Society of American Foresters

Society of American Foresters: Growing an organization with roots

The importance of forestry can be traced back to the late 1800s. Following two decades of debate about public land policy and unethical logging, the Forest Reserve Act was developed to protect wooded areas as “forest reserves.” These reserves eventually became the nearly 200 million acres of national forests we know today. 

Only some individuals had the appropriate forest management training at that time, though educational programs began to emerge. One early pioneer of the field, Gifford Pinchot, a European-educated manager of the Biltmore Estate forest, believed that connection and high standards were integral to the profession's future success. Pinchot became the Society of American Foresters (SAF) first president, serving from 1900 to 1908 and 1910 to 1911. The organization set the standard in forest management, bringing science, best practices, and the best people together to shape the future of forestry.

As SAF nears its 125th anniversary, the organization recognizes that moments of change and improvement are crucial to longevity. Our work began with the spirit of collaboration, with surveys and focus groups with members and SAF leadership. It was about taking stock of past successes while working to position the organization for decades to come.

SAF needed a refreshed identity to clarify its purpose. It’s not uncommon for organizations with decades of experience to have a somewhat diluted brand architecture, including new logos created for new events. The outcome of our efforts is a new, energized visual identity firmly rooted in the history of SAF. The new visual identity is expanded with individual chapter logos, with trees appropriate to the locale, while abiding by the overall logo system. The palette is familiar with appropriate contrast, allowing flexibility to cultivate new chapters and changing needs.

Beyond the logo and brand family, the identity has momentum with new graphic elements. Forestry is a passionate profession, and the expanding tree ring shield points to both the organization's historical significance and the heartbeat of the forest.