“There’s no one right way to do things in the design world. There’s a starting point, then you need to open yourself up to others.”
In 2021, Shapiro Didway was at an inflection point. We needed to tell the story of who we are, and we needed a new brand identity to match that story. Over the course of 18 months, we worked collaboratively with local creative firm Studio DAD to define the core of who we are, and to build a new visual identity based on that truth.
We bring a human-centered approach to our clients, our work, and our internal culture.
That was the essence of where we saw ourselves in the world, and that shaped the visual expression of our brand. One that is both vibrant and engaging, human and modern. Digital agency Harlo Interactive built our new online presence, a showcase for our work and our beliefs.
Now, in our 15th year of business, we’re proud to share the outcome of this process: a new brand built on the core of who we are, and our vision for the future.
“With co-founder Steve Shapiro’s retirement in 2019 and our leadership team evolving, we felt it was the perfect time to center ourselves, define our core values, focus on our long-term goals, and be intentional about the work we do.”
The firm was established in Portland, OR in 2007 with long-time employee and Landscape Architect Nate Otani named Principal in 2021.
“For us, rebranding was more than just a logo change, it was a shift in how we see our future as a firm. At the core of our new brand is humanity and a passion for the work we do, its impact on our community, environment, and the partnerships we grow. Our new brand is an expression of the values we hold and a representation of our commitment to creating meaningful work.”
“For us, rebranding was more than just a logo change, it was a shift in how we see our future as a firm,” says Otani, “At the core of our new brand is humanity and a passion for the work we do, its impact on our community, environment, and the partnerships we grow. Our new brand is an expression of the values we hold and a representation of our commitment to creating meaningful work.”
To create the brand, the discovery process lasted several months and included surveys, focus groups, and conducting interviews to gather a wide range of viewpoints from employees, management, clients, and branding and marketing professionals.
This process identified key themes on how SD works, how they interact with clients, how they interact internally, and the core values that guide decision-making at the firm.
The new logo is two strong abstract graphic symbols that reflect the initials ‘S’ and ‘D’, representing the two founding members of the firm, Steve Shapiro and Blair Didway. The brand colors reflect landscape elements such as the sky (blue), the earth (neutral tones), and flora (dark forest green, and vibrant orange-yellow). New patterns accompany the new logo, inspired by organic forms of nature, such as grass or water droplets, and built landscape forms, such as fencing and paving. The human element shows through project photography, showing users interacting with the landscape, and the first-person voice in their project and personal narratives.
“The concepts of humanity, nature, creativity, and where they overlap, that’s essential to our work and our brand, and I am excited to have these values shine through our brand application.”
“With so much work conducted remotely in these times, the human connection element is something that I think everyone is missing in their work relationships. The concepts of humanity, nature, creativity, and where they overlap, that’s essential to our work and our brand, and I am excited to have these values shine through our brand application,” says Maggie Denham, Marketing Coordinator.
With a view toward more community-driven projects (while still maintaining a strong portfolio in multifamily housing and education), Didway and Otani have shaped SD’s recent work in the community. SD recently led bilingual community outreach efforts for Stoneridge Park and a new Veterans Plaza (both for the City of Tualatin), to ensure all voices were included in the public engagement process and to integrate public feedback into design concepts. SD is also the Landscape Architect for North Portland’s Sabin CDC’s Charlotte Lewis and Isaka Shamsud affordable housing developments, honoring two of Portland’s Black artists.
“We found that there is a deeper story to tell around our innovation in the field. We wanted a brand that reflected those values, our perspective, and a human-centered approach to our work. This process has been a wonderful opportunity for us to look within and reshape how the firm operates both internally and with our clients. Yes, my name is on the door, but I never wanted the firm to be about me, and I feel that everyone here believes that. Seeing the people around me grow, that brings me more joy than anything,” says Managing Principal Blair Didway.
As the new logo and website roll out this month, Shapiro Didway looks to the future to continue contributing to significant community landscape projects and continue working in collaboration with their long-time partners to achieve a stronger human connection within the landscape in all phases of design across diverse project categories.
“Yes, my name is on the door, but I never wanted the firm to be about me, and I feel that everyone here believes that. Seeing the people around me grow, that brings me more joy than anything.”