As a part of a Fellowship with the Center for Design Practice at MICA, along with an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate students, we were engaged by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in Mid Atlantic. We helped them identify the best strategy to activate residents, schools, places of worship, businesses and parks in Baltimore City to adopt wildlife habitats – sustainable gardens, rain gardens, places to provide food, water, and places to raise young, and shelter to local wildlife.
Utilizing a human-centered design process, our team immersed ourselves in primary and secondary research. We did a deep dive into the current NWF process to certify a wildlife garden and conducted a visual audit of the existing visual materials and marketing . We also visited local communities within Baltimore (McElderry Park, Lauraville, Curtis Bay, Pigtown/Washington Village, Reservoir Hill) to speak with community leaders and other environmental advocates to better empathize with the unique needs of the residents and the logistics of these communities. Afterwards we synthesized our findings into infographics to highlight key insights which we shared with NWF.
Following the research and key findings, we ideated an array of “good” and even “bad” solutions (which helped us think outside of the box, and later flip into good solutions). These ideas were in the form of awareness, actions and appeal – ideas such as a starter kit, guerrilla gardening, t-shirt designs, seed paper flyers, and even a re-design of the seal for the Certified Wildlife Habitat. We presented the collection of ideas to NWF to gain feedback. This allowed us to iterate our solutions and narrow our focus from the wide range of ideas into a set of elements developed in the form of a campaign that NWF could implement for Baltimore City.
We revisited our goals and mission to ensure that we stayed on message for our final proposal. The project task was to raise awareness among individuals, neighborhoods, and the public about the inner and outer benefits of adding a slice of nature to Baltimore City. So our approach was an overall campaign, ‘GrowWild Baltimore’, comprised of a 3-pronged strategy – (1) neighborhood events, (2) microsite & social media, and (3) a “movement” – which included several of the ideas that we generated and iterated on in the previous phase of the project. We then tied the 3 separate strategies together with a comprehensive and cohesive visual branding package.
Our strategy proposal was very well received by NWF, so much so, that we were later asked to present to the CEO of NWF and other key members of the leadership team. NWF is now in the process of considering our proposal for applications in other regions and even at a national level.
MICA – Center for Design Practice
Client: National Wildlife Federation
Credit: [Team] Byron Banghart, Noah Boyle, Kristine Chambers, Akhil Chugh, Jeremy Doan, Jasmine Touton, Jessica Wen [Faculty] Ryan Clifford
Date: January – May 2014