Dragon Rouge Extends Taproot Foundation Value Beyond its Pro Bono Roots

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To clarify and communicate Taproot's new and expanded mission, brand design agency, Dragon Rouge, developed a new identity, tagline, and visual system to help it build a movement around professionals giving back to their communities.

Since it was founded in 2001, Taproot Foundation has helped connect professional communities to nonprofit organizations, enabling individuals and corporations to do pro bono marketing, HR, IT and management consulting projects that serve the greater good. After nine successful years of growth, Taproot's work has expanded beyond pro bono service delivery to also build a movement around professionals giving back to their communities, but its brand identity has not kept pace with this progress and leadership role.

Taproot Foundation turned to Dragon Rouge to help clarify its positioning to accompany its new strategic plan. The Dragon Rouge team examined Taproot in-depth through interviews with key constituencies and work sessions. This process helped identify that they were trying to ‘realize their potential’ in their own way since Taproot is a change agent that engages all parties involved to make their work matter outside of a professional environment. To inspire a greater call to action for all parties involved in the pro-bono service - be it nonprofits, professionals, foundations or corporations Dragon Rouge recommended changing Taproot’s tagline from ‘Do it pro bono’ to ‘Make it matter’.

To signify these changes, Dragon Rouge developed a new identity and visual system that speaks to the new tagline ‘Make it matter’. The new identity uses the same yellow/orange color as the original logo but the distinct lower case typography “evolves the mark to be more approachable and proprietary,” says Marcus Hewitt, Chief Creative Officer at Dragon Rouge New York. Several more independent graphic interpretations of a “root” were considered, but rejected in favor of a “simple angled descender” on the “p”, says Hewitt. The “Taproot” name now opens and closes with bookended “t’s” subliminally projecting a sense of balance. The word “Foundation” was reduced in size and emphasis to focus on the growing awareness of the Taproot brand name - it also underlines the “pro” element with in the name.

To complete the evolution, Dragon Rouge worked with the Taproot team to create a more distinct visual language for the brand. This includes a saturated photography treatment with a central focus on individual Taproot volunteers. Other communication materials recommend spacious design layouts and clean typographic treatments.

“We always talk about the fact that pro bono service is most successful when the nonprofit is treated like a paid client with the same level of respect and attention to their final deliverable. Our work with Dragon Rouge developing a refreshed brand strategy and visual identity to accompany our new strategic plan really met this bar. It was a truly collaborative engagement--their team listened to our audience needs and personifications and helped us unpack the brand strategy, messaging, look and feel that will best speak to them. The reactions have been really positive to our new brand, and it has helped re-energize our community," says Aaron Hurst, President and Founder of Taproot.

The new brand identity rolls out on July 20th, 2010

ABOUT DRAGON ROUGE
Dragon Rouge (http://www.dragonrouge-usa.com) is the largest independent brand and design consultancy with offices in New York, Dubai, Hamburg, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Warsaw. The firm develops brands around three areas of expertise: brand strategy, design and innovation.

ABOUT TAPROOT
Taproot Foundation is a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society. Taproot engages the nation’s millions of business professionals in pro bono services both through running their own award-winning programs and by partnering with companies to develop their pro bono programs. One day, Taproot envisions all organizations with promising solutions will be equipped to successfully take on urgent social challenges.

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JUDY KALVIN
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