This spring, our USGBC design and marketing team decided to switch gears with our current SITES advertising campaign. SITES is used by landscape architects, designers, engineers, planners, ecologists, architects, developers, policymakers and others to align land development and management with innovative sustainable design.
Because SITES touches so many different people, we decided to focus on people themselves, to drive home the connection to the professional. Currently, the SITES team is highly focused on growing the credentialing program. They are interested in driving registration for the SITES AP exam, and the new print ad needed to support that goal.
The SITES AP establishes a common framework to define the profession of sustainable landscape design and development and provides landscape professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and commitment to the profession.
When designing, I always start by pulling as many photography options as I can before moving into layout. I pulled 16 different photos, and then started laying out the ad with the given copy. I went through three design rounds before landing on two final layouts that connect with the SITES audience.
Next, I decided the photos and typography could stand alone, without any additional design elements to tell the SITES AP story. The ads are simple and concise, and the message is clear. Check out the project over on our Work page!
You might find it unusual that an organization so focused on the environment would design printed marketing collateral. In this “print to digital” day and age, why would you rely on paper to promote your message?
While curbing wasteful printing has always been a priority for our USGBC marketing and communications team, sometimes paper speaks louder than a screen. In fact, science shows that paper can be more effective and memorable than digital.
When we sat down to strategize our marketing for Arc, a digital platform designed to help building projects collect, manage and benchmark their performance data, we knew we needed to supplement our heavily digital-centric marketing with a standout print brochure.
The goal was to create an impactful leave-behind to complement the team’s sales efforts. The brochure would be used in meetings and presentations and distributed at various events. The team got started on the design, aiming to have the brochure ready for distribution at Greenbuild Europe, which took place in April in Berlin, Germany.
The trifold design brochure conveys Arc’s innovative and data-centric functionality, with simplicity and ease of use. Its compact size (5.66 by 16.98 inches) is portable, but large enough to accommodate the perfect amount of information, so it’s useful to our customers. The die cuts add dimension and make the brochure eye-catching and modern.
Per our printing guidelines, the brochure was printed on Mohawk Options paper stock, using soy-based inks by a local FSC Certified printer.
Dynamic, inspirational and bringing together the green building community worldwide…these were some of the ideas that guided us through our international Greenbuild rebrand at USGBC earlier this year. As part of our event strategy, we aim to evolve the look of the show branding to touch on different topics and trends, while maintaining the core Greenbuild aesthetic as a thread. With one year of international shows under our belt, we were looking forward to the evolution of the visuals, based on our experiences.
After our inaugural year using the colorful city skylines with Greenbuild China, India, Europe and Mexico, we kept the existing logo lock-ups with the location, along with the bright color palette, and used that as a base to expand the look.
We continued the use of our bright color palette for international Greenbuild events.
We aimed to fuse those pieces together with elements that would adapt and flow from city to city, as well as tie in the overall “Human x Nature” Greenbuild theme in a way that was unique to the international market. Using the “x” from the theme on an expanded scale, we blended it with photography and gradients to create a colorful and engaging element for the look of show, as well as accenting designs as a smaller repeated detail for visual interest.
We used the “x” in subtler design elements as well.
We then incorporated more of the “human” part of the theme, with photography featuring people from past events playing a key role in the overall design. This manifested in a unique and fun way, where the “x” served as a holding shape for images, providing glimpses of attendees among the dynamic graphic elements.
We played with using images of people in the “Human x Nature” theme.
We are excited by how this rebrand is already appearing in printed pieces, advertising and websites, and are looking forward to seeing it in action at the show for the first time, this October at Greenbuild China.
We’re ready for Greenbuild China.
TRUE, formally ZeroWaste, is a whole-systems approach aimed at changing how materials flow through society, resulting in no waste. TRUE Zero Waste promotes processes that consider the entire life cycle of products used within a facility.
Because of the various trademark challenges, the ZeroWaste brand needed to be renamed and rebranded. Originally, the creative brief for this project toggled between two options for the new name: “Minuswaste,” which does not include the zero waste terminology and was difficult to trademark, and “TRUE,” which stands for Total Resource Use and Efficiency.
The goal of this rebranding project was to create a full identity package, including logo design, style and usage guidelines. One of the challenges with this identity was to create a logo that reflects a zero-waste life cycle in a minimalistic form. The client wanted to convey a future-focused and innovative brand and included these samples as inspiration:
I began my usual three-step process for developing this new identity: research, sketch, revise and finalize.
It’s important to see what’s already in the ether of logo design. What’s trendy right now? What’s classic? What styles really work for the industry? What is the client’s mission? Once I had a solid understanding of ZeroWaste’s mission, it was time to get the best possible understanding of what the client does to achieve this mission and who the target audience is.
I presented several initial ideas. Here are some of the initial designs:
I created new versions of the initial ideas, based on the feedback given by the client.
After submitting the final round of revisions, a design was chosen. At that point, all that was left was to put together the last few pieces of this identity puzzle:
- Logo details (logo color, spacing and sizes, etc.)
- Color palette
- Applications and examples of usage (web, print, etc.)
The final logo embodies a nontraditional, continuous cycle using bold, clean lines. Ultimately, the redesign achieved a clean, minimalist design while maintaining the integrity of TRUE’s mission. The new identity is flexible to adapt to all media and presents a modern, professional aesthetic for longevity.
Feature image: Photo by Amanda Gann, courtesy of AIGA DC.
I’m so excited to finally share the news! Our TRUE Zero Waste Certification System branding package, designed by USGBC’s senior graphic designer, Nia Lindsey, was recognized by AIGA DC as one of the 50 best created in Washington, D.C., over the past two years. AIGA 50 honors design that makes an impact, and over 400 entries were submitted for the 2018 competition.
Many from our team were able to accept the award in person at the 15th biennial AIGA 50 Gala, where we rubbed shoulders with some of the top creatives in the area. View all the winning work from 2018.
TRUE Zero Waste is a program for businesses to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals, thereby reducing their impact on the natural environment and our collective health. With that in mind, the goal was to create a logo and brand that was innately simple and minimal, while at the same time flexible and adaptable. The final logo embodies a nontraditional, continuous cycle using bold, clean lines.
You don’t need to be an email geek to know that email marketing isn’t dead. In fact, email marketing has an average ROI of 3,800 percent.
Whether you’re working on a one-off email or a nurture campaign, keep these tips in mind for a better email experience.
Write like a human.
Remember that your email is being sent to a fellow human being, and write accordingly. Write in a conversational, trustworthy and upbeat tone. Be concise!
Original copy: The LEED Steering Committee recently added select Parksmart measures to the LEED innovation catalog.
Edited copy: Boost your LEED project score with Parksmart.
Cut the text.
An email is not a webpage. The copy should serve as a teaser and encourage the reader to take action.
Get creative with format.
No one wants to read long paragraphs of text. Use icons or bullets to break down information so it’s easier to read, especially for viewing on mobile.
Original copy: “The benefits of Parksmart are that it enables a frictionless experience for your garage user and the environment through removing parking headaches, welcoming and encouraging cyclists and beautifying your garage”
Reformatted copy: The layout below conveys the same information in a format that’s easier to read:
Include a clear call to action.
What is the one takeaway of the email? What is it that you hope your audience will do with the information? Don’t be afraid to get creative with your CTA either.
Look at your own inbox to see emails that stand out to you. Visit Really Good Emails for some email inspiration.
Use A/B testing.
Don’t be afraid to test! Every email is a chance to learn something new about your audience. Test your send time, subject line or “from” name.
As part of the USGBC marketing and communications team, our design team works on many kinds of projects, from brand identity to article images to print collateral. Not content to rest on their current expertise, they are constantly seeking out what’s new in the design world and incorporating ideas from the wider world into their projects.
Here’s a quick roundup of some of the websites where they find inspiration:
Annie Patton, Director, Creative Services
- I like Fast Co. Design. They send out a daily newsletter focused on articles relating to design and business. They cover lots of different topics and industries, which gives me the opportunity to look at our work from a different perspective.
Amy Civetti, Art Director
- Brand New is a division of UnderConsideration, chronicling and providing opinions on corporate and brand identity work. The reason I love the “reviewed” section of the blog is that they cover current design trends and show what the updates look like. It’s a really great way for me to stay up to date on other branding out there that I may not otherwise be exposed to.
- Resource Cards is a growing list of free resources that help creatives with their next project. I love this because it pools tons of resources into a really easy-to-use page. I have a few go-to free sites in my brain, but when I am struggling to find something, I know I can go to resourcecards.com and find some alternatives!
Nia Lindsey, Senior Graphic Designer
- When creating new brand identities, developing the color palette is my favorite part. I love that Coolors presents the colors full width, with most of the necessary color values calculated.
- Mattson Creative‘s design blog is, hands down, one of my favorite design studios. Every post inspires me to find unconventional ways to innovate and perfect my craft. They recently completed Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary identity, and it is amazing! #goals