Showcasing a federal agency’s history of diversity

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The long history of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is surprisingly diverse and includes a number of innovators from varied backgrounds whose remarkable achievements are largely unknown even to the agency’s own employees. The NRC’s management believed that increasing awareness of the contributions of these pioneers would foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the agency’s history.

SERVICES

creative direction
design
production of environmental graphics
installation of environmental graphics

THE CLIENT

The NRC was created as an independent federal agency by Congress in 1974 to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection, and enforcement of its requirements.

THE PROBLEM

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shutdown of its office spaces, NRC decided it was a good time to renovate its headquarters in Maryland. The new design would transform the space from a traditional individual office + cubicle environment to a more modernized, open office environment. This would be a significant change for the agency and its employees, at a difficult time, and it was expected to draw a mixed response.

 

To ease this transition, the agency wanted to give its employees something to look forward to as they returned to the office for the first time after the pandemic. They hoped walking into a beautiful new space would improve morale and encourage renewed collaboration after two years of isolation.

THE SOLUTION

NRC’s management decided that they wanted to integrate environmental graphics featuring prominent NRC leaders of diverse backgrounds. Their hope was that these graphics would help to educate NRC’s staff as well as visitors to the floor about the agency’s history of diversity, inclusion, and innovation.

 

ATC designed and oversaw the production and installation of several environmental graphics in communal areas throughout NRC’s newly renovated sixth floor. The title of the installation was “Where Energy Meets Innovation.”

THE APPROACH

The NRC wanted the environmental graphics to be unlike the typical museum installation, and the project required close collaboration between their team and ours from start to finish. We met frequently with NRC management and staff to discuss the content and placement of each panel, and we presented a number of themes and designs that reflected the vibrant, highly visual style the NRC was seeking. We made design decisions, such as the color palette, to complement the interior design of the space. Our goal was to ensure that all of the parts of the renovation worked together and that the graphics, although designed last, would not appear as an afterthought.

 

After we had all agreed upon the theme and general design approach, All Things Creative designed separate panels featuring seven NRC pioneers as well as an innovative nuclear reactor design. We needed to make several site visits to confirm the measurements and placements of the panels, because construction was occurring at the same time. Once those designs were finalized, we supervised the production and installation of each panel.

 

The project has proven to be a great success. It has received a very positive response from NRC staff and visitors to the sixth floor and continues to raise awareness of the NRC’s diverse history and commitment to innovation. It even drew a visit from Dr. Robert Louis Shepard, who was excited to be one of the NRC pioneers featured in the project.

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