A 50th birthday only comes once, and the occasion should be celebrated accordingly. Global integrated design firm DLR Group approached 50,000feet to help commemorate half a century of elevating the human experience through design. Founded in 1966, DLR Group grew from humble roots as a three-man architecture practice in Omaha, Nebraska. Today, the firm has more than 20 offices worldwide, offering architecture, engineering, interiors and planning services to the likes of Google, Boeing and large-scale institutional clients across the globe. 50k’s task was to give form and expression to DLR Group’s culture through compelling thoughts, words and images. The brief called for neither monograph nor history book but rather an unconventional, non-linear approach to storytelling DLR Group’s legacy. 50,000feet, in turn, created a physical artifact that captured the firm’s essence and helped set the tone for the next 50 years.
Leveraging the DLR Group brand identity and celebrating the firm’s bold character, five themes of ambition, leadership, transparency, sustainability and family are unpacked across more than 200 pages of captivating visuals and copywriting. Approachable and accessible yet impactful and empowering, the book displays a range of visual expression, utilizing typography, palette, scale and imagery in distinct ways.
By poring over pages of historical documents and conducting hours of interviews of team members past and present by phone, in-person and video conference, 50k was able to creatively assemble an outline for 50 years of DLR Group history, using the five key themes identified to form the overarching structure of the book and woven throughout using various graphic devices. 50k communicated the importance of DLR Group’s guiding principles to the company’s DNA and compelled readers to uphold those principles as well as find their own places among those who have come before.
The design of the book provides many access points, bearing universal appeal across cultures, geographies and generations. By establishing a shared language—visual and verbal—50k instilled readers with inspiration, education and pride.
The final book, more than 200 pages of rich narrative, was shared on the anniversary of DLR Group’s founding day with every living member of the firm’s team as well as with partners, clients and other colleagues. The volume was a centerpiece of the multi-city celebration and has been greeted with enthusiasm and pride, helping newer members understand what’s at the core of DLR Group and older members reminisce of what you might call the good old days. Most important, however, is that the book provides a platform for the many perspectives, projects and personalities that have created the DLR Group of today while also making room for future growth. The aspirations of current and future employees can build upon the foundation that the book helps reinforce.