Refining Sugar Land: Creating a Fresh Brand for an Historic CityMarch 14, 2018
1843. That’s the year that the Imperial Sugar company was founded. What began as a single sugar plantation, became the seed that grew into the vibrant and growing city that is Sugar Land, Texas. More than 175 years after that modest beginning, the city is still proud of the sugar in its blood.
When DCI teamed up with the City of Sugar Land to create a new, unified brand for tourism and economic development, it was important not to lose sight of the city’s history as it moves forward. With that in mind, we set out to craft a brand that felt fresh and modern, while still feeling authentically Sugar Land.
Our approach when creating this brand was to play with a fun visual tension between classic elements and modern colors that pack a punch. Below are a few of the approaches we took to achieve this.
1. A Mark for All Seasons: The Logo
We experimented with a number of more illustrative directions, but when we came across the typeface Trend Sans Four, we realized we had an opportunity to do something more minimalist. While this font nods to a classic deco style, its slightly softer angles gave it the right blend of old meets new we were looking for.
2. Sweet Shades: Speaking with Color
For this project, it was important to create a visual system that could be adapted to communicate to several targeted audiences. To create a flexible, yet unified brand for Sugar Land’s many entities, tailored color palettes turned out to be the solution. We laid out guidelines for each department to emphasize different combinations of primary and secondary colors from a shared master brand palette to best speak to their target audiences.
3. Walking Billboards: Marketing with Merchandise
By and large, the point of a community rebrand is to help get the word out about how great your region is. Gear, swag or whatever you may call it, is a perfect opportunity to turn every proud citizen or enthusiast who carries it into ambassadors for your brand. With that in mind, it’s important to make branded materials that looks fantastic so that people actually want to be seen with them, because if you don’t…they won’t.
Between the graphic stripes and the bold colors of the new Sugar Land brand, we had the flexibility to create a diverse range of fun, dynamic, branded materials. As a graphic designer, I’ll admit I had a blast working on those water bottles!
The Balancing Act
When creating a community brand, there are many factors to account for. Whether it’s multiple audiences or a region deeply rooted in its history, or something completely different, avoid being timid to make your brand stand out in the crowd.