Refreshed IREX's brand identity

Created editorial and design guidelines and templates.


IREX was founded during the Cold War, when the organization primarily administered international exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union. Much has changed since then, and IREX’s editorial and visual identity no longer reflected the nature of its work as a global development organization.


Cards from a message architecture exercise.

After our director of communications identified new brand pillars, I conducted a card sort to develop a message architecture. We tested potential messages with audiences.

Then we translated the results into editorial and design guidelines. The guidelines included a brand narrative, an elevator pitch, key messages for each issue area, and guidance for tailoring content to specific audiences.

We reevaluated the editorial style guide that IREX had been using for the past decade. The original guide focused on sentence-level issues such as grammar, punctuation, and usage. Through a collaborative process, I created a new editorial style guide that focused on issues that aligned with our strategy:

  • Writing in plain language to communicate with “new” and “traditional” audiences

  • Communicating about results

  • Using inclusive language

  • Referring to the organization and our offices in a consistent way

We worked with our agency partner to develop a new logo, palette, and typefaces, as well as templates for print publications.

Top: IREX's redesigned logo and color palette. Bottom left: Guidelines for creating staff bios on Bottom right: Two of our social media templates.

Because employees manage a number of social media accounts on behalf of the organization, I developed social media templates in Canva and Photoshop to help teams save time and stay on brand.


We’ve found through subsequent content audits that there is widespread adoption of the new guidelines and templates throughout the organization.

We’ve also found, through interviews with key audiences, that many more donor and partner organizations now know the organization for its contemporary work—and for attributes that differentiate IREX from other NGOs.