A smart-growth nonprofit

Futurewise works to protect Washington’s wildlife habitat and natural resources through the betterment of urban spaces—making cities more accessible and equitable places to live and work, and preventing poorly planned sprawl.  The organization’s identity was not representative of its work, and its inconsistent brand expression was hampering communication and community rallying efforts. Phinney Bischoff was engaged with the goal of repositioning and clarifying the Futurewise brand to better support the organization in its important advocacy work.

Through stakeholder interviews and a thorough competitive audit, we identified an opportunity to position Futurewise as an effective advocate and resource by demonstrating focus and clearly communicating the organization’s impact. We built a brand platform that leverages Futurewise’s strengths and unique attributes to clarify and elevate its role in audiences’ minds. The platform is centered on a brand ethos of “Community Advancement Partners” and supported by a manifesto that marries Futurewise’s fundamental beliefs with the specific support they provide to local governments, urban planners, donors and activists.

We then extended the brand platform into a messaging framework to consistently guide the organization through both internal and external communications. The framework outlines key messaging pillars and proof points that most effectively communicate to audiences the reasons to believe in and support Futurewise: a clear action plan with demonstrable results, the right partnerships to create thriving communities and long lasting solutions, and a proven commitment to the people and places it serves.

A framework for the future

This work culminated in a visual identity that reflects Futurewise’s multi-pronged approach to conservation and advocacy. The logo features an open square, referencing both the roughly cubic urban spaces that humans are most drawn to, and the organization’s efforts to protect and maintain open spaces. In addition to creating a flexible color and photographic system that can be applied to different areas of focus—farms, cities, etc.—we designed an abstract set of program-specific illustrations to help set Futurewise’s communications apart.