From Tom Hay
The first public look at the potential logos for the street banners and promotional materials of the Arts District were presented to few dozen attendees Monday night at the Long View Gallery on 9th Street NW. This is the home stretch for the marketing and branding project which hopes to give an identity to the Arts District centered around the 14th and U Streets corridor.
The first few public dialogues were peppered with some pointed questions from neighborhood artists and business owners who felt left out of the process. Monday night’s crowd was friendlier, but the number attending has dropped dramatically from the first standing room only event at Busboys & Poets.
The next meeting is Monday, Nov. 8 at 7:30pm at Hamiltonian Gallery at 1353 U St. NW.
Possible Names Announced
Feedback from the three public meetings and a professional intercept survey helped determine the three preliminary brands: Arts District, DC Arts District and Arts & Design District. Based on the survey the first two were deemed to be the most compelling and marketable brands. The survey targeted individuals from outside the neighborhood, since the goal is to draw new visitors to the area. Additional data is being collected before the final name is chosen.
Based on the survey, “Arts District” and “DC Arts District” were deemed to be the most compelling and marketable brands.
The Mid City name placed last in the survey question as to which name is most compelling.
The Design Logos
The logo needs to be “edgy, urban, diverse, colorful and artsy,” said Carol Felix, lead branding consultant. The four potential designs were given names: City Grid, Happy ‘A’/Bullseye, No Boundaries and Artful Brand. All were professionally executed and eye catching. Attendees were encouraged to take a closer look at each design and offer comments which were recorded on flip charts. Two designs, No Boundaries and Artful Brand, seemed to generate the most buzz. There were many concerns voiced that need to be addressed for all the designs.
Tag Lines and Mini Brands
In response to some criticisms at early public meetings the branding team have included the tagline “it’s more than art…” on the banners. The gesture here is to be more inclusive, acknowledging that retail and restaurants are a strong draw along the commercial corridors of 9th, 14th, P and U Streets.
The banners may also include a neighborhood mini-brand. Among the examples shown at the presentation were MidCity, Logan, U Street and Shaw. Many at the meeting wanted to know which streets would get which mini-brand. For example would 14th and Q be considered MidCity or Logan? Some attendees said to simply drop the mini-branding idea.
Based on feedback from the debut presentation, the team will fine tune the design and narrow down the choices. A final brand and design will be selected by mid-November so production can get underway. The goal is to have banners in place in early December.