Project Description


Building a brand that will withstand the test of time.

We were selected to rebrand Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) starting with their logo. We developed a now iconic brand mark that incorporated the traditional state shape and an oak leaf, representative of the state tree and longevity. Dubbed ‘the brand shepherds’, we’ve since consulted on the look of everything from the latest web site to the rugs that sit in the front lobby. We’ve overhauled their print collateral twice since, each time striving for more clarity and legibility for what can be a confusing topic for many Iowans.

Cooper Smith + Company established the IPERS brand years ago and has been a strategic partner in elevating our presence across Iowa ever since. On every level, Cooper Smith has helped guide us in delivering consistent, creative and innovative communication. From educational pieces and websites to videos and displays — even our office setting — Cooper Smith has been our “brand shepherd”, providing support and expertise to maintain exceedingly high standards along the way. —Judy Akre, Director of Communications


IPERS utilizes an extensive series of publications for all phases of membership, from prospective members to retirees, as well as across three separate types of membership. We developed a cohesive look for the series that keeps everything not only consistent and compelling, but easily identifiable for internal staff. Special care was taken to develop a series of infographics to communicate key messages, and to specially formatted calculation examples to keep their pieces user-friendly and educational.

IPERS mails an annual summary to all 300,000 members each year that summarizes the year’s returns, provides an overall outlook for the health of the system, and provides some general education. We’ve reinvented the look of this publication, as well as the format, many times over the years. It’s always a challenge to fit a large amount of information into a budget friendly format that’s easy to understand.


As a result of several economic downturns in a 10-year period, IPERS often made headlines about a significant shortfall in funding. The story was a complex one to tell, and this microsite was developed for not only members worried about the longevity of their pensions, but also for lawmakers charged with determining the future of the pension system. Because of our history with IPERS, in a few weeks time, we were able to work with the marketing team to visually and verbally explain the problem, its cause, and the outlook for the future in this easy-to-read and enjoyable digital format, as well as work with a state-approved developer to put the site in motion.