Established in 2019, “Respect Rockaway” is a PSA initiative by the Surfrider Foundation NYC Chapter to heighten awareness for ocean conservation and promote beach and water safety for residents and visitors of the Rockaway beaches in New York City. The campaign, partially funded by the Patagonia Environmental Grant, is rolled out every summer in anticipation of the 4th of July holiday, which sees upwards of 200,000 beachgoers visiting the city’s summer hotspot in a single weekend.
As a studio, our collective love for the Rockaway beaches and a desire to engage in their preservation led us to seek out local organizations working in the field. We caught a wave of good fortune when we connected with the Surfrider NYC’s Chairwoman, Nikita Scott, after a meetup at the Patagonia Bowery store. The beginnings of a partnership quickly took root around developing a campaign that could unite Surfrider’s robust grassroots activist network and the local Rockaway community.
Our challenge was to create messaging that would resonate with Rockaway locals and leave an immediate impression on visitors. We landed on a system that was welcoming, informative, and full of colorful Rockaway attitude. The expressive rippling type connects the aesthetic to the water and imparts a sense that the actions we take have consequences for the region’s entire ecosystem.
An overwhelmingly positive reception from the community with support from local business owners has helped the campaign continually grow and has contributed to a significant increase in volunteers for beach cleanups and outreach. The second year of the campaign introduced a partnership with Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy and expanded messaging to increase pandemic-related park traffic.
Anne Di Lillo
John Paul Chirdon