Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) was one of the earliest voices in the national energy debate, and has since grown to become the leading advocate for legislative change to address U.S. oil dependence and its effect on national security. They are noted for bringing together leading figures from the business, military and government worlds and showing how each can work together in mutual self-interest for the national interest. By reframing the energy debate as a national security debate, SAFE have shown how comprehensive energy policy can be better approached to make legislation more likely.
SAFE produces many policy reports, which are known for their incisive thinking and clear, authoritative voice. With the change in the Washington climate with regard to the energy debate, SAFE created their most comprehensive report to date, their ‘Recommendations to the Nation on Energy Security’. They have long recognized the value of design in presenting their message clearly (unlike many D.C. advocacy groups) and, having worked with MSDS since their inception in 2005, the report came to the studio in late August for design. I was tasked as lead designer.
The report had several sections, multiple graphs and charts and a lot of text. Weighing in at 120 pages, I decided to divide the content clearly using supporting imagery and color overlays to introduce each new section. The photography was printed as a duotone using Pantone Silver and Black (P433 as opposed to key black) to give them a lovely richness and tone. The silver was then brought through the sections content to tie the piece together, showing up in text header styles and in the charts. The remaining colors were created with cyan magenta and yellow mixed with the black and silver spot colors to give them real depth and ‘pop’.
The charts were designed for maximum impact and clarity, using the data itself to carry the spreads and ensure that the reader could see the information being imparted at a glance. The styling is obviously quite different from the usual, more conservative Washington manner of presenting data information, but the net result is that they could carry the report and ensure that they are looked at. SAFE are known for their insightful charts and data and they wanted to ensure that readers did not miss them, or the message of each chart, which I think was well achieved.
The report was written and designed with its audience in mind, specifically the president, members of Congress and the Senate and other advocates and Washington power-brokers. Created under a very tight schedule (in roughly 4 weeks from beginning to delivery), the piece had an immediate impact and has formed the basis of the current Congressional energy bill.