Sustainability + Urban Planning


We all share this planet. Corporations, governments and planners are working hard to make it more livable. Here’s how we design communications that help them tell their story.


South Lakefront Framework Plan

Chicago Park District / SmithGroupJJR

One of the largest architecture, engineering and planning firms in the country brought us in to document their development Plan for Chicago’s south lakefront area – a 628-acre area covering Jackson Park, the South Shore Cultural Center and the proposed Obama Presidential Center.

Our scope of work included the website, logo, video and design of a 56-page Plan document full of maps, images, graphics, visualizations and planning recommendations.

Working through a 10-month planning process, we managed website updates and email templates for each community input meeting; recorded the meetings; and then organized information and designed a document that outlined the Plan’s recommendations for land use and management over the next ten years.

Community residents and stakeholders became engaged and excited. As one participant summed it up, "I can’t wait until we get started. I can’t wait to enjoy everything the park has to offer!"

See the website.

Watch the video.

Read Chicago Tribune's review of the Plan.

Lakefront Redevelopment

Chicago Park District / SmithGroupJJR

Our aim in designing this 22-page report was to first understand the issues and goals around the Morgan Shoal redevelopment along Chicago’s lakefront, and then design a compelling document that engages funders, stakeholders and the public. We were involved at every planning step, including public charrettes with local residents. The complex issues of shoreline protection, cost considerations and enhancing public features were documented through graphically rich, concise information. And, after seeing an innovative architectural “wave chime” while vacationing in Croatia, we recommended adding a similar feature into the plan – an idea that was seized upon by local media. 

The Morgan Shoal Framework Report won a Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects (IL chapter).

See a video of the winning report.

Read about the process >

Role Models For Responsibility

Metropolis Strategies

In a collective effort to attract new large businesses to Chicago, a group of 18 Fortune 200 companies set out to tell the stories of their sustainable initiatives and impacts on the community.

We managed the marketing piece’s development and created a compelling design that satisfied all stakeholders. The 20-page brochure showcases the initiatives, programs, and data that reinforce the region as a global business destination and a desirable city to live and work.


Delivering A Better World

US Foods

Long drives, large trucks and refrigerated warehouses are not exactly what come to mind when you think of "green". But US Foods, the country’s second-largest foodservice distributor, had a lot of green practices in place.

Working closely with the company on a tight deadline, we produced a foldout booklet and poster that highlights the company’s progress in environmental performance, community engagement, and sustainable products. The booklet served as their anchor piece, with quarterly updates printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks.


Enhancing The Urban Landscape

Chicago Park District

Famous architect Jeanne Gang’s ambitious vision for Northerly Island includes the development of 6 ecosystems and the creation of natural and programmed spaces. We worked as part of the team that gave concrete form to that vision.

After pulling together all the relevant elements, we designed a book with compelling graphics, and clear, structured information that describes the proposed land use. We also produced a video featuring testimony from city representatives and other enthusiastic community members about the creation of a new center for outdoor experiences. 


Reinventing Manufacturing

City of Chicago

In the 1800s, Chicago was the booming epicenter of industry in the country. Today, it doesn’t quite hold that reputation, but city officials are working to encourage continued manufacturing growth. To help the city share its plan to boost industry in the region, we created a concept, gave it concrete form, and turned the plan’s data into easy to navigate points, including maps, diagrams, and infographics. The brochure lays out in an accessible manner the plan for reinventing Chicago manufacturing, with a smaller, more sustainable footprint.

Urban Planning

City of Chicago

When the city of Chicago asked us to develop a promotional piece from their unwieldy 20-year urban plan, we knew we had our work cut out for us. Our roles included gathering information and materials, extracting the most compelling data, building consensus and then creating a concept and design that effectively communicated the city’s historic positioning, current infrastructure, and planned development. Focusing on transportation, waterfronts, and open spaces, the resulting brochure used maps, graphics, and text to describe downtown Chicago's future potential for office, residential and commercial growth. 


Chicago's Sustainable Roadmap

City of Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had an ambitious dream: make Chicago the greenest city by 2015.

To make his dream a reality, we worked closely with Chief Sustainability Officer Karen Weigert, gathering data and translating it into easily digestible graphic formats. Our design-concept communicated a clearly defined road map for future action items and corporate partnerships.

The resulting plan, Sustainable Chicago 2015, was recognized by the US Green Building council with the Emerald Award for advancing communities to become more sustainable, prosperous and healthy. Our design concepts have also been printed in the Chicago Tribune, and the plan continues to support the city of Chicago's ongoing sustainability initiative.

View the plan 

Corporate Sustainability


Premier's Annual Report details their investment in sustainability efforts, including an award-winning leadership platform focused on environmentally friendly purchasing, waste, and emissions reduction, and solar energy. We've designed, written and produced Premier's Annual Reports for the past 12 years.