We Love L.A.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve historic architectural and cultural resources throughout Los Angeles County. Over the years, the organization was increasingly plagued by inconsistent branding as well as misperceptions that it serves only a narrow field of antiquarian architecture. We updated the brand across the organization’s myriad communication vehicles while recognizing its history and the diversity of its efforts.
New Life for an Old Friend
The redesigned logo features an updated version of the architectural capital that has represented the Conservancy since 1982. The updated capital still conveys the Conservancy’s strength, stability, and devotion to historic architecture, while a stylized palm tree identifies the organization as unmistakably Los Angeles.
The typeface, Futura, was designed in 1927 by Paul Renner, a typographer whose work is seen as a bridge between traditional and modern typefaces—fitting for an organization that works to bridge L.A.’s past and future.
An Identity for All Los Angeles
The new Conservancy logo was conceived as part of a system of icons that depict specific buildings and styles that can be seen throughout L.A. County. The system can be mixed and matched to form endless combinations, and gives the Conservancy a cohesive identity while conveying the diversity of its efforts.
The refreshed color palette derives from four ecologies of Los Angeles: blue skies, green hills, red sunsets, golden sands.
An series of smart logos for the Conservancy’s growing family of sub-brands draws on the icon set and maintains the parent logo at its core.
Playing it straight with the brand, the identity system lends gravitas to the Conservancy’s communications with government officials and other authorities.
Embracing a sense of playfulness, the brand can also be used effectively on the Conservancy’s many volunteer and member materials.
Redesigning the Website
The existing Conservancy website comprised thousands of byzantine pages on topics ranging from historic buildings to Conservancy events, preservation tips to action alerts about threatened sites.
Our driving concept for the site, “Approachable Authority,” provided us with a checkpoint on every decision: everything about the site had to support the Conservancy’s friendly approachability as an organization, while at the same time conveying the organization’s authoritative knowledge about the architectural history of Los Angeles.
To organize the site’s content, we began by thinking of it more like a publication and less like a brochure. Exhaustive site mapping and wireframing gave way to a vibrant design concept that is deceptively simple, organizes content by visitors’ interests, connects related content, and enables the Conservancy to quickly publish new content as issues, events, and announcements arise.
Classic typefaces—the superfamily Univers and the highly readable Melior—contributed to the site’s approachable authority and became standards for the brand.
Gala Event Branding
While the Conservancy’s identity became driven by icons and systems, the brand itself retains elbow room to extend into elegant event branding for the organization’s critical fundraising galas.
Design Means Business
A nearly two-year project from start to finish, the revitalized brand launched in mid-2013 to great reviews. What began as a volunteer group in 1978 now has more than 6,000 members, making the Conservancy the largest local organization of its kind in the U.S.
Crafting a brand that could flex and grow with the organization’s needs, we gave the Conservancy an identity that its members love and its volunteers rally behind, and that will be recognized for decades to come.