Locomotive: The Digital Engine That Could

november 29, 2019

Soraya Mamiche

The creative masterminds behind the front-end of our new website

An interview with Locomotive

Locomotive is a web agency based in Montreal that offers a wide range of creative and strategic services for brands, companies, foundations, and other organizations. They designed our amazing new website pro bono. To learn more about the creative minds behind our website, we decided to stop by their office and ask them a few questions.

Meet the Team

What do each of you do at Locomotive?

JF: I’m Jean-François Chainé, and I’m one of the co-founders of Locomotive.

L: I’m Louis Paquet, and I’m the creative director here at Locomotive. I did the design for the website and made sure the development was on par with our vision for the project.

We all know someone who had blood cancer

How did you end up connecting with Swab The World?

JF: My sister, Marie-Christine, had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and three relapses. I was not a compatible donor, but the doctors found someone in Germany who was. I am touched to see that, 18 years later, she is still alive and completely cancer free. When I heard Mai’s story, I was moved, and we got an amazing feeling with Mai and Christiane. They are genuine and amazing people. We decided it was a good project for us to bring our creativity and vision together to give back a bit.

S: Did your sister meet her donor?

JF: Yeah, my sister’s donor, Sabine, came to Trois-Rivières from Germany, and they spent a week together.

L: That’s really cool.

JF: They spent a couple of days together. I’m amazed people are able to meet the person whose life they saved. When they bring the box of bone marrow it’s wild, but it works. I was 22 when she got diagnosed. I was doing my internship for my bachelor’s degree and had to go home because I just thought she would die, but 18 years later she is still alive. After three relapses, many people would have given up and said they might not be tough enough to go through chemo, losing your hair, and so on.

S: I think it’s amazing how you can find your genetic match living in a completely different country, and they can end up saving your life.

JF: The craziest part is that it’s been made for white people, and realizing this is troubling. That’s why we were so moved by Swab The World’s initiative. If we can even do a little thing to help, then that’s what we want to do.

L: We hope people will go on the website and learn a lot about swabbing. It helps having real-life stories. I got swabbed a few years ago when I heard Mai’s story because it touched me. That’s why we also wanted to create a website that was different, something people will share because they think it’s cool. The more people share it, the more people will get to see these stories and perhaps swab.

Features to keep an eye out for when visiting the site

What inspired the design for Swab The World's new website?

L: We wanted to play around with colors because it ties into the main subject behind Swab The World. There are many different cultures and races and that’s where it gets hard to find a donor. You need to have the exact same genes and lineage, so finding a donor is especially difficult for people who aren’t white. We wanted to play around with the colors to highlight this. Every time you refresh the website it’s an entirely different color palette. On the website we explain “the world is a colorful place. Show your colors, let’s keep it that way.” We went all out with the colors because we wanted to accentuate the fact that the world is full of colors. We also wanted something that was big and bold and in your face. We wanted a positive message rather than a negative message.

JF: We’ve been working with nonprofits and have always tried to convey a positive message and not to go by fear. We want to offer positivity throughout the website experience. We are not big fans of using fear.

L: But other than the color palette, the main focus is really the message and getting people to go through the process and find where to donate and how to donate.

JF: We want to give a voice to the organization, and I think it can help to have something robust when you want to move people towards a certain goal. I think you need to have a solid digital ecosystem to do that.

How Locomotive Chooses Pro Bono Projects

Could you tell us a bit about the process of creating the site?

L: Especially when it’s a pro bono project, it’s important that the team has fun doing it. That’s why the partners take the time to talk with the team to make sure it’s a project that interests everyone.

JF: We like to ask everyone if they’re onboard. We choose projects that fit our values. We don’t have a specific budget per year, we just go with our hearts and see how much time we have to make it. But, with this one, we thought we could make a difference by following the trend of Mai. We just believed it would be fun to work on. We don’t ask for any tax-breaks for donations. We do something like this because we believe in the cause. We just do it because we think it can help the cause.

L: Helping out foundations like this, especially when it comes to Montreal and when it has a huge impact like this, is great.

JF: We’re just excited to tackle the next project that moves us. And it can really come from anyone on the team. We might get the opportunity to help someone and if it moves someone on the team, then we might take it just because we are genuinely nice people and this is what we do best. We believe we can help people who really need it.

L: At the end of the day, if this website gets people to swab around the world and save any lives, then the job is done.

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