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Keep the River Wet
Friends of the LA River

Keep the river wet

From providing a cool refuge in our increasingly hot neighborhoods to connecting people to nature, the LA River is important to the environmental, physical, and mental health of Los Angeles’s diverse communities. Water in the LA River creates a vibrant ecosystem that mitigates climate change, supports local fish and wildlife, and provides open space for millions of Angelenos. We created a campaign for Friends of the LA River (FoLAR) in service of this vision of the LA River—one that’s only possible if there’s enough water flowing through it.

Cutout image of a hispanic fisherman leaning on a rail
Keep the River Wet – The Challenge

1 — The Challenge

Balancing two goods

When water runs through the LA River, it brings numerous resources that support the health of our local environment and communities. Recycling purified waste and storm water for use across the city is equally important—but the distribution of it is prioritized over keeping the river wet. Our campaign advocates for balancing a scientifically beneficial level of river flow without negating the value of recycled water distribution.

Keep the River Wet – The Brand

2 — The Brand

A beloved river with a splash of blue

So much is affected by the state of the LA River, from public health to wildlife, that we created a brand that could represent each of those elements. One part scientific and another part playful, this brand draws from the coolest colors of nature—amplified for impact.

FoLAR Keep The River Wet Logo
"Keep the river wet" logo variations

Logo Variations — A size and color for every application, the logo features iconic waves that tie the brand together.

Excerpted slides from the campaigns brand guidelines

Brand Guide — The brand guide had elements for every use-case to give FoLAR the tools they needed to keep the campaign fresh over time.

Photography — In collaboration with the talented photographer Matthew Scott, we were able to show actual community members and recognizable sites along the river.

Three image collages that show the brand expression at work (with the wavy lines, and image borders applied)

Collage and Composition — In order to express the multifaceted nature of the river, we created collages with photo, iconography, and color blocking.

Keep the River Wet – The Website

3 — The Website

Flow of information and current events

With summer drought season approaching, FoLAR and Swell created a website to help LA residents understand the implications of falling water levels in the River. Part educational center and part community hub, the website allows people to learn at their own pace, find events where they can participate, and reach out to spread the word in the community.

Keep the River Wet – The Campaign

4 — The Campaign

A wave of outreach in riverside communities

Raising awareness in the communities that are most impacted, we used a multi-tier, bilingual campaign to shift perspectives toward a balancing of ecology and recycled water. Using both broadly targeted digital campaigns and hyper-focused print marketing, we reached Angelenos where they are at.

A grid of social post designs

Social Media Templates — Swell created a library of social media templates awash with variety—from statistical highlights and personal stories to event announcements and news features.

Wild Postings — With those in riverside communities most effected by water levels falling, we created a series of posters, flyers, and banners to distribute locally.

Keep the River Wet – The Impact

5 — The Impact

A groundswell of support

Across two major in-person events alone, the Studio City Farmers’ Market and Downtown Long Beach Farmers Market, on-the-ground outreach teams were able to distribute flyers and have positive one-on-one interactions with over 500 people, including local businesses. As this campaign continues, we expect growing public interest in advocacy for a wet LA River.

Case Studies

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