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
In a time when a lot of content marketing is done on the internet, writers and editors must consider the specific needs of readers who are accessing their articles online. Here are my top three tips for how to reach them with clear headlines:
1. Keep titles as short as you can.
Writing for a print layout gives you the luxury of being creative and clever with your titles, such as by using metaphors, imagery and colloquial turns of phrase. This often manifests as what I call “university press style”—a general phrase followed by further context.
Example: “Playing with fire: Global climate change and the catastrophic rise in forest fires in the American west”
However, writing articles for the web means your title needs to be concise. It will be squeezed into preview boxes in social media and into modules on webpages. If the title is too long, the whole line won’t appear. This limitation can be good, though—it forces you to focus on the main point of your article.
Edited version: “Study shows climate change worsens forest fires”
Titles must often fit within modules on a website layout.
2. Make titles describe what the article is actually about.
Making your title clearly reflect the subject of the article works on two levels. One, readers who are scrolling through content on their mobile devices or scanning a list of recent articles in an email digest are able to quickly see what content is available and to click on what’s relevant to them. Two, it’s good for SEO. Organic search terms will be reflective of readers’ keywords or questions, which tend to be very straightforward.
Be specific, and be factual, to reflect the news content or product you are writing about.
Example: “Leading with a sustainability mindset brings it all together”
Edited version: “Mayor of Anytown adds LEED certification to 2018 building code”
3. Use a number—listicles really do work.
The stats don’t lie. Our analytics have shown that readers love to click on pieces that break down a topic with a number, through titles similar to these: “Top 10 States for LEED,” “Top 4 benefits of installing solar panels,” “3 reasons to earn your LEED Green Associate credential.”
You don’t want to do this for every article, of course, and you must deliver on your title’s promise, not make it mere clickbait. But it’s a good idea to use numbers where appropriate in your content marketing, along with other terms that trigger the same sense of “this sounds easy!” For example, “Top 4 benefits of installing solar panels” could also be “How to install solar panels on your home” or “Simple steps to solar panel installation.” People google “how…” more than just about any other term. It’s all about making your content relevant to the reader.
USGBC’s LEED logo has become an iconic symbol of achievement in sustainability across the world. So, you may ask, why would we need to create a supplemental wordmark design? We set out to create a wordmark that could serve as a visual reference to the LEED rating system that we could share freely with our community, collaborators and others. Our intent is for them to be able to use our distinctive wordmark when referencing LEED in presentations, educational content and other applications.
We went through a design process, and covered a few rounds of possible designs. The main goal was to have the wordmark remain easily recognizable as the LEED brand, but not look too similar to our existing program logo. We wanted to make a departure from our standard colors associated with LEED, and also create a slightly more playful mark that didn’t feel as formal as the existing program logo.
The final design we landed on mimics the beveled font that our program logo uses for LEED. We wanted to maintain that clean, simple feel, but also introduce a new palette of colors that felt less formal. The three colors we used are Pantone 7416 C, Pantone 7751 C and Pantone 7690 C. The LEED wordmark must always appear in its standard colors or in one color.
Two versions of the wordmark are available. The full version of the wordmark includes “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” below the acronym “LEED.”
This project almost felt like a rebrand, because we had such an established personality for LEED already. We really had to tackle what this wordmark should mean, and how we wanted people to use it.
At USGBC, the PR and Communications team uses data analytics and insights to continually improve our media relations and external outreach strategy. I recently spoke on this topic during a PR measurement webinar for PR News, one of the prominent PR trade organizations, and in a series of follow-up articles for the PR News industry newsletter.
These articles discuss the ways we leverage data and measurement to inform our stakeholder strategy and how data’s importance is already inherent in USGBC’s culture and through the LEED green building rating system.
In the January 23 issue, I talked about specific tools my team uses to capture metrics, as well as our efforts to share data creatively, such as through videos and newsletters. Read the issue.
Then, in the January 30 issue, we delve more into the technological changes in PR over the years and how they have provided an opportunity to evolve and explore using data to better target specific local markets. Read the issue.