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Purpose-driven Branding for an Environmental Science & Engineering Firm

Environmental science branding and web design

Read on to learn how branding and web design helped Trace Associates stay true to their purpose while modernizing the look and feel of their brand.

The Client

Trace Associates is a professional services firm specializing in environmental science and engineering advisory services to upstream oil and gas, mining, real estate, and development clients across Canada.

Major Deliverables

Brand Refresh, Website

The Challenge

After 13 years, the Trace brand needed a change. The company felt the progress they had as an organization both internally and externally was no longer accurately reflected in their brand. Trace wanted a brand refresh that would lead them into the future while respecting the past. According to Darrell Haight, Trace CEO and President, Trace’s original logo grew out of an aerial photo: “Although initially not a planned design element, the Trace T-logo was selected in part due to the resemblance of the many country road and city street intersections we drive to do our work. It’s a constant reminder of where we came from and where we are going.”

Trace wanted a brand that was ageless and could stand the test of time. Trace was also seeking to diversify into new regions while better representing their culture to attract new clients and new talent. The new branding would be at the core of their new website redesign. Forward Level had to find the right balance between staying true to the original while embracing the contemporary.

The Strategy

Creating their path to the future meant looking back into the past. Our graphics team revisited the original crossroads photo to see what had inspired Darrell more than 15 years earlier. The concept of ‘intersections’ was important then and was equally important now. The convergence between Trace’s team members was as integral as the relationship between Trace and their clients. The new logo design would maintain the intersection image’s spirit while reflecting the contemporary company Trace was. Together, we wanted to create something modern and timeless.

Trace also sought to attract a younger demographic to their workforce and needed the rebrand to speak to a new generation of science professionals. Whereas their competitors were modernizing and diversifying, Trace appeared ‘content’ with their place in the environmental engineering field. Change was necessary. The website would address these concerns with a more forward-thinking approach by focusing on people and keeping things positive and fresh.

We interviewed each senior management team member to gain clear insight into the Trace team’s inner workings. The story of Trace’s experience and expertise was told by the team members themselves in their unique voices. In our stakeholder interviews, the Trace people were repeatedly identified as difference makers and people with which their clients enjoyed working. Who better to represent Trace on their website than the incredible people representing them day in and day out? Speaking to clients’ needs and demonstrating their ability to adapt to new technologies would promote a skillset not limited by region.

“Our purpose is to help our people have a great life. This past month we’ve launched our new brand. Our new logo represents our origins and moves with us into the future. The blue represents our caring, reliability, and loyalty. Anyone who’s been involved with that process knows the work it takes to make it happen. We’ve been working with Forward Level Marketing over the past year. I cannot say enough good things about the team. They have made my life easy – from last minute requests to just one more edit, they have made it happen.”

Lois Miller, Director of Marketing, Trace Associates

Photography would play a key role in establishing their visual identity and conveying their workplace culture. By showing actual team members performing their duties in the field, we humanized the brand and positioned them as the company of hard-working people they are. The photos used on the website were sourced from a member of the Trace team, ensuring what appeared on the website was an honest and genuine look at the people who make Trace great.

The Results

Honouring where Trace has been and where they’re headed, this refresh demonstrates Trace’s commitment to making lives better and adapting to changing landscapes. The rebranding reinforces Trace’s desire to build new relationships and attract world-class talent to the Trace team.

“This brand refresh came together through valuable insights from the entire Trace team. We are fortunate to have amazing people who take great care of our clients because, without our clients, there would be no Trace. We want our visual identity to reflect that care.” – Darrell Haight, President and CEO, Trace Associates