Keep it Simple | Trees Work Campaign by Missouri Department of Conservation

May 19, 2015 | Branden Schwab

Recently I was thumbing through the March issue of one of my favorite print publications, the Missouri Conservationist (free to Missouri residents!! sign up here and view the current issue, here) when I became engrossed with an Ann Koenig article and spread about the Trees Work campaign. Koenig’s article, which balances a light-hearted narrative with prosaic evidence, lends strength to the educational campaign by citing the health and lifestyle benefits of enjoying Missouri’s trees and forest, as well as their important role in local/regional crafts, trades and industries.


The campaign’s aim is seemingly jocular in its straightforward simplicity — to “increase awareness of the benefits our trees and forests provide.” So much that I continued scanning the article, hoping to find another downbeat of potent information… until I noticed I was still waiting… then re-reading… What just happened? There’s gotta be more to this, right?? A combination of memories and thoughts about the outdoors fluttered behind my eyelids until I noticed, then relished, the peaceful moment of silence that accompanied merely thinking about trees. Hey! They really do work!

There’s something nice about the concept of a marketing campaign about one of the most ubiquitous and common (yet vitally important) elements of our recognizable natural world. A visual study of the posters (just one part of the state-wide campaign) produced by St. Louis letterpress and graphic design studio, The Firecracker Press, got me thinking about the kinds of relationships that must have been formed to bring about the campaign. I wondered about the mundane email threads, and pictured someone raising their hand in a planning meeting, saying “Yeah Dave, thats great, but — and hear me out — what about Trees?”

With the stark potency and broad vagueness of a Claire Underwood environmental lobbying group, the Trees Work campaign is whatever you want it to be, and yet, delightfully more! The playfully simple, non-offensive, multi-generationally friendly message reminds me: Slow it down, keep it simple.

As designers and devourers of content it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of options, tools, and just pure information available while searching for clear, concise, meaningful and memorable ways to communicate. But when stress and complexity abound, it’s reassuring to know that calmness is only a shady tree branch away.


 

From Ann Koenig’s article, “Trees Work for Wildlife and People”:

Get a Poster, Spread the Word

If there’s a public place where you’d like to display a Trees Work poster (coffee shop, restaurant, community center, library, city hall, and church are a few examples) email us at treeswork@mdc.mo.gov for a free poster, while supplies last.

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