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A Strategic Brand on a Mission to Preserve and Protect

South Dakota Lakes & Streams Association (SDL&SA) was originally founded as a non-profit in 1992 with a desire to protect and improve South Dakota’s lakes and streams. In the early days, the association had more of a project-focus with dredging being a primary focus of their efforts.

Throughout the years, the association had accomplished the initial task-focused projects. In 2008 plans were then made for a new era of SDL&SA with a new mission statement developed to address the focus for the future: “Through Stewardship, education, and networking, SDL&SA shall protect and enhance South Dakota Lakes and Waterways.”

During the next 14 years, numerous projects were contributed to including DEN data equipment, monitoring equipment for James River, Vermillion River, Wakonda Vermillion, and Lake Thompson, and Pickerel Lake shoreline restoration project—just to name a few.

Recently, a new group of individuals from several South Dakota lake associations saw a dire need to revive the organization. They are driven to protect the limited water resources held in our Upper Midwest state, revive the perception and energy of the organization, educate the public and inspire new laws to improve and preserve area lakes and streams for generations to come.

With this renewed energy and revived mission, the timing was right for SDL&SA to pursue a rebrand. They also needed a new website that better represents their current organization and communicates more effectively with the people of South Dakota, with the focus on finding solutions for invasive species and protecting our waters for generations to come.

Brand Essence

During our brand strategy session, we focused on unpacking the organization's history, brand story, values, brand voice, target audience and so much more. One of my favorite parts of the brand strategy phase is uncovering a brand's keywords. For SDL&SA, those keywords included:

  • Preserve & Protect

  • Educate

  • Action

  • Nature-focused

  • Forward thinking

  • Caring

  • Collaborating

  • Advocating

Behind the Design

The visual identity for SDL&SA needed to be updated, clean and simple, but still visually interesting to reflect the newly energized group. We incorporated green and blue colors since their mission revolves around water. Their secondary colors incorporate pops of gold and lime green. The fonts are straightforward and easy to read at a glance or from a distance.

For the logo, we created a custom landscape icon with water waves, reeds/cattails and a fish as a nod to the impact that water can have on an entire ecosystem of plants and wildlife.

An additional icon with the fish and the swirl were created to add some depth and variety to the brand elements. We were able to use the fish or the swirl individually on their own to add some creativity to their collateral designs, or the fish and swirl can be combined (as shown below) to create one unified element.

Project Details

We provided SDL&SA with a suite of branding and collateral pieces:

Color Theory

The new color palette features five colors that reflect qualities of how SDL&SA wants their audience to feel or think about when they interact with their brand.

  • Sea Green for nature, balance and renewal.

  • Deep teal for calm, comfort and healing.

  • Slate Stone for stability, intellect and reliance.

  • Lime Green for energy, harmony and freshness.

  • Sunflower Yellow for prosperity, uplifting, and inspiration.

We also created some really fun gradients utilizing a blend of these various colors. The gradients made perfect sense as they created the visual illusion similar to that when you're looking at various depths of water.

What's in a Tagline?

Unique to this project, we had the opportunity to help craft a new tagline for the organization. We brainstormed a lot of ideas, but the one that rose the surface was "Protecting Waters for Life."

The word "life" in the chosen tagline has a layered meaning. They are protecting waters for the aquatic life and wildlife that is impacted. The "for life" also has a generational meaning as they are focused on preserving our waters, not only for the good of mother nature, but also for the good of preserving boating, fishing and other recreational use for generations to come.

Beyond the Logo

Once the brand strategy, logos and icons were established, we created some collateral pieces to ensure a consistent experience anytime someone interacts with their organization.


To learn more about South Dakota Lakes & Streams Association or make a donation in support their mission, visit


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