City of Castlegar
Council and staff faced challenges with consistent communications and wanted to evaluate which elements of the City’s existing brand could be leveraged to develop a new identity system that would propel the City forward. Our primary objective was to design an accessible identity system that would resonate with staff, external consultants, and residents, aligning with Castlegar’s lifestyle, culture, and history. Simultaneously, we aimed to enhance community engagement, retain a younger demographic within the City, and attract urban audiences from outside.
Community engagement workshops were held to establish strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) with a view to the next ten years. Other modules utilized in the workshops were empathy maps using personas and brand definition boards using adjectives and descriptors sourced from existing documents and marketing collateral.
Another important step involved assessing the City’s brand components to determine which ones should be retained. While the logo held significance, it posed challenges in online and small-scale usage. To address this, we removed the floral element and refined the typography to enhance flexibility. Recognizing the community’s affinity to the flower symbol, we drew inspiration from it to develop a comprehensive set of brand elements.
The asterisk emerged as the primary element, subtly paying homage to the previous logo, and representing the Castlegar identity with a singular icon shape. Complementing the asterisk, a range of icons were created, referencing the city’s buildings, environment, and the logo letterforms. These icons contribute to the overall identity by serving as containers for imagery and generating visual energy to establish the desired tone.
Since its launch in January 2021, the brand has garnered immense praise from both staff and residents. As an agency of record, Ion has expanded and refined the brand across various touchpoints, encompassing reports, website redesign, official bylaws documents, and administrative forms. Furthermore, the brand has been extended to sub-brands and campaigns for ongoing projects such as the City’s Official Community Plan and the introduction of organics collection under the Curbside Collection Program.