Mapping Climate Change with Data Visualization
The Climate Impact Lab is an unprecedented collaboration of over 30 climate scientists, economists, and data engineers from the University of California, Berkeley, The University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and Rhodium Group. To launch the new initiative and support the release of its first major research project, they asked Constructive to develop its brand, website, and a big-data tool that empirically demonstrates precisely how climate change increases global poverty and inequality.
The climate research space is crowded, so we need to stand out.
While our digital team got started, our designers worked with The Lab to set a visual tone for the brand that would differentiate it from the many others in the climate research space. After iterating on concepts, we created an energized logo that reflects their focus on synthesizing global climate data into big-picture insights. The supporting identity design system is both emotional and functional with a contemporary color system that attracts attention and also supports the functional demands of complex data visualizations. Streamlined typography that’s ideal for data-heavy research content completes the system, presenting a brand that easily delivers objective insights for expert audiences.
How should we balance introducing the brand with delivering insights?
The Climate Impact Lab’s website needed to be equal parts marketing presence, scientific resource, and big data tool. It also needed it to tell the story of the organization and place the collective’s efforts of its partners in the context of the global issues they focused on exploring We developed a content strategy and site architecture that deepens understanding of The Lab’s mission and methodology, provides overviews of the key issues, elevates important research, and facilitates objective exploration.
Make sure the brand experience feels actionable and objective.
Digital design strategy emphasized a structured and engaging brand experience that resonates with expert audiences comfortable with deep dives into long-form content and data. We created a high-polish aesthetic that avoids unnecessary ornamentation to place the focus clearly on content. A responsive grid with structured page layouts gives content breathing room and incorporates editorial design devices and calls-to-action that direct audiences’ attention. And the brand’s typography and vibrant color system stand out, distinguishing The Climate Impact Lab as a different type of player in the field of climate and economic research.
The Climate Impact Lab’s website unites deep issue area expertise, research publications, and a powerful data visualization tool to deliver a brand experience that’s engaging, informative, and useful.
How can we make all this data engaging and useful?
The signature feature of The Climate Impact Lab’s website is their first-of-its-kind Climate Impact Map—a data visualization tool that displays historic and projected temperature across multiple timeframes and scenarios. We collaborated with The Lab’s data science team to explore ways to effectively present their global data generated in a statistics engine built on The R Project and Python. Using D3, Mapshaper and TopoJSON, the end-product is a map that empowers audiences to visually explore The Lab’s landmark research on climate change and economic impact through various lenses and timescales.
They're not valuable insights if you can't see them clearly.
Analyzing data demands being able to distinguish between nuanced differences—especially the type of high-resolution, granular data that The Climate Impact Lab generates. With nearly 5% of the world’s population (and almost 8% of men) having some form of color vision deficiency, we made sure that The Lab’s research was accessible to everyone; testing and refining the brand’s color to ensure that visualizations such as pattern-driven choropleth maps are accessible to audiences with any of the eight major types of color blindness.
Our Client's Experience
“Constructive is a great strategic and creative partner, both in designing our brand and in creating our complex data visualization projects. Their ability and willingness to dive deep into the content and context of our work, and to make complex ideas accessible is what sets them apart—and is a big reason why they deliver such successful results.”