For twenty years, the Friends of Forest Park conducted their communications efforts like many non-profits: word-of-mouth, augmented by a hodgepodge of in-kind donations and powered by the staff’s elbow grease. As the Friends 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.
Pinch was engaged to develop an identity for the new organization that would serve its efforts to build bridges with larger corporate funding sources while maintaining the Conservancy’s grass roots. We chose not to be limited by one logo; instead we created an elegant monogram that could 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 base color is a young green, meant to reflect new growth; 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.
A small sampling of the marks used in community applications. Ultimately, we hope to have all 270 native species of plant and animal represented in the Conservancy’s bestiary of silhouettes. There are also other shapes in development, meant to reflect the various human activities occurring around the park: hiking, biking, trail maintenance, and so on.
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.
An example of a small application made to work harder. 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.
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.
The first issue of the Forest Park Quarterly since the re-brand. Note pilieated woodpecker silhouette on cover. The monograms are not meant as spot illustrations; they are deployed in the place of the corporate monogram as necessary, but restraint is crucial. The newsletter is now an eight-page tabloid printed in two colors on FSC-certified, 100% post-consumer-content paper. We are currently developing content guidelines that seek 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.