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.
For our team, our jobs depend on our creative juices being ever-flowing. For at least five days a week and eight hours a day, we need to be able to turn it on and churn it out…on command. Eventually, the inevitable will happen: our brains will fart and ideas will refuse to sit next to us.
Now what? What happens when you’re standing on the verge of creative genius and you need the winds of inspiration to blow just right?
First, let’s break down what creative block is. I believe it was Captain Obvious who once said, “It’s a blockage of creativity.” However, this can mean various things for different creatives, but in its basic form can be defined as the inability to connect the dots and solve a problem.
Christina Huynh, our web content specialist, gives her expert definition of writer’s block: “In my opinion, it happens when you want something to be so perfect that nothing you write can possibly match your expectations…which winds up with you staring down a blank computer screen or obsessively tweaking a sentence. It’s the fear of not writing something good, and you break that barrier by writing everything down.”
The cause of the gobbledygook that crowds our mental space can run the gamut of internal criticism, recent rejection, illness, sadness…to just plain ol’ exhaustion.
Whatever the cause, there are a variety of ways to address this temporary inability to produce. Some may change their daily routine. Some may change their work environments to restart the creative process. One study shows that exposure to different cultures can awaken and improve one’s ability to solve problems by experiencing different perspectives. For others, solitude is an important part of the creative process. Finding time to get away from distractions may help rejuvenate the creative senses.
Sometimes, it’s the total opposite. “House/dance music is my go-to for writing! I feel like if my body is having a party, eventually my brain will have to join,” says media relations manager Leticia McCadden.
In case you need a little more than our wise anecdotes, GoodTherapy.org suggests some clinical ways of alleviating this block:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy places the main focus on the issue causing the creative block and helps the person in treatment identify and understand any connection between thoughts and behavior.
- Mindfulness-based approaches also help those in therapy recognize how one’s thought process may be connected to behavior, but these approaches aim to help individuals disengage from any harmful or negative thoughts.
- Art therapy can help individuals work through creative blocks by providing them with tools to inspire creativity and work through any issues that are blocking inspiration. The use of structured or unstructured art during a blocked period has been shown to help individuals overcome stalled creativity.
For the past couple of years, we have made diligent efforts to put online a lot of the collateral that had previously been printed in large quantities, such as our LEED in Motion Reports and our LEED collateral suite. Here at USGBC Studio, we have outlined the importance of creating digital content to capture a broader audience and create a smaller carbon footprint. We’ve also explained how we translate our print content online. When it came down to designing our annual report, it was an opportune time to practice what we preach. We wanted something dynamic, friendly, trackable and of course, cute. ????
The 2014 report weaves in quotes and highlights from USGBC+, and reflects on 2014 as a time of historic growth and change. From the stately black-and-white photography to the friendly color palette, we strived to create a theme that was simple, elegant and pleasantly nostalgic.
Around the holidays, all those mental notes we’ve collected throughout the year remind us of the things we want to do differently in the new year. These notions evolve into resolute commitments that we make to ourselves in order to become more awesome (as if that was even possible, right?). While thinking of my own, I asked several of my USGBC Studio teammates about theirs. Here’s what we’ve pledged to do in 2016:
Meal prepping isn’t the most efficient use of your Sunday afternoon when you have your favorite TV episodes to catch up on. Allow us to be the wind beneath your wings and help you turn over a new salad leaf. Voila: Chicken Gyro Lettuce Wrap! All the goodness, half the calories, prepared in less than five minutes. Heaven must be like this.
- Romaine lettuce hearts
- Pre-cooked chicken
- Cucumber-dill yogurt
- Feta cheese
Rinse lettuce, pat dry and lay on your preparation surface. Split chicken evenly among the lettuce wraps. Place onion and tomato on top of the chicken. Sprinkle feta. Add a dollop of yogurt. Bon appetít!
Choosing a color palette is my faaaaaavorite part of a project. When it’s time to choose the appropriate colors, I need my options unadulterated and in my face. I need minimal bells and whistles, so that I can laser-focus on my color task.
My tool of choice: The app formally known as Adobe Kuler, Adobe Color CC.
Adobe has recently renamed this popular app, which over the years has evolved from a simple web-based tool to Adobe Color CC, a color theme generator fully integrated into Creative Cloud.
The app’s basic functionality hasn’t changed, but Color CC lets you play around with and save various color themes. Each theme is a set of five colors. When signed into Adobe, you can sort and store these themes online in case you need to come back to them, and you can also browse through the themes of other users for inspiration.
Adobe Color CC is available in various browsers and as a desktop version. Since Adobe Color is integrated into every Creative Cloud application, if you’re using the desktop version, you can export a color theme into any CC app… which is super efficient, because I never have to toggle outside of my project to create a new theme or refer back to my old ones. I love being able to export my themes as swatches to pass to whoever needs a quick color reference for a branded product.
Who doesn’t love a good lunch? Something fresh and wholesome. What happens when your lunch happens to be 10 minutes sandwiched between meetings? You need a quick, simple yet satisfying solution…made with ingredients mostly found at your local farmer’s market.
Hello, Fast Food Friday.
Keeping with the theme of alliteration, I give you The Triple P: Petite Pita Pizza. (Say that 5x fast.)
Whole wheat pita
Tomato sauce (I used a homemade tomato basil marinara)
Mozzarella (fresh buffalo)
Toppings of choice (went with pepperoni today)
Basil (obligatory leafy vegetable element…also for flavor)
Assemble and pop into the microwave (HIGH setting) for 1 minute. The ingredients for The Triple P should yield at least a week’s worth of lunch. Save time and a few dimes.
So you have a plan… Great!
Your brainstorming session yielded some great ideas that are worth exploring. Now, on to finding the cream of the idea crop. Regardless of final output (print or digital), a minimum amount of sketching is involved. Help your team visualize the final product by going back to the drawing board… literally.
Sketching can be done a variety of ways, depending on the product. One thing rings true: start simple. By “simple,” I mean extremely minimal. Outline the framework by using very basic shapes to illustrate content placement. (ex: Website wireframes or process flow charts). No need for superhuman drawing skills. At this early stage, the goal is to develop structure and primary hierarchy.
Example: Process Flow Chart (A Morning Routine)
Not a fan of pen and pad? Need more cowbell? Try some of these apps for sketching:
OmniGraffle has an awesome range from the super simple to the uber detailed. Create anything! Make process graphics, decision trees and wireframes with the click and drag of a button.
With this sleek online application for web and mobile wireframing and prototyping, bring your sketches to life by uploading and simulating the interaction between sketches by adding hotspots. This programs turns your static screens into interactive prototypes with gestures, transitions, and animations. Collaborate with teammates by conducting user-testing and leaving comments in real time.
Take that whole pen and paper experience and throw it on an iPad to capture ideas quickly. All the ease and flexibility of hand drawing in a digital format.
Let’s backtrack a bit and recap why providing content digitally is so important: Digital content has a sustainable and measurable impact. The information is always in our back pockets via our mobile devices. Who wouldn’t want that type of exposure and access?
A message has the potential to transcend time and space! Ok, maybe that was dramatic, but you understand. lol
We have had the pleasure and opportunity to create the LEED in Motion report series. Super awesome info on everything from LEED in retail to LEED’s impact on people and places, both domestically and internationally. This series was presented at conferences and events as colorfully-illustrated, saddle-stitched handfuls of informative goodness on recycled paper. People loved them… Loved them so much that one of the problems we’d face at these events is that we’d run out.
Uh oh. *insert suspense*
Now, we have all these people who wanted information that we could not supply in that format. I know, I know… our souls cried a little bit, too. What could we do??? Put it online! Give folks the same information in a more accessible format by achieving three main goals:
- Make it mobile device ready: One tell-tale sign that we’ve arrived in The Future is that our mobile devices are pretty much extensions of ourselves. Devices are always on us: in our pockets, in our bags, and most often, in our hands. It has become imperative to always include some type of mobile strategy within any project deliverable, making sure pertinent information is also right there in consumers’ hands. So, making the LEED in Motion reports readily-available in any digital circumstance/event was a premier goal.
- Be responsive: One of the great things about life is that we’re given choices. Among those choices is the option to choose our devices and how we access information. Well, we want to be ready no matter what choice you make. Our content needed to be flexible to accommodate whatever platform it is viewed upon. Choosing a platform that is able to shift and provide optimal viewing across devices—desktop, phone or tablet—is of utmost importance.
- User-friendly content: Swipe. Swipe. Pinch. Swipe… This is how we talk to our main tools of global Internet access. It is with these gestures in mind that we have to re-create content that was once flipped page-by-page. Consuming large amounts of text via these tools is just not practical when on-the-go. With the new LEED in Motion reports, the content format has been improved for efficiency and easier consumption, finding the perfect balance between not-too-much and just enough. Lest we not forget the impact social media has on our lives. We need to be able to share things we’re excited about with the tap of a button, so including social integration is a must.
Keeping those goals at the forefront of our brainstorming, we were able to come up with some pretty sweet digital solutions, not just for our LEED in Motion report series, but our LEED collateral suite as well. Besides being more sustainable by eliminating the need for paper and ink, the biggest benefit is that digital information is measurable. We have the opportunity to gauge how effective our content is. We can know what really matters to you, the consumer, and tailor our information so that it both useful and informative for you.
Coming up with a theme based on “convergence” ended up being an interesting process. By “interesting,” I mean not at all what I expected.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” The first thing I did when I heard the proposed theme was Google it. I wanted to see what imagery had already been run into the ground, like the obvious notions of one-point perspective / “converging” lines / groups of people, etc., so I could steer clear of it.
Though it seemed every organization and its mom had the same theme in 2014, none of the imagery pulled in the search query really played on any of the aforementioned motifs! Color me flabbergasted (fluorescent beige)… And here I was preparing my thinking cap to propel me far, far outside of the box. Even with that discovery, I still was not totally committed to doing the obvious, I asked myself, “Self, what converges?” I began to answer that question with the following stream-of-consciousness:
Direction… Skyline. Lines. People come together.
*insert brief karaoke moment: The Beatles’ “Come Together” hook*
Meh, obvious. What else? Color…YES, COLOR! *Writes that down*
*puts on magical thinking music: Hiatus Kaiyote’s Choose Your Weapon album*
Music, converges….JAZZ!!! What does jazz look like though? Jeff Donaldson’s Jam Packed and Jelly Tight. Yep….wait…OMG!!!
San Diego. Beach. JAZZ ON THE BEACH!… How many vacation days do I have left?… Water…
*writes that down*
Great energy in the form of vibrant color. Shapes converging, a merging of the minds. Arrows, pointing at each other. Movement in the direction of progress that starts with you and me.
Several drafts later… and the rest is history.