Project: Brand development, for The Forest Park Conservancy

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The Forest Park Conservancy
Brand development

An identity for a non-profit organization protecting the nation’s largest urban park

For twenty years, the Friends of Forest Park communicated like many non-profits: word-of-mouth, augmented by a hodgepodge of in-kind donations and powered by the staff’s elbow grease. As they pondered their conversion to a conservancy, with the more complex business and political relationships implied by that model, they realized that since they were going to be a real business, they had better communicate like one.

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Monogram and wordmark

An elegant monogram designed to integrate with a variety of “green spots”: a sober, businesslike square for corporate use; and an assortment of silhouettes drawn from the Park’s 270 native species of flora and fauna for use with the greater community. The monogram contains a sweeping italic f interlocked with a solid, broad capital p: the forest moves with the seasons, but the park remains constant. One side of the monogram is always in contact with its governing form: the park is never closed.

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Working papers

Communication undertaken in the name of the Conservancy as a whole uses a corporate visual language: the square monogram, crisply organized typography, and is usually held to just one color for austerity’s sake. Also shown is the static window decal given to members.

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Outreach language

Yes, we put a bird on it. For communications with the greater community, we developed versions of the mark with the monogram placed inside silhouettes of all 270 native species of flora and fauna represented in park as well as other shapes meant to reflect the various human activities occurring around the park: hiking, biking, trail maintenance, and so on. Here, of course, is a T-shirt …

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Outreach language

… and a poster advertising a maintenance event taking place in autumn.

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Secondary stationery

Austerity in action. The Conservancy needed a simple a6 card for thank-you notes and other correspondence; they also need to issue invitations to various events regularly. We created an a6 using the corporate language as the base layer of a system that could be re-imprinted with the outreach language as needed. Here, you see the original blank card, imprinted in metallic silver with a pattern of leaves for an invitation to the Conservancy’s launch.

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Remittance envelope

While the Conservancy has many fundraising mechanisms operating at any given time, the humble No. 9 Remittance Envelope ends up as the vehicle for most of the organization funding. We rewrote their envelope with a strongly-worded call to action, and specific information about the nature of Conservancy membership so that if the envelope was separated from its carrier – the newsletter, say, or a cover letter – there would still be enough information for a prospect to make a decision.

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Quarterly newsletter

We changed Forest Park Conservancy Quarterly from a conventional letter-sized newsletter into an eight-page tabloid printed in two colors on FSC-certified, 100% post-consumer-content paper. We developed content guidelines to involve the Conservancy’s literary members (of which there are many) in an effort to raise the Quarterly beyond simple house organ. The Park is a special place; so, too, should its newsletter be.

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Covers

Covers from various issues. The Quarterly is meant to feel literate and approachable, mixing conservation thought-pieces with stories about the human effort to keep the park open and healthy.

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Departmental

Pages featuring short bits about the various entities responsible for managing the park, including a naturalist’s column focusing on what a visitor might expect to find in the park in a given season, and where.

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Feature

A typical treatment of a larger story, in this case the Park’s annual Day of Stewardship, wherein members volunteer to help on large projects in the park. We wanted to get as many faces as possible in the Quarterly to show that caring for a place like the Park takes real human involvement, and a lot of it.

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Institutional

Pages related to straightforward fundraising and/or mission language.

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Back cover

The back cover, apart from a mailing area, contained all the information a reader might need to become a member of the Conservancy (culled from the remittance envelope (see above), as well as a quarterly calendar for events in and concerning the Park.

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Credits/colophon
Agency
Pinch
Creative directors
Adam McIsaac
Eric Hillerns
Designers
Mark Conahan
Jaime Barrett
Illustrator
Mark Conahan
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