Founded in 1994, the Colorado River Alliance believes that a healthy flowing river is imperative to the well-being of our communities and state. Their mission is to champion the long-term vitality of the Texas Colorado River through education and engagement, and by partnering with the LCRA, they provide river stewardship and are champions for the people, ecosystems, communities, and businesses that depend on this essential natural resource.

To commemorate their 30th Anniversary, the CRA came to us for an updated graphics system as well as to strengthen their overall educational outreach strategy with updated interactive learning materials for children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. In order to accommodate both the CRA’s distinct asks, we conceptualized and designed two unique campaigns: the River Hero and Every Drop Counts campaigns.

Project Roles
  • Art Direction: Colin Morris, Tristan Renteria, Isabel Cordero, Fallon Russell, Emilee Lerma, Joseph Maxfield
  • Copywriting: Colin Morris (Activity Book), Joseph Maxfield (Activity Book), Isabel Cordero (Water Plan), Fallon Russell (Water Plan)
  • Design Research: Isabel Cordero
  • Illustration: Ellie Peña, Tristan Renteria (Activity Book)
  • Layout: Colin Morris (Activity Book), Fallon Russell (Activity Book/Water Plan)
  • Merchandise: Emilee Lerma (River Hero), Joseph Maxfield (Every Drop Counts)

The River Hero campaign invites the CRA’s younger target audience into the world of river conservation and protection through an interactive activity book and a map-poster hybrid.
We created the character, Ripple, as the River Hero mascot to engage younger audiences on their journey. Ripple's design features a simplified, cartoon-like appearance with rounded edges and exaggerated features to foster familiarity and a sense of excitement.

Original, tailored activities and content were created to align with CRA’s and Texas’ state curriculum standards. Readers engage with a series of challenging puzzles and vibrant illustrations aimed at equipping them with the knowledge and tools necessary to become the ultimate River Hero.
Learning materials were produced in both English and Spanish to accommodate Texas’ bilingual landscape and to expand reach.
River Hero apparel was created to expand messaging and reach beyond the page on a series of t-shirts and superhero capes. We expanded the CRA color palette to introduce a bold and daring red and yellow, reminiscent of traditional superhero iconography.
A foldable map-poster hybrid was created to adapt the Texas Water Development’s complex data and information found in their 2022 State Water Plan into an an engaging and easily digestible graphic more suitable for the younger target audience.

The Every Drop Counts campaign leans into and expands upon the CRA’s existing brand mission and messaging around community-driven environmental impact to celebrate their 30 years of service. We gave the existing CRA trademark a dynamic temporary 30th Anniversary graphic update, adding in flowing layered lines and an emblem-like container to resemble currents and a lively, healthy river.

A flexible and versatile drop pattern was designed to compliment the system’s Every Drop Counts messaging and concept. A collective of water drops in various sizes, colors and orientations were crafted to capture feelings of movement, progress, and cohesion.

Project Takeaways:While working on the CRA project, I was able to gain a stronger understanding of working within an already established identity and brand communication strategy. I learned to conceptualize diverse Art Direction strategies while maintaining brand consistency across various campaign objectives and stakeholder needs, and how to break down real, complex data into a campaign narrative that is not only age-appropriate but also formatted for ease of understanding to convey impactful information to diverse audiences. Additionally, I was able to hone and improve my skills in project management and team leadership, providing valuable insights into collaboration and organizational efficiency when working with real-world clients and design teams.With more Time and Resources:
Although we successfully delivered on the CRA’s specific asks for this project, I believe there’s a lot of opportunity to continue to expand our River Hero campaign and the “Ripple Universe” for more comprehensive, consistent, and engaging resources for the CRA’s educational outreach strategy.

I would also like to expand the Every Drop Counts campaign further on the digital front to include a special-edition landing page and a limited social media run to highlight and promote the CRA’s mission and accomplishments to respective educators, potential donors, and local communities to bolster support.