Open Space Institute

OSI Website Redesign

  • Open Space Institute
  • Challenge

    The Open Space Institute wanted to transform their existing organizationally-focused site into a space that better connected with their external audience.

  • Solution

    Rethink OSI’s communication strategy to create a compelling brand story that is reinforced by audience-focused information architecture.

  • Results

    A site that not only provides the public with useful information about OSI’s initiatives, but also clearly communicates their organizational mission.

A place for life. The Open Space Institute is a New York-based nonprofit and think tank dedicated to landscape conservation. When OSI’s partnership with Viget began, their website featured a substantial amount of technical information, but very little “big picture” messaging about what they do and why it matters. They were also struggling to explain how their varied initiatives advanced a broader institutional goal. We realized we needed a new audience-facing brand and content strategy that could help OSI do more than just provide information; we needed to help them transition to communicating their overarching organizational purpose: to protect land for people, for habitat, forever.

  • brand strategy Where Land and People Meet

    We wanted to emphasize OSI’s purpose in more concrete terms, to better reflect the real-life impact they have on the places they save. The new strategy statement — A Place for Life — refers to OSI’s work to preserve a place for recreational life through park and trail maintenance; a place for wildlife through forest and landscape protection; a place for sustaining life through at-risk environment preservation; and a place that lasts for life, by protecting land into perpetuity.

  • Information Architecture Navigating the Story

    We saw an opportunity to use the site’s information architecture to reinforce more than just findability. We reasoned that if the top level navigation focused on a few key ideas, a user could immediately understand what’s important to OSI without becoming overwhelmed. Our new “Who We Are,” “What We Protect,” and “How We Do It,” navigation mapped to a reorganized content structure that made Places the core content type, followed by Stories, Research, & Funds.

  • Unique Features The Sticky Map

    We also gave users the option of navigating the site “by map”, by building an expandable, interactive map directly into the site’s sticky nav. The Place pins that surface on the map when it’s expanded are filtered by the section of the site the user is in, with the option to also view all Places. Maps are an important part of OSI’s work, and in some ways, a symbolic part of their organizational culture; developing an easy-to-use, always-accessible map for the new site was a key project win.


We created a brand strategy for the Open Space Institute that gave them a clear and compelling new way of talking about their organizational mission. This brand strategy guided our entire redesign process, and helped OSI transition from a site that was designed to merely provide information, to a site designed to communicate purpose.