Case StudiesChicago Milkweed Project

Designing and developing for an environmental campaign.

Chicago Milkweed Project



The Chicago Milkweed Project - A campaign empowering kids to restore the environment in their own neighborhoods by planting milkweed to Chicago’s natural landscape to support Monarch butterflies and our natural environment.

The Challenge

Develop an engaging scientific educational project of distributing milkweeds for elementary-aged kids that promotes the value of caring about nature, and improves the overall ecological system in Chicago.


Discovery, Brand Identity and Website - full cycle project from the ground up executing the client’s vision.

Project Month/Year

Winter 2019 to Summer 2020

Problem Statement

A decline of milkweed, and monarch butterflies is detrimental to the Chicago ecosystem. Kids without an opportunity to participate in engaging scientific projects may not understand these effects. Giving away milkweed plants can serve as an educational and fun activity that teaches kids about our urban ecosystem. It also promotes the actual growth of milkweed plants in the Chicago area.

Our focus is to facilitate research to identify logistics and user needs, and create a compelling brand to engage our users and promote this project.

Our Approach

Due to the nature (pun intended) of the project a full design process approach was taken:

User Research

  • Goals: Identify needs, use cases, constraints and evaluate deployment logistics
  • Tasks: Interview target users/others who occupy this space

Brand Design

  • Goals: define brand identity, Identify value proposition, identify marketing platforms and execute brand assets
  • Tasks : workshop sessions and design critiques


  • Goals: establish website and social media platforms
  • Tasks: Identify hosting provider that was cost effective, creating website copy and execute web design


  • Goals: Have users understand what the project is and how it works! Want them to understand how they can get involved or connected / take some kind of action
  • Theme: want people to feel like taking small actions makes a big difference / “This one plant matters”


Service Design

The team first gathered information on others in the space - locally there was no organization out there that focused on a neighborhood level targeting communities that were unserved. Next, we conducted interviews with parents with kids to gain understanding on activities they do with their children that is outdoors and STEM related.

Building the brand identity

Since the target audience was for children, the brand identify focused on friendliness, and fun. Copy promoted positive behavior, encouraging children to plant rather than scare them. The illustrations intended to capture vibrancy and joy. It was important that the plants and butterflies remain anatomically accurate and not abstracted.

Designing the website

Working in an agile method, while the brand identity was being formulated, CfC started ideating on the website design that was a simple one pager that provided awareness, established a feel for the organization (partnerships) and directions to the hand outs for the kids, the mission, resources and a contact form.


Website was launched in April 2021. Since that time - Chicago Milkweed Project has handed out 200 plants to a number of communities in:

  • Berwyn
  • Pilsen
  • Hyde Park
  • Lawndale