After 25 years, Columbia Land Trust is updating its look.
When a dozen volunteers first formed Columbia Land Trust in 1990, they did so to conserve the Northwest nature they loved. They saw vast swaths of land converted into housing developments almost overnight, and they cared enough to act. In the 25 years since, the Land Trust has matured, adding staff and support one handshake at a time. Originally focused solely on Clark County, Columbia Land Trust now conserves and restores land throughout the lower Columbia River region. It is also a leader in a national movement to ensure that the country’s lands, waters, and wildlife thrive for generations to come.
Throughout this growth, the Land Trust used a single logo, a mark depicting a bucolic farm landscape with geese flying overhead. It represented the Land Trust’s commitment to preserving familiar places that contributed to a rich natural heritage. This commitment hasn’t changed in the last quarter century, but much else has. In 1990, West Germany won the World Cup for men’s soccer. A crude form of the World Wide Web was just taking shape. Since then, the Portland-Vancouver metro area population has grown by 54 percent (to 2.35 million people).
We love the old mark, but we also recognize that we are due for a change. The success of our relationship-based conservation work hinges on including and engaging more people. To that end, we sought to create a more engaging and contemporary logo to represent our organization in the years to come.
We wanted a mark that would reflect our core mission to conserve and care for the lands, waters, and wildlife of the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships. We also wanted to retain the landscape-centric theme of the original mark, while still moving in a bold new direction. In addition, we wanted to bring color into our mark to reflect our region’s vivid beauty. Lastly, we wanted our new logo to represent nature’s capacity to inspire awe and curiosity.
As a committee of board members and staff from across the organization collaborated, our new feather mark emerged organically. The outline of a feather encases a sweeping Northwest landscape, complete with conifers, a cascade mountain, a pair of soaring raptors, and a bright summer sun. At the spine of the feather flows the mighty Columbia River, our iconic namesake and the lifeblood of our region. The feather itself is a symbol of strength through flexibility and of nature’s power to lift the human spirit.
The colors of the logo represent the varied ecoregions in which we work: the deep teal of the Columbia River Estuary and Coast Range, the verdant green of West Cascade mosses and ferns, and the golds of the rolling hills at the foot of the East Cascades. Last but not least, we honor the interconnected relationship between people of the land. Below the river, two shapes resemble soft footprints in the land, while the shapes to the right of the fir tree can be construed as barns or homes.
Together, these elements speak to our vision for the Columbia River region: vibrant, welcoming, and flourishing.
The new logo doesn’t represent a radical departure from the organization’s image, but rather a reinvigoration. The style is not overly sleek or trendy, but that’s probably for the best. Trends come and go, but our mission is to forge deep relationships and to care for land in perpetuity. Rather than simply turn heads, we want to extend a friendly invitation. We invite you and people across this region—folks of all walks of life—to join us in conserving the places that make the Pacific Northwest so remarkable.
Can a new logo really do all that? No, but we think it makes for an inspiring first impression.
PS: Thank you to the wonderful folks at Murmur Creative for their inspired design work on our new logo and branding.