Starting a new Chamber of Commerce is tricky. There are people who want, and would benefit from, the Chamber, but who is in charge of getting it off the ground? You need enough commitment and momentum from the volunteer base before you can go out and hire executive staff. Yet, there are things that need to be created, and that help in the recruitment and building of the chapter before the chapter itself is a full entity. It’s a catch-22, chicken-and-the-egg situation.
A web site, signage, and advertising were all part of getting the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce launched before they had the leadership, time and budget to take a critical look at their logo.
Visible Logic was hired by the Freeport, Maine group to design their logo—after a web site had been live for a few months and signage had been ordered. Obviously this is not ideal, but that was the reality.
Knowing that a brand identity was already alive on their web site and in their signage, we had to incorporate elements of those pieces into the final, new logo. To do otherwise is wasting any brand equity they had built.
Assessing the current identity
The Chamber had a temporary logo on the web site. It was the Town of Freeport, Maine’s logo with the words “Chamber of Commerce” placed on top of it.
While the town was fine with the Chamber using the logo temporarily, the Chamber wanted to make sure it had a distinct identity and logo separate from the town. They were representing businesses both in and out of Freeport and were the mouthpiece of the Chamber members, not the town itself.
Meanwhile, a sign had been purchased for the building.
I took this snapshot of their signage on the outside of their building. It had just been ordered when I got involved with the logo project.
Not a Usual Logo Process
I highlight this all to say that this was not the clean slate that we dream of as a graphic designer embarking on a logo design. But, to throw out everything that was already in place was mistake. While it’s easy to change a logo on the web site, redoing large scale building signage was not going to happen. And while you can change the logo on the web site, you must remember that it has already been viewed by lots of people. Brand equity, visibility and trust were already starting to grow.
So the sketching and researching phase centered on assessing what we could take from these existing sources.
- Both graphics used a Script F, although they were different fonts.
- The typography on the signage was much more professional and traditional looking than the words on the temporary web site logo.
- The temporary logo had a gritty, yet ephemeral feel that the new Executive Director liked.
- The sign had a bold, more masculine look that the Executive Director liked.
- The temporary logo had a washed out, pale color palette, whereas the new signage was a deep green.
Pulling the Elements Together
This is how we pulled together the existing identity and created something new, that still harkened to the their current identity.
We used elements from each current identity piece and pulled them into something fresh and professional looking. The new logo design:
- Features a script F, it was closer to the signage F, but reminiscent of both
- Uses the same typeface (Trajan) as the signage, but minimized the type size changes to make it cleaner looking
- Uses the dark green from the signage (the two colors are pretty similar when accurately phtoographed/printed)
- Has a new montage of photos that gave the ephemeral and gritty feel of the temporary logo, but showed imagery more recognizably from the community and participating businesses.
We also created a couple of other versions for other uses:
The all green version is a one-color version that can used when printing one color is more economical, or when the photo montage background would not work with the other design elements. The version with the black text is to provide more consistent of color reproduction across across different media.
This logo design process started with a lot of “baggage”, but we were able to create a finished logo that really works for the organization.