KAB Brand Identity & Design System

While working on an event for Keep America Beautiful, I was given an opportunity to help tighten their branding. While KAB has been around since 1953, their identity has undergone a few shifts and the results were a few design guidelines. I was originally called upon to create an immersive experience with their TrashDash event in South Norwalk, CT. But when I was asked to help with some more corporate pieces, I pitched to leadership that I would like to create a system that staff, future creatives and agencies could all follow.

My role at first was to listen. Where did some of the choices in place come from? Who had made them? What was the reasoning behind them? I truly learned a great deal about KAB and its wants and needs as a non-profit organization, and this information helped me to draw conclusions about which directions to take with KAB’s look and feel.

KAB is a storied non-profit, which has some large corporations on its board to tackle our pollution problem. While saving the environment can be a democratic battle cry, it was important to not make creative decisions that reinforced that stereotype. KAB originally used a bright red and blue logo, but moved away from it for a solid red logo with a distinctly retro feel, into a light green logo used until my work began.

Listening to my client was key here, because when I was asked to assign a color to each one of the three “pillars” aka, values, of the company, I did not feel that the light green logo necessarily fit as a primary color compared to the current palatte. I made a case for a deep blue logo and primary color, with three secondary colors for the values. Remembering that I am not my user, and by truly emphasizing with my client’s needs, I was able to rework the palatte to include a rich, environmental green to satisfy a green logo request. I also upped the saturation of the secondary colors of the palatte, to send the correct message through color.

Typography was an interesting study, as the choice of font did not lend well to choosing a fallback font. Neris has a distinct personality, and a “have you tried arial?” was not a good enough solution. This decision was made even more difficult by the team using Office 365, which has a small set amount of fonts, and mailchimp, which doesn’t have a great deal of choice either without custom coding for webfonts. Calibri as a fallback was the only option with the right tone and feel.

My favorite aspect of this project was creating an icon library, which had not existed up to this point. I wanted to make sure the choices were scalable, so that another designer could pick up where I left off without compromising the system. It was simple to create components from the decisions set by icon choices.