ICIMOD

What is ICIMOD?

Among the world’s most important environmental resources, the HKH—Hindu Kush Himalayas—sits at the peak. Home to unimaginable beauty and biodiversity, the HKH is a microcosm of the world around us and the source of clean drinking water for over 1 billion people. Despite its global significance, the HKH remains one of the most neglected regions on the planet. The forces of climate change and globalization are wreaking havoc on this fragile asset—and the beat of this place reverberates across the globe. This is why ICIMOD exists. This Nepal-based research and development organization is leading the global effort to protect the HKH and the people, resources, and culture that define it.

Before a brand is a brand, it is an idea and the set of beliefs that inspired it. So we set out to develop that idea. We looked at the competitive landscape. Surveyed the stakeholders. Sought out the soul. And we got to the heart of what makes ICIMOD—and the HKH—so transformational.

That single defining idea: The pulse of the planet.

Core Services: Research | Brand Strategy | Identity Design | Brand Positioning & Messaging | Design | Campaign Concept | Website Design

The Pulse of the Planet.

Vast oceans have long been considered the heart of this planet, and the Amazon has often been described as the lungs. The HKH? This is the pulse.

This ownable idea defines the HKH in a way that makes people take notice. To bring the concept to life, we looked to the visual composition of a mountain range and developed a powerful symbol that seamlessly complements the core ICIMOD logo. It can be used in versatile ways, and serves as a fundamental building block for the entire brand identity.

A comprehensive system.

Ultimately, the HKH is not about Mount Everest alone. It’s about the entire mountain range and ecosystem. Similarly, the ICIMOD brand needs to elicit deep commitment to the entire region—devotion reaching from policymakers to scientists.

We established a comprehensive messaging framework and malleable design systems to empower the ICIMOD team with the tools required to suit a mountain—quite literally—of resources, marketing materials, and reports. With a focused sense of purpose, a sophisticated editorial feel, and the pulse symbol underpinning it all, this became an identity worthy of an international brand. How did we do it? Start with the big-picture elements—like a bold, intentional color palette. And consider every last detail—like a copy and design framework poised to flex for translation into languages spoken all over the world.

Let’s tell a story.

It’s not enough for ICIMOD to produce research and insights. It must attract the right audience with the right formatting, at each and every touchpoint. So we designed a framework that could keep up with this exceptional nonprofit brand.

One signature example: a case study around honey harvesting in the HKH. For every element of this feature report, the content is clearly distilled down to key ideas and digestible insights—and then just as easily expanded to engaging mobile renderings or interactive web experiences. Some of the most important touchpoints for these treatments: compelling imagery, disciplined color selection, and succinct yet powerful copy.

Let’s establish a foundation.

For over three decades, ICIMOD has worked tirelessly across the HKH to create a prosperous and environmentally secure region where people thrive. The way ICIMOD achieves that goal might evolve over time, but its core purpose will remain—and retaining a highly consistent perception of that purpose is paramount.

So we armed their team with the tools necessary to achieve uniformity time and again. From copy snippets designed to flex for digital as well as print applications, to graphic standards for everything from the color palette to the iconography, we laid a robust groundwork. And detail doesn’t have to mean density. We approached this resource with an eye for simplicity, precision, and approachability—providing their team with the knowledge and guardrails to extend the brand across the full spectrum of materials for years to come.

Protect the Pulse.

Elegant design components set the foundation. But a truly transformational brand must incite action. So we left the ICIMOD team with a powerful rallying cry for the planet: Protect the pulse.

We prepared the organization to start a movement, building out messaging focused more on the overall visionary campaign applications than the design philosophy behind them. With potential uses extending everywhere from corporate partnerships to dynamic ad placements to branded apparel, we took the brand further, higher, wider. ICIMOD’s is a shared social cause, one that absolutely cannot be ignored—and together we’re inviting the world to join us in protecting the HKH.


“But Contrast & Co. helped us to see the high value in adopting a rally cry for the institution, which has served us extremely well.”

Laurie Ann Vasily / Head of Knowledge Management & Communication, ICIMOD