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New Work: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

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Pentagram has just completed a comprehensive rebranding of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The new look was unveiled to the public in time for the grand opening of the Arboretum’s new Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden last weekend. Partner DJ Stout, Associate Julie Savasky and designer Carla Delgado in Pentagram’s Austin office teamed up on the project, which includes a new identity, revamped print collateral and a completely overhauled website. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, a sprawling 66-acre natural wonderland on the shores of White Rock Lake, is a much beloved Dallas institution and a hub of activity for the city.

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Stout says this about the new mark: “The Arboretum is such an important part of the Dallas social scene, so ingrained in the culture of the place, I thought they deserved their own ‘Big D.’ The old mark was childlike but it didn’t properly represent the breadth of the Arboretum’s offerings. Obviously with the opening of the new children’s garden there’s a lot for kids and families to do there, but there are a lot of swanky adult events, concerts and weddings held out there, too. We wanted to raise the bar on the sophistication of their identity and all of their communication materials.”

For the new identity Stout and his team created an icon based on a Roman capital letter “D” with a sprig of greenery curling down from its top serif. The color of the letterform is always black, but the leafy element and the website change color with the seasons: orange for the fall, green for spring, red for the Christmas season and blue for summer (blue skies over the blue lake). The words “Dallas Arboretum” are emphasized in the wordmark and “Botanical Garden” is downplayed.

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“The ‘Arboretum’ part of the name, which is defined as a botanical garden devoted to trees, is actually a slight misnomer,” says Stout, “But the place has been referred to as just ‘The Arboretum’ ever since it opened to the public in 1984, so we felt it was as good a name as any. No use messing with a name that has grown popular organically.”

Since its founding, the Arboretum has been committed to education as a part of its mission. The opening of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will set the gold standard for children’s outdoor educational facilities. The garden is designed for preschool through middle school children to learn about life and earth science in exciting, interactive displays, based on established state and national standards. The eight-acre laboratory contains 17 outdoor and indoor galleries, each designed around a key science theme. The $62 million Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden opened to much fanfare last Saturday. There was a ribbon-cutting, bands, a choir, a proclamation by the mayor of Dallas, and actors dressed up like colorful bugs and frogs wandering through the crowd.

“I’m sure that was all very exciting,” says Stout, “But the most exciting thing to us was the giant new logo the Arboretum’s gardeners constructed out of hundreds of pumpkins and gourds. I’m pretty sure that none of my esteemed partners have had their identities rendered in pumpkins.”

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Project Team: DJ Stout, partner-in-charge and designer; Julie Savasky, associate and designer; Carla Delgado, designer. Website development consulting by Hunter Cross. Flower photography by Adam Voorhes.