David Langton + Jim Keller

RESP20_DAVIDLANGTONJIMKELLER

LANGTON CREATIVE GROUP
NEW YORK NY

Langton Creative Group is a digital branding firm that designs visual and messaging solutions that start with a strategy that addresses these questions: Who do you want to be? And, how do you want to be presented to your key audiences? We call this “Progress by Design” because we believe that the most successful companies make design an integral part of their success and use design as a core driver in making a brand that tells a meaningful story. We specialize in creating communications for clients in legacy nonprofits, financial services, and heath and wellness.

HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN DESIGNING FOR GOOD AND WHY DO YOU BELIEVE DESIGN IS AN ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR THIS GOAL?

We have always been motivated by designing for the greater good. Two of our projects — the annual report for the AIDS prevention pioneer GMHC and a capital campaign promotion for an outdoor spiritual center — were featured in the book “Designing for the Greater Good” (Harper). We won a Sappi Ideas That Matter grant to support our work for the Love Shouldn’t Hurt campaign, a victim’s abuse awareness program for teens. Doing design projects that matter is part of our DNA. We’ve created many projects for nonprofits including annual reports, marketing and development campaigns, and a comprehensive branding program for communications for Children’s Aid. One project that was particularly rewarding was designing new signage for Children’s Aid where we examined how a new identity could be adapted for a range of diverse buildings in Harlem and in the Bronx. We also designed the 50th Anniversary graphics for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that were presented at a symposium at the New York Historical Society where Anna Deavere Smith, the artist, author, and educator, performed a new show she wrote in honor of the Foundation’s history. Last year we had the honor of designing the graphics and communications for the Annual Gala for The International Rescue Committee’s “Rescue Dinner” held at the New York Hilton. We created a theme around “Human Beings” where we presented Refugees, Migrants, and Asylum Seekers not as just labels, but as people just like us. We transformed the ballroom at the New York Hilton with large portraits of people and placed small mirrors on each of the tables so that all the guests could see themselves as Human Beings who are all in this together. The Rescue Dinner gala raised over $16 million for the International Rescue Committee.

GIVEN THE CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS AND CHALLENGES WE FACE THIS FALL, DOES 2020 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES TO DESIGNING FOR GOOD?

In March, we were answering client queries about whether to launch a website during a pandemic or what to do about communications in progress. For websites we found that now IS the time to launch, we’ve launched four in the last few months. More people are home and are paying more attention to websites and online activity. Our nonprofit clients are pivoting. We designed a brand refresh — one that maintained a strong connection to the existing logo — for The Russell Berrie Foundation where we strengthened the typography and introduced new colors. This coincides with their new Covid 19-related loans and relief. The Mellon Foundation recently announced a transformation of its strategic direction with a new focus on social justice. This opens up many opportunities for branding. We are telling our nonprofit clients that now is the time to communicate more and to reinforce your messaging and tell your story to your base as you reach out via online and virtual fundraisers to new supporters. The online audience tends to be younger so this pushes some of the legacy nonprofits that we work with to reexamine their marketing efforts.