Newton Celebrates Community-Wide Branding Process
NEWTON, NC (March 21, 2018)—The City of Newton has completed its community-wide branding initiative after more than 15 months of intensive research, strategy development, creative discovery and planning. City leaders are looking ahead to the brand’s integration throughout Newton in everything from policy to events to infrastructure to communications.
Newton partnered with North Star Destination Strategies out of Nashville on the branding project. North Star has worked with more than 250 communities in 45 states. North Star has also worked with Florida and Mississippi on statewide initiatives. As such, the company is considered a leader in the field of community branding.
According to more than 12 research studies including interviews, focus groups and surveys conducted inside and outside the community, Newton’s defining difference is the unexpected juxtaposition of historic Americana and innovative thinking in critical areas like education, workforce development and business operations.
“It’s the feeling you get walking into a historically significant building and finding it has high-speed wireless,” said Don McEachern, CEO of North Star. “Newton’s downtown is Americana charming and the people are hard-working with traditional grounded values. But just because Newtonians appreciate the past, they aren’t married to old ways of thinking. Everyone is open to new approaches for getting things done, particularly in education and business.”
Newton Mayor Anne P. Stedman agrees, emphasizing that the greatest value of this initiative has been the consensus achieved regarding what makes Newton special.
“At one point or another, every city has an identity crisis,” Stedman said. “Who are we? How are we different from other places? What can we do build on the reputation we want?”
“Proactive cities take the time to answer these questions at critical junctures,” Stedman continued. “When we’re all singing off the same general sheet music regarding what makes Newton unique, the result will be passionate and powerful. It will make people listen.”
Consensus around Newton’s strategic brand platform was the most critical step in the process. In turn, this strategy yielded a graphic brand including a strapline, logo, color palette and recommended designs for a website, economic development folder, entryway and wayfinding signage, merchandise and more. A strategic plan containing hundreds of tactical ideas for brand integration rounds out the process.
The Newton strapline is Brilliant Legacy + Bright Future. The line showcases both the city’s heritage and its future. The words “Brilliant” and “Bright” highlight superior educational opportunities and the “+” sign is modern and fresh. An emotional narrative was crafted to bring this hardworking line to life in the context of describing the city’s quality of life, education, business opportunities, culture and more.
The Newton logo features a simple bold monogram created from the negative space between the various arrows. The arrows to the right and left of the monogram reinforce the messaging in the strapline. The icon forms a square, a nod to Newton’s downtown square, which is central to the community’s identity. The actual monogram breaks outside the square, emphasizing Newton as a town dedicated to innovation.
The cool-toned color palette selected for the logo and other creative deliverables features a vibrant green and a bright blue. Blue represents the trust, strength and dependability of Newton while green supports the area’s nature. Application of color serves to emphasize the outer arrows in the monogram.
A brand look rounds out the foundation creative tools.
“If we only created logos and lines for communities, most places would simply place those elements at the top of their website and stationery,” explained Christina Brown, North Star’s Creative Director. “We want to supply all the tools Newton needs to immediately start putting this to work on a deeper level. Using the chosen logo and line as a starting point, the look demonstrates headline structure, photography style, graphic detailing and more.”
The Newton look features a block geometric arrow that reinforces the strapline. Photography focuses on individuals, showcasing how deep roots and progressive thinking benefit citizens. The headline is easy to replicate but allows for customized messaging.
“We’ve got a really great story to tell in Newton,” Stedman said. “These tools will help us tell that story, but ultimately they are only part of the picture. It is the passionate and unified voices of our constituents—using this messaging and these tools—that will get our message heard.”