Culture in Crisis

The V&A is globally recognised as the leading museum of art and design, housing over 2.3 million objects of human creativity.

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“This free digital resource and our Culture in Crisis programme is a demonstration of the V&A’s ongoing commitment to protecting the world’s cultural heritage and supporting communities that suffer cultural loss.”

Tristram Hunt

The Challenge

As part of the museum's commitment to supporting communities that suffer cultural loss through conflict, criminal acts or natural disaster, the Culture in Crisis programme brings together those with a shared interest in protecting cultural heritage and provides a forum for sharing information, inspiring and supporting action and raising public awareness.

Kind were commissioned to build a portal to share data on the funding of cultural heritage projects to help add clarity to the decision making process and better inform future funding allocations.

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Strategic Thinking


The portal would have one key function: the ability to search for projects based on various forms of metadata. Therefore it would be useful to vastly simplify the user experience and interface.


While the Culture in Crisis portal would be owned by the V&A, the plan for its future was for it to be owned by the community of funders that will use it.

Therefore we would have to create a simple identity that could be instantly recognised and had no visual link back to the museum's brand.

Time poor audience

The funders who would be using the portal to search for project information and even upload their own data have very little time on their hands. The solution would need to be extremely fast, intuitive and stable to avoid frustration which could lead to abandonment.

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Super-fast hosted search

We have used Algolia a number of times and are big advocates of its many benefits. It was perfect for this project. By indexing all of the project data at the point of save, Algolia allows us to build a Google-speed search interface that makes load time insignificant.

On-boarding with a personal touch

As many of the founding funders had an extremely large number of completed and active projects to add to the database, it didn't make sense to ask them to enter them one-by-one into the content management system.

Instead, we personally imported the relevant data from supplied spreadsheets in a matter of seconds.

Identity design

After our research into the Culture in Crisis programme, its activities and content, we devised an mark based around the columns of many ancient and endangered sites, as well as the initials CiC.

To partner this mark, we curated a colour palette and font based on ancient symbols and a mixture of colours representing danger, crisis, intellect and history.

Presenting the concept with video

The benefit of working with an agile process is that when a client throws us a curveball we can generally handle it. Towards the end of the project it became clear that the best way to present the portal to its intended audience would be by video link to America.

To attempt to avoid any of the usual pitfalls of video conferencing, we created an explainer video which could be hosted online and streamed without the need for a screen-share.

And it was planned, filmed, edited and online in less than a week.

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See the finished product at: