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After years of producing a traditional annual report, whose focus was more on past accomplishments, Gensler’s leadership envisioned a more forward-looking publication that would engage the firm’s clients in discussions about the global trends impacting their businesses. In 2013, we created a new publication called Gensler Design Forecast. While a dedicated section incorporated legacy content including firm highlights, financial summaries, and listings of Gensler clients and principals, the bulk of the publication distilled the collective insights of our global team into 60 trends that provided a guide to navigating the future of design.
Working with Gensler’s executive directors, practice area leaders, and colleagues in marketing, PR and practice area communications, the firm’s communications team mobilized as a news-gathering organization, surveying and interviewing global experts spread among 20 practice areas around the globe. These individuals are the touchpoints for the firm—engaged both in their local and regional economies and with more than 2,100 active clients, who face the challenges of their businesses in diverse locations across the world. Their first-hand knowledge of global-local trends is a valuable, often-untapped resource. Brief Q&A sidebars in the Design Forecast highlight key issues in design practice while enriching the texture of the publication and maintaining a readable pace.
Dovetailing with the trends is a portfolio of the firm’s best photography, which captures the breadth of Gensler’s design practice and showcases its capacity for innovation. The images are curated for maximum visual and emotional impact and their ability to represent the firm’s diversity and global reach. In addition, related multi-media content was made available to readers online through a mobile phone-based application triggered by digital watermarks embedded strategically in the document. This extended the publication’s shelf life and provided an additional platform for reader interaction.
The 2013 Design Forecast had a circulation of 30,000 copies. Included in the distribution were the firm’s clients, industry professionals, the media and students. The publication was released with a certain fanfare, creating occasions to host events, connect with clients and continue their dialogue. The new publication was received with much enthusiasm by our clients, leading to further refinements in strategy and content in successive years.