Relaunching a world-leading charity brand with a handcrafted identity

What we did

  • Workshops
  • Brand positioning
  • Brand strategy
  • Visual identity
  • Typeface design
  • Design guidelines
  • Content strategy
  • Website design and build

Trees for Cities are the only UK charity improving lives by creating greener cities around the world. Their dedicated volunteers get stuck in with local communities to cultivate lasting change in their neighbourhoods – whether it’s revitalising forgotten spaces, creating healthier environments or growing food with kids.

The charity started life as Trees for London around 30 years ago, bringing nature to the urban environment through their innovative tree planting raves. Since then they’ve grown but felt they had lost a bit of their personality along the way.

The brief to us was to refocus and reinvigorate the way they perceived their own work and were presented to the rest of the world. We worked with Trees for Cities’ trustees to redefine the way they talk about their work and reposition the organisation with a confident, bold and inclusive new identity which represented the passion of their supporters.


Once this identity was applied to a renewed website, the results were significant. Year on year the new site has seen:


59% fewer people are leaving the site without engaging with any content


There are 55% more first-time users to the website


Each visitor is spending 15% more time on the site

Following initial market research and stakeholder workshops, we repositioned the way Trees for Cities talk about themselves with a new strapline, mission statement and tone of voice guidelines; shifting their messaging to focus on the lasting impact they have while retaining the character of their organisation as being hands-on and inclusive.

Early visual explorations clarified that while trees are indeed the vehicle for change, the core positioning is actually about people; community, education, well-being. Aligned to this insight, a hand crafted route was created and developed.

A hand-drawn typeface was created in both stencil and solid weights which was then digitised and used as the basis of the visual identity. The urban feel serves to anchor the whole identity in an ownable, bespoke asset that Trees for Cities can use freely across all their materials.

The new logo uses the typeface, and reinforces the idea of people and community being strengthened by the environmental work of the charity.

The new visual language is built up through layering of type, colour, illustration, texture and photography – reflecting the idea of community being brought together. Coloured textures and torn edges add to the feeling of collage and the hands-on mission of Trees for Cities, while the seasonal colour palette ensures elements sit together naturally.

Trees for Cities asked us to roll-out the brand across a new digital presence. The aim was to better showcase the work they do with the impact they have. We created a number of elements to work across the site, allowing easily scalable content types with reusable modules. We focused on statistics, bringing these out in the new font to be used in different ways on each of their templates. 

In order to drive enquiries about getting involved with projects, we built bespoke campaign and case study templates, which can include specific calls to action like ‘Get Involved’ and ‘Donate’.

Despite our humble beginnings, Trees for Cities has real impact in the neighbourhoods in which we operate. Parks, streets, schools and housing estates across the UK are all healthier communities thanks to the work of our volunteers. We now have a brand which truly reflects this impact and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

David Elliot, CEO, Trees for Cities