The First Interaction
A city’s logo design is one of the first interactions visitors and residents will have with the city’s brand. They will see it every time they enter the community and as they take in the sights and sounds of the area. A strong city brand presence increases the connection that residents, business owners, and visitors have to the city and creates a sense of the place – both geographically and culturally – that the city occupies. Visuals, including signage, wayfinding, branded local events, and other materials, enforce this connection. Tourism and local businesses benefit from a strong brand presence as well, leading to more people talking about, supporting, and interacting with the city. A strong logo lingers in the minds of residents and visitors and helps a city present a friendly, welcoming atmosphere from the first time someone sees a sign with the logo.
You can look at cities as being distinct, individual brands that promote the culture and vitality of the city. A city’s brand may not seem as tangible as a corporate brand. But, at its core, a city’s brand encompasses the personality and experiences visitors and residents have in the city. The logo should reflect the uniqueness of the city it represents – perhaps pulling its inspiration from things such as the buildings and architectural styles prevalent in the city, the history of the city, or the geography of the city. For example, the City of Canton, which has the Etowah River flowing through it, showcases and emphasizes that in the new logo id8 designed for them. The icon of the river both flows through some letters, while also helping create the other letters, in the city’s name – illustrating the role the river plays in the city.
Design to Support the Message
At id8, we have a proven process for working with cities to design new logos to best represent the city and its environment and residents. We begin with a discovery meeting to get the background about why a city is looking to design a logo (or refresh a previous logo design). Following those, we schedule a series of one-on-one interviews with city stakeholders, including community leaders, residents, visitors, and business owners. Through these interviews, we get a full sense of what the city means to the people who interact with it on a regular basis. We follow these interviews up with more general surveys of the population and “man on the street” interviews, to make sure we’re on track with the overall opinions about the city.
After these information-gathering sessions, we move into research. We review the master plans for the city and any important historical events. Then we move on to netnography, or digital research about the city, to see what people are saying about the city online – this includes reviews from visitors, shoppers, residents, and business owners. And finally, we research competitive cities. We look into what other choices people have, and why they chose this city over those other choices. What about this city sets it apart? What are its assets and strong points from a variety of angles, including infrastructure, business, geography, population, and more?
After conducting the interviews and gathering the research, id8 moves into the Analysis step of our logo design process. Our objective for this phase is to really dive into the data we’ve previously gathered to get to know the city and know what sets it apart and why it stands out. We thoroughly review and analyze everything we’ve learned through those previous steps as we define the key needs, audience segments, and differentiators for this city. Those are the foundation for the City Position, where we define the goals and values of the city.
With the data and the defined City Position in mind, id8 moves into designing the actual new logo for the city. We look to the data we’ve compiled to get inspiration for colors, typography, and iconography that will come together to create the overall logo. We look for inspiration to find the one common image that embodies the heartbeat of the city. We style the logo – anything from artistic treatments to shading or cross-hatching to simple line work – to evoke an emotional response in the viewer, connecting them to the city and its unique value and community. The logo should honor what sets the city apart and the qualities that residents, business owners, and visitors praise.
Drawing from the initial logo design, we then take this new city brand and extend it into a secondary logo, the city seal, and other iconography that can be used by the brand across digital platforms, printed pieces, and wearable items such as shirts and hats. This iconography is also suited to be used on city vehicles, across all signage needs, and for any other collateral needs the city has.
Case Study: City of Locust Grove: A proven growth strategy builds interest to live, work, and play through new city logo design.
The City of Locust Grove has been growing over the past few years. With convenient access to major transportation and highway systems, Locust Grove had a unique opportunity. It was poised to refine its brand identity to reach new and existing audiences, unifying its community. One key aspect of that was their city logo design. The City of Locust Grove came to id8 in 2019 to get help with their logo redesign.
Before the creation of the city logo design for Locust Grove, id8 developed a new positioning statement. Our team-based this on extensive qualitative research, from which we extracted descriptive and meaningful information. Our team collected this data through community surveys, as well as man on the street and stakeholder interviews. We also performed a review of the City of Locust Grove’s competitive landscape and netnography (online presence). Together, these shaped the foundation of the positioning. It built upon current perceptions of the Locust Grove brand – both from internal and external stakeholder groups.
Creating A New Message
Guided by the discoveries from our research, we created a new message for the city to build from. It positions the charming and inviting City of Locust Grove as one with as much opportunity as there is legacy. It also communicates a clear and consistent image for each of its audiences. Nestled between Macon and Atlanta and “cultivated by generations of families building their legacies within the bricks of historic Main Street, Locust Grove encourages a community where everyone is your neighbor, always willing to spark up a conversation.” It is a place “where convenience and opportunity combine, and where history is respected and inspires a renewing future.” The City of Locust Grove has always been and will always be a place where its residents, business owners, and visitors belong. The city welcomes everyone with open arms.
id8’s next challenge was to translate this positioning and the profound meaning behind it into the city’s new logo design.
Locust Grove’s resulting city logo design
Meant to evoke a sense of comfort and security, Locust Grove’s city logo design represents the feeling residents and visitors alike experience within the community. It is a place to rest and unwind, and to enjoy both the deep-rooted history and modern renewal through what lies ahead. Grounded in natural tones of forest green and tan, the new city logo design also features a locust tree held within the O of “Grove,” and is further highlighted with the curve of the R reinforcing safety and a community bond. Modern, but with a strong nod to the city’s past, it was with this new mark, tied to the foundational positioning, that the City of Locust presented its renewed brand to its many constituents.
Locust Grove received an overwhelmingly positive response and acceptance from its employees and the community after presenting the new city logo design during the 2019 Locust Grove Day and Quasquicentennial (125th) Celebration. Since its introduction, the city logo design has been fully embraced and utilized across social media, branded giveaways, local community events, and even incorporated into signage in the downtown area. Connected to the new positioning statement, the city logo design suits the growth of the area has been experiencing and builds further upon the Locust Grove brand story that began well over a century ago. With the consistency of the brand strategy and unification of its messaging and visual identity, the City of Locust Grove is engaging its existing constituents and will certainly attract new residents, businesses, and visitors to its growing community.
A new city logo can bring a renewed sense of community – uniting residents and businesses under a single brand and rallying point. Through this unity and sense of purpose, the outreach to visitors, as well as potential new residents and business, gains an organized, consistent voice, attracting positive attention to the city. A new logo can help a city embrace its history as it looks towards its future. id8 is ready to help your city create or refresh your logo and branding, let us help you boost your city’s future outreach.