted a final meeting to discuss the technicalities of the project, where we discussed the servers and hosting platforms as well as work with some students to teach them how to  maintain and run the site once our team was finished.  

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The site maps created were valuable in seeing the structure and flow of the content. (Click on the image to see a PDF of the maps.)

The website is used for registration, classes management, information, program planning, and donations.

About ACE

ACE serves young people with an holistic model of service, integrating multiple programs that serve as layers of support for young people address the various issues facing the communities: R.U.T.H. YouthBuild, Gang Reduction Youth Development (G.R.Y.D.), and ACE’s Career Academies.  All programming is FREE.

For further information on Impact DesignHub or if you are a nonprofit looking to work with us, please contact Dr. Paula DiMarco, |

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