Places We've Shaped

Sustainable Tourism and the Art of Graphic Design

Mark Eller - March 13, 2023

Image: The Oak Creek Watershed graphic is available in Spanish and English language versions.

Leave No Trace’s sustainable tourism partnership work helps Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) tackle the challenge of encouraging travelers to enjoy natural areas while also prompting them to act as stewards. According to, 87% of travelers value a “sustainable” vacation experience, and more than 40% of them say that “consideration for environmental impacts” is a key factor when they make travel decisions.

While the positive attitudes travelers express toward sustainable experiences are often heartfelt, not everyone possesses the knowledge and skills needed to protect nature while enjoying it. The challenge for DMOs is to figure out how to showcase their attractions while also providing cues that guide people toward responsible behaviors.

Nate Jordan, a marketing specialist and graphic designer with extensive experience in the travel and tourism industry, describes the role that design plays. “One of the core motivations for launching The Uproar Concept was the desire to work with clients who share our values,” says Jordan. “We feel it is important to create messaging, as well as visuals, that communicate the importance of stewardship in a way that is equally intriguing, visually engaging, and informative.”

Recently, Leave No Trace and The Uproar Concept co-developed graphics for a coalition of partners led by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce to educate visitors about the Oak Creek Watershed. “A great deal of thought and emphasis was placed on determining the best way to present a message that was both appealing and informative,” says Jordan. “Four simple statements were developed to address the area’s core issues, and we created a design with bold colors and simple illustrations. A QR code encourages visitors to learn more. Additionally, these posters were adapted for a seamless social media slide presentation with the same bold visuals — hopefully inspiring visitors to learn more about becoming an Oak Creek caretaker.”

“Working with a forward-thinking organization like Leave No Trace provides an opportunity to share a message of stewardship with visitors and residents of Arizona,” Jordan added. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to combine our talent and our passion for the natural world.”

Check out two examples of the Oak Creek Watershed work below — one in English and the other in Spanish.

The project was also built around the desire for interactive slide carousels that helped audience “zoom in” on four important sustainability topics for Oak Creek Canyon.

Finally, check out more examples of the graphics and messaging Leave No Trace has developed for DMOs and other tourism partners.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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