Fresh and modern Branding for the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium Website and Print Collateral Design
Every two years, trade ministers and other senior officials gather at the World Trade Organization ministerial conference to negotiate details of ongoing multilateral trade agreements. Alongside this ministerial-level meeting, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) hosts the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium (TSDS). TSDS is the leading multi-stakeholder platform for intellectual inquiry and dialogue on sustainable development and the global trade and investment system. Over the last decade, it has provided a platform outside of the WTO negotiating setting for sharing ideas, engaging in dialogue, and influencing trade policy negotiations. Our client, the ICTSD wanted to maintain and increase the TSDS’s reputation as the go-to venue for thought leadership, while incorporating fresh and modern branding for the event.
The ICTSD asked MillerCox Design and our partner Mighty Little Web Shop to develop a branding system for the TSDS website and printed materials. The goal was to create a clear and coherent visual language that would work across online and print platforms. ICTSD staff wanted a design that would solidify ICTSD’s brand recognition as a connected, inclusive, and innovative organization. The branding also needed to reflect the dynamism and intellectual strength of the TSDS brand.
The resulting brand elements of this project (logo design, co-branding, color palette, web design, promotional brochure design, business cards, and other print collateral) would function together to increase awareness, develop the brand, and attract partners, speakers, and participants.
Time and Space!
Does distance matter? In our inter-connected world, we, like many design firms, work with clients, partners, and co-workers in distant time zones. We use online video conferencing solutions like Zoom and Slack and filesharing platforms like TeamWorkPM to close the distance substantially, but, there are still considerations when undertaking a fast-moving project with a partner overseas (we are in Silver Spring, MD, USA and the ICTSD in Geneva, Switzerland).
From experience, we knew that the 7-hour time difference must be accounted for in the project planning phase. Deadlines for deliverables must be carefully planned to give the client time to react and provide feedback and revisions as well as give us time to implement any changes that are requested. In addition to the challenges we could plan for, a particularly tough hurricane season in the Southern U.S. meant we had to build in flexibility for last-minute juggling with colleagues so they could hand off work before their power and internet connections went down!
An additional consideration in the design phase was the bilingual aspect of the materials. The Symposium is held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so the ICTSD plans to have all communications in English and Spanish eventually. Since we were working with all English language text in the initial phase, we needed to make sure any design could incorporate both languages at the final stage. Spanish language materials tend to need more space, so our templates needed to incorporate lots of air to accommodate Spanish language text as well as additional partner logos.
Design to Completion
Our clients specifically did not want the design to be geographically focused on the host city or country (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Our designers chose fresh, modern color palette and font choices to begin the design process. After using the selected color palette and completing the design comps, we provided versioned wireframe mockups in Sketch. Once the website design was approved, we finalized graphics to be used in html email invitations and our print designers went to work to create a brochure and symposium backdrop that incorporated elements of the website design.