Redhead Design Studio

City of Trenton

Brand development, Design
Creating a vibrant, versatile brand to showcase a city’s distinct recreational advantages.

Reinvigorating residents and visitors

The City of Trenton, MI has a wealth to offer in the realms of housing, ecotourism, and family activities — but the Trenton Downtown Development Authority noticed a gap between this reality and public perception among its existing residents and visitors. While the city did not have a distinct need to attract new residents necessarily, they needed to engage existing residents and motivate them to explore their town. Concurrently, there was an untapped market for ecotourism in the city, with abundant trails with potential to attract new visitors. Therefore, the city sought a new brand that would accurately reflect its status as a Trail Town; connect its business district with its downtown; reinvigorate existing audiences to identify as active members of the community; and draw in visitors for day trips, primarily those in surrounding communities seeking outdoor adventures.

Integrating the great outdoors

To start, we met with stakeholders and, of course, explored Downtown Trenton to get a feel for the city’s tone. After conducting a competitive analysis with neighboring communities and other research, we identified outdoor activities, specifically abundant trails along the Detroit River, as one of Trenton’s key selling points. The river specifically is a main pride point among residents, and is also a distinct feature for visitors. We wove this into the visual brand, with waves to symbolize the river, subtly reference trees, and form a “T“. We also developed a vibrant color palette to suit an active, family-oriented community. In the city’s brand platform, we integrated themes of the outdoors throughout, including the tagline “Where all trails lead to opportunities.”

Brand education is key

The final brand reflected Trenton’s charming and vibrant persona across a variety of materials, from digital materials to swag items to vehicle identification logos — but our work didn’t stop there. We created a detailed brand book and worked closely with the City of Trenton team and its various partners to lead brand training sessions to ensure a seamless execution, regardless of experience level. Because one of our objectives was to unite all of the city’s departments and organizations through a central brand, this educational step in the process was critical. In the end, Trenton’s brand was versatile enough to apply to a number of different departments and applications, while remaining intriguing to pique the audience’s interest.