Three years ago, we got a branding makeover. Developing an outward-facing appearance is more than choosing pretty colors and fonts; it’s a getting-to-know-you process between staff members and the collective actions they pursue as an organization. Our logo is a key element to our brand because it symbolizes our work and embodies our mission to create a sustainable, productive, healthy environment for the Washington County community. How does a simple graphic represent all that? We’ll show you!
The most obvious component of the logo is its leaf shape. At first an oak leaf was suggested, but we decided the red alder leaf was a better fit. Not only is the native red alder tree abundant within Washington County, it lives on the banks of streams and rivers. This area is called the riparian zoneAreas that are directly adjacent to flowing streams, creeks, or rivers., and it’s a critical transition between terrestrial and aquatic habitats. As an organization that works to conserve soil and water, we thought the red alder did a good job of symbolizing our focus on land and streams.
The leaf’s five segments represent our five program areas: rural conservation, urban conservation, forest conservation, habitat conservation, and invasive species. While each of these programs focuses on different land uses, a common thread between them is the importance of soil and water. Without soil and water, life cannot thrive. This importance is reiterated by the blue and brown segments upon which the green segments rest.
The brown, blue, and green leaf is embellished by curving blue lines. These lines suggest the leaf is floating in rippling water. The overlapping ripples serve two purposes in our logo. First, they communicate an important theme in ecology: everything is interconnected. A change in one part of a habitat has a ripple effect throughout the entire ecosystem. Second, the ripples illustrate our belief that every action toward conservation and conservation education has a continuing impact on future generations – another ripple effect.
Communicating these concepts visually is difficult. Incorporating a tagline into our brand and logo is another way to ensure our message is loud and clear. Our tagline, “Conservation is for everyone,” helps us strike an inviting, empowering tone while keeping the door open to a future in Washington County where anything is possible. Historically, soil and water conservation districts have focused on assisting farmers. As our communities grow, the landscapes change, but the need to protect our shared resources remains. Farmers are still important conservation partners, but urbanites and non-landowning people also have large stakes in land stewardship; those stakes just look a little bit different. By adopting the mantra, “Conservation is for everyone,” we hope to ensure every resident in Washington County has a seat at the table and can make meaningful contributions to this important work.