Redhead Design Studio

City of Charlotte

Design, Brand Development
Developing a versatile brand to revitalize a city while honoring its strong roots.

In-the-field research

Charlotte, Michigan is a bedroom community that was in the midst of significant revitalization and redevelopment. For their new brand, we devoted “secret shopper” time to get a feel for the city’s atmosphere, picking up on all of the small details that made up the city’s identity. After facilitating brainstorm sessions and focus groups with city leaders and residents, we gathered authentic opinions regarding the city’s benefits, challenges, and persona.

A well-rounded brand system

At Redhead, we follow the key truth that city brands aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Like all municipalities, Charlotte is nuanced with different subsectors and audiences including residents, developers, and neighboring communities. For this reason, we planned a series of sub-brands to be used throughout the city, by entities from the city proper to economic development groups to placemaking organizations. This way, the city has a strong framework and tools to help them remain on-brand while keeping up with evolving needs over time.

Reinvigorating a persona

We developed a versatile visual brand and marketing strategy for Charlotte that could apply to everything on the city’s calendar, from City Hall offices to its annual “PigPalooza” event. Rustic, timeless visuals reflected the city’s strong, rural past while acknowledging future reinvigoration. Additionally, simple and inviting language created a tone that was optimistic and down-to-earth, representing the city’s “small-town on the rise” persona. Today, we are able to provide ongoing support over time for Charlotte’s new events and projects whenever needs arise.