The City of Wichita masterbrand standards not only elevate their image, but allows them to work more efficiently, saving loads of time and money.STEPHANIE STOVER
Consultant James Chung issued a challenge to the City of Wichita. To approach things differently. To look at things with fresh eyes. To be bolder in its vision. Part of that involved looking at the City’s decades-old brand and asking if it was time for an update, or a complete reimagining. The City turned to Greteman Group, which developed the identity more than two decades ago. Of course, city branding is more than a logo. It encompasses experiences and perceptions at every touchpoint, affecting people’s trust, loyalty and feelings.
We did our research. Studying other city branding examples. Talking to design peers across the United States. Looking at cities that reflect innovation through inspiring, community-appropriate identities (Denver, Boston and Lehi City). Surveying internal (elected officials, department/division heads, marketing team) and external stakeholders (professional designers). Reviewing current branding for the police and fire departments, transit, city golf courses, library, Botanica, City Arts, Indian Center, Stryker Sports, Wichita Art Museum, Eisenhower National Airport, Century II, Q-Line, city flag, and such partnerships as Bike Walk Wichita. A half-day discovery workshop helped us talk through our findings and get face-to-face feedback.
Based on our findings, we proceeded with a city branding evolution. Simplifying design elements. Creating a heavier wordmark. Updating the color palette. It also chose a hybrid solution. A branded-house architecture system to unify departments under the City masterbrand. A house-of-brands approach for key attractions so they retain their identities but add a City of Wichita tag. A phased rollout starts with more than a dozen city departments.
The City now has comprehensive, clear graphic standards which foster consistency and unity. For the first time, those standards are being offered in a user-friendly digital guide. Templated formats for collateral, websites and wearables lead to more professional, better branded outcomes. They also reduce confusion, duplication of efforts and costs. The new City logo serves as the primary visual touchpoint for residents and visitors. When looking at an identity, ask – is it distinctive, memorable and clear? Will it stand the test of time? We believe the City’s will. And that it presents us as the progressive, on-the-move community that we are.