Reimagining a rapidly scaling brand dedicated to improving quality of life worldwide.

The Lincoln Institute draws powerful connections between land policy and many of society’s greatest challenges. For over 75 years, the organization has researched and recommended creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental concerns including availability of affordable housing, urbanization, sustainable water management, and more.

We began working with the Lincoln Institute in 2014 at a pivotal time when the organization was building on their rigorous research-driven background to become advocates for positive social change.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

“I hired Studio Rainwater to help us signal a new commitment to clear, accessible content designed to inform policy, reach a broader audience, and drive change on the ground.”

— Maureen Clarke

Vice President of Publications and Communications

This process involved redesigning every aspect of the brand from the logo and visual identity to the highly-regarded suite of publications, including the quarterly Land Lines magazine.

The logo suggests a plot of land, emphasizing Lincoln’s role at the nexus of the natural and built environments, positioning that was reinforced by the new mission statement and tagline—Finding answers in land: helping to solve global economic, social, and environmental challenges to improve the quality of life through creative approaches to the use, taxation, and stewardship of land—signaled a commitment to addressing some of the world’s most vexing challenges from poverty to climate change.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy logo
The Lincoln Institute brand style guide
Land Lines magazine covers
Magazine article titled Water in the West
Magazine article titled deconstruction ahead
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Brand Design

Announcing the new brand, the President of the Lincoln Institute, George MacCarthy wrote:

The redesign of Land Lines and our Policy Focus Reports are a small part of a larger effort the Lincoln Institute is making to disseminate our formidable arsenal of research and ideas more widely.

The logo retains the Lincoln “L” within a symbolic outline of a land section, with a more modern, open design that invites new audiences to discover our work.

We are not reinventing the Lincoln Institute, but aiming to introduce our work to broader audiences and to clarify the threads that connect seemingly disparate topics, such as the link between land conservation and climate change mitigation.

Building upon this revitalized foundation, the Institute continued to publish exciting research and embarked on many innovative digital projects that leverage data and technology to gain a better understanding of land.

Website screen designs

Making Sense of Place is a website designed to showcase series of documentary films and other multimedia content produced by Northern Light Productions that explore how three U.S. cities and their residents are dealing with sustainability, spatial inequality, and fiscal health.

Website screen designs

Legacy Cities is a comprehensive resource for community and government leaders in former industrial and manufacturing cities where populations and opportunities have declined in recent history.

Through an accessible platform that surfaces data, case studies, and research, the initiative provides resources to leaders, stakeholders, and scholars working to employ innovative strategies and policies to address legacy cities’ common challenges.

Map infographic showing the Lincoln Institute's global reach

Since we began working with them, the organization has more than tripled in size; added six new centers; organized courses, workshops, and meetings to scholars, fellows, practitioners on all six continents; gained a prestigious publishing distribution partnership; and now offers master’s degrees in Sustainability Leadership and Public Administration.

We developed sub-brands for the new Center for Geospatial Solutions and Consortium for Scenario planning that gave them a unique identity while still feeling connected to the core Lincoln Institute brand.

Center for Geospatial Solutions logo
Center for Geospatial Solutions logo
Consortium for Scenario Planning logo
Consortium for Scenario Planning logo
Planet of Cities book cover

“We were able to partner with Columbia University Press as our distributor in part because our books, leading of course with the cover design, were so handsome and well produced.”

— Maureen Clarke

Vice President of Publications and Communications
Land Lines magazine spread design

In 2021, the Lincoln Institute celebrated its 75th anniversary, having emerged as a global authority on land policy and related scholarship.

The organization continues to help leaders and policymakers throughout the world make strategic decisions about land use, promote equality, create affordable housing, and plan for the effects of climate change.


Brand Strategy, Logo and Visual Identity Design, Publication Design, Website Design


Education, Nonprofit, Sustainability, Research, Equity, Taxation, Urban Planning, Policy