By: Chad Kurz, Senior Director
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) recently assumed leadership of First Green, the only STEM education and environmental outreach program that uses golf courses as hands-on learning labs for middle and high school students. While First Green’s sparkling new website and contemporary logo will immediately catch attention (more on those later), the official unveiling took months of thoughtful planning and careful deliberation between the GCSAA, the incumbent First Green team, and Buffalo.Agency. In this two-part series, take a look behind-the-scenes of our collective re-imagining for this revolutionary program.
Part 1 | Part 2
As with any undertaking involving change, understanding your past, present and ideal future states are critical to plotting a roadmap for success. To learn as much about the First Green’s 20-plus year history, we studied its website, poured through documents and asked hundreds of questions. That process culminated with a two-day brand immersion session at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, KS, where we dissected the project from every possible angle, probing GCSAA and First Green leadership to validate our research, debunk assumptions and uncover any new insights that could shape the brand’s new direction.
1. To modernize the First Green’s visual identity to reinforce its “best-in-class” status and better reflect the forward-thinking vision of the GCSAA.
2. To enhance the First Green digital experience (website, social media, content, and more) to expands its reach both domestically and around the world.
3. To highlight the value of GCSAA members as environmental stewards and mentors to the next generation of golf management professionals.
A Foundation for the New Brand
Seven themes quickly emerged around which we would build the new First Green brand; STEM, best-in-class, fun, hands-on, community, industry, environment. These pillars would serve as the foundation for key messaging elements, and how First Green engages with their core audiences moving forward, from students and parents, to teachers and golf course superintendents.
First Look at the New First Green
Armed with a deep understanding of the vision and positioning for the new brand, our design team began their creative exploration. They produced a wide variety of initial sketches to present First Green: F+G monograms, unique interpretations of symbols like a leaf, a book, a golf flag, or a pencil, and even abstract quadrilaterals representing STEM education.
The First Green team gravitated to the striking elegance of the FG monogram subtly combining a leaf and golf flag. We spent some time refining edges, identifying fonts (for synergy, we used the same as GCSAA), incorporating GCSAA’s red and descriptor, to ultimately arrive at the finished product you see below. A comprehensive logo suite and accompanying style guide provide the flexibility to represent the brand across all First Green touchpoints.