Case Study

National Business Aviation Association

NBAA, the National Business Aviation Association, is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses successful, efficient, and productive. NBAA gathers, translates and publishes operational and managerial data linked to business aircraft’s safe, efficient and cost-effective use. Founded in 1947, and based in Washington, D.C., NBAA serves more than 11,000 companies, provides more than 100 products, and services its community, including the world’s largest civil aviation trade show, the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition.


  • Digital Discovery and Strategy
  • Website Design and Development

NBAA’s previous website was rich in information, but the wealth of content didn’t fit its digital mold. In a world of acronyms, NBAA was not well-recognized. It was important that the organization be accredited for its positive impact on the business aviation industry, and to have a website that effectively communicates the exclusive aviation data it releases first to the public.

NBAA had all of the building blocks needed to create a successful website, it was simply in need of new digital framework and fresh design to make it effective. The leading aviation association was in need of a redesign to achieve better content management, more advanced search options, and better technologies to meet the organization’s growing needs.

Prior to this project, Bates Creative worked on NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider bi-monthly magazine in both print and digital, which helped the agency get started with a firm understanding of the overall NBAA brand, its members, its audience, and its mission.

To develop NBAA’s navigable online presence, NBAA tapped Bates Creative to redesign its website with development partner Unleashed Technologies. Bates Creative led the creative strategy and design, and teamed with Unleashed Technologies to develop and launch the new site.

Designing the New Website’s Direction

Bates Creative dug below the surface to ensure the proposed design solutions met the goals defined at the start of the project. The discovery team outlined the key components of the existing website, including everything that was working and what needed to be addressed and optimized.

With the abundance of content NBAA publishes, the ingredients for an engaging website were there, it just needed a platform that made content easily accessible, organized, and relevant to NBAA’s membership. The new website design needed to make reading content on all devices simple and user-friendly, which was accomplished by grouping content together in subcategories for users to find information quickly. In addition, it was important to highlight NBAA’s important role in its Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, and to integrate its publication content into the website.

Crafting the Design Solution

With the defined goals of the redesign, the team created a number of page templates to accommodate the varying types of content and to give NBAA flexibility in choosing which pages to deploy.

A style guide custom-built to follow NBAA’s recent rebrand directed the creation of different template designs. The guide outlined elements to incorporate, including simple text and legible font, primary colors of deep and light blues with secondary accents of grey, dark orange and green, and an accordion drop down expansion to easily preview text-heavy content.

The team played with different formats, layouts, and integrations of the color palette to offer various concepts for the new design. NBAA chose the design direction with a white-heavy backdrop using color accents throughout to give the website a simplified and clean aesthetic. NBAA was further drawn to this version because it felt more open, simplified, and airy, which ties in directly with NBAA’s focus: airplanes. The blue hues and movement from page to page within the design felt bright, swift, and reminded the client of its aviation focus.

The Bates Creative team presented a final design that solidified their full understanding of the NBAA brand. With the team’s knowledge of NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider publication, they knew exactly which direction to follow to ensure brand consistency across all NBAA channels.

Infusing Design into the Website

With the design direction finalized, the team worked with its development partner to implement the design into NBAA’s new WordPress CMS. Elements of the original website were kept to keep the integrity of the brand, but the main menu and home page were reinvented to do three key things: establish who NBAA is to all website visitors, make events easily accessible and well-known, and recruit and acquire new members.

To reach potential website visitors and amplify attention of NBAA’s refreshed website presence, the development team integrated advanced search terms. The advanced search terms implemented are designed to increase traffic, eliminate confusing site navigation, and help visitors find precise content searched for.

Upon a visitor’s arrival to the homepage, they are welcomed with a slideshow highlighting aviation imagery to make NBAA’s focal element obvious. When the user’s eyes migrate to the main menu, the first drop down title answers the question: “What is Business Aviation?” As the user experience continues, a short scroll down organizes the top recently published content for visitors to explore. An icon-style event calendar draws attention to upcoming industry events, with details on NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, and links to a new page full of future and archived event information. At the end of the homepage, there’s a call to action to join NBAA with simple bullets highlighting membership benefits.

The newly launched NBAA website is now a place both rich in information, while also clean and organized for all who visit.