New York Botanical Garden reveals major brand refresh


The  New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) today revealed its first major brand refresh in over a decade in partnership with global brand consultancy Wolff Olins.

New York Botanical Garden refresh

An updated brand strategy, visual and verbal identity pave the way for a new chapter for NYBG, celebrating a closer alignment between the physical, local experience of visiting the Bronx-based Botanical Garden and the global presence of the organisation behind it.

As reported by Mediashotz, Wolff Olins won the NYBG brief last autumn.

Do right by nature

Known to many New Yorkers as a local treasure to visit, NYBG is a 132-year-old globally significant institution rooted in science, research and education.

With a strategic focus to deepen connections with the local community as well as expand environmental action around the world, NYBG partnered with Wolff Olins to evolve the brand to reflect this vision while honouring its rich history.

Inspired by a deep sense of place and the action of the organisation, the agency created a singular idea for the brand: ‘Do right by nature.’

This refers to the studying of nature; protecting it, learning from it and enjoying it. A call to action, spotlighting the leading work of NYBG and acknowledges the active role of nature itself.

Back to nature: Brand refresh seeds mature.

The bold iconicity of NYBG  

A new tone of voice for the brand reflects the tonality and attitude of New York and the Bronx.

Built around an optimistic, empathetic, and deliberate brand personality, it was conceived to help NYBG to share its contagious enthusiasm for the natural world, make everyone feel welcome and lead with expertise.

A new hand-drawn logo refocuses the shorter, bolder NYBG abbreviation.

To unite the spirit of New York City and the natural beauty of the Garden, the typography references hand-drawn forms found in nature while also evoking a confidence that speaks to the organisation’s impact.

An immersive design system

An updated design system includes an intricate palette of colours inspired by the breadth of plants, trees, fungi, algae and even the Bronx River that runs through the Garden, as well as the bold vibrancy of iconic New York institutions.

The system has been conceived to be combined in infinite ways year-round, with flexibility and tools that enable the creation of beautiful contrasts out of even the most unexpected pairings.

A photography style based on the idea of seeing from nature’s perspective has also been created. Shots range from more intimate to more immersive in capturing the various subjects of plants, people, and place that tell the story of NYBG.

To round out the system, Wolff Olins created a graphic language based on the forms of the Garden itself from a bird’s eye view – unique organic shapes that can be cropped, extracted, or layered over a grid.

The grid is inspired by the glass panes of the iconic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

The new brand launched to the public at The New York Botanical Garden’s NYBG Preview: The Year Ahead event, today, Tuesday 30 January.

The full roll-out of the brand across all communication channels and materials will follow.

“All of us here at Wolff Olins are so honoured to work with such an iconic brand as The New York Botanical Garden”, said Jane Boynton, Senior Creative Director, Wolff Olins.

“We wanted to capture what people already know about this beloved institution – being an incredible place of natural beauty – but also a place of science, research, horticultural advancements, preservation, education, advocacy, art and outreach to the surrounding Bronx community.

“It’s these qualities that make NYBG so special, rich and different and what really shines through in the refreshed brand, ready to meet and greet today’s visitors.”

Michael Crowley, Chief Marketing Officer, NYBG, said: “Wolff Olins has helped the entire team here at NYBG more clearly articulate our vision for the future, and in turn will allow the institution to more effectively reach a broader and more diverse range of visitors and learners, both on-site and online.

“The new identity system cements NYBG as an active, bold and welcoming presence that will connect and inspire, ensuring that current and future generations of Garden-goers feel connected to nature – because we can’t imagine a life without that feeling.”

Sairah Ashman, Global CEO at Wolff Olins, said: “It’s been exciting and humbling to work with such a glorious New York institution with deep local community roots.

“The role of gardens in our cities has never been more important to our well-being or more ripe for reappraisal.

“We’ve loved working with the NYBG team to create and bring the idea of ‘Do right by nature’ to life across their entire brand, experience touch points and communications – it’s a dream brand transformation and one we’re all super proud to be part of at Wolff Olins.”

Jennifer Bernstein, CEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President, NYBG, said: “Our new brand identity is a signal to the world that NYBG is fully engaged in working to address the dual climate and biodiversity crises while we continue to provide moments of joy, respite and wonder to visitors and learners across our Garden grounds and community garden sites in the Bronx.

“Our new brand is meant to inspire people to take action and to help nature thrive so that humanity can thrive.

“At NYBG, we believe in our ability to make things better and are excited for our optimistic new brand to engage the public more holistically in our institution’s work across our borough and around the globe.”