Mobilizing to Reach the Low-Carbon Future
Founded by the Hewlett, Packard, and Oak foundations, ClimateWorks is a global climate philanthropy that develops, implements, and evaluates strategies and investments targeting the largest carbon-emitting regions and sectors. In the midst of a strategic replanning and transition, they asked Constructive to help translate their ideas into branding and a digital strategy that communicates a bold, new vision to accelerate climate action at scale.
What's changed in the last five years?
Five years after being established to make a bold, coordinated move to combat global climate change—and with many lessons learned, ClimateWorks Foundation made significant shifts in its operating model. Successfully communicating these changes to the field required a new narrative if it was to mobilize ClimateWorks and its partners to achieve the impact they sought. We spent months learning about ClimateWorks’ mission and model—conducting stakeholder surveys, interviews, and market research; then led collaborative workshops to inform a strategic positioning that would clearly communicate their complex work.
Let's make sure everyone can articulate the new strategic plan.
After completing research to better understand ClimateWorks’ mission, values, theory of change, differentiators, programs, partnerships, and more, we distilled our findings into a brand assessment; then translated it all into a new narrative. Designed into an accessible brand handbook, ClimateWorks’ strategic positioning and messaging platform gives voice to their work and helps staff, board members, and partners more effectively communicate the foundation’s story, whatever the context.
ClimateWorks’ larger brand strategy framework is distilled into a messaging handbook that gives voice to their work; helping staff, board, and strategic partners effectively share the organization’s story, whatever the context.
How can the design system support a new philanthropic strategy?
Facilitating a major shift in operating model takes more than carefully-written content. You also need to visually signal your commitment through communications. Starting with their existing logo, we updated and extended ClimateWorks’ visual identity with two goals in mind. First, make the brand bold and inspirational, and second, make sure it supports ClimateWorks’ new portfolio structure and data-driven, long-form content. We established a foundation of new colors, typography, and imagery that achieves both goals; then refined the design system throughout the communications design process.
How can we visually unite investment portfolios?
Expanding their investment portfolios to provide more targeted opportunities for funders and grantees was one of ClimateWorks’ most important changes to their climate action strategy. With the foundation’s iconic logo as our inspiration, we created a system of illustrations with a system of colors that distinguish each investment portfolio—each visually telling a story while branding ClimateWorks’ overall investment portfolios as part of an interlocking strategy.
How will digital help engage the climate philanthropy field?
Operating within an exclusive network of funders to accomplish its goals, ClimateWorks historically de-emphasized external communications. Its new model, however, called for them to play a lead role in expanding number of organizations engaged in climate action. Building off our new brand strategy, we created a plan that helps ClimateWorks connect online with a broader diversity of players—articulating what’s at stake and the foundation’s response, detailing how their investment portfolios target reductions across the key drivers of emissions and integrating data and research to support their ideas.
What’s the right balance of science, style, and substance?
ClimateWorks’ brand strategy and vision are about being both bold and scientifically rigorous. To translate these ideals into an experience that is both aspirational and substantial, we lead with imagery and quick, compelling statements that draw in audiences; then deliver details and data that make the case for action. Top-level challenge and response pages that paint the big picture are complemented with detailed portfolio overviews and interactive data visualizations. The result is an experience that deepens the commitment of those already committed to climate action while expanding the field to draw in new players.
ClimateWorks’ website positions the foundation to play a leading role in bringing together a diversity of organizations, increasing their collective ability to effectively address catastrophic climate change.
Bold imagery gets attention; then editorial design quickly delivers insights that make the case for action. The result deepens the commitment of those already involved in climate action while expanding the field to draw in new players.
Where are the most promising opportunities?
Placing coordinated bets across each of ClimateWorks’ seven impact investing portfolios is the cornerstone of its philanthropic strategy. To provide transparency into how its funds are allocated and signal where ClimateWorks’ experts see the most promising opportunities, we created a grants database that provides searchable and filterable access of the foundation’s current and historic grants.
Our Client's Experience
“When ClimateWorks engaged Constructive, we were finalizing a complex organizational and strategic transition. With an approach rooted in design thinking, their team brought a sophisticated understanding of the role branding plays in support of organizational strategy—as well as a deep interest in, and commitment to, our mission.”