While designers love the idea of helping a client to create a brand and making the visual components, many times we must work with an established brand and its standards. It’s the meat and potatoes of the business.
In this case, I’m working with a favorite client, MainCor, a non-profit that manages the Main Street CID in midtown Kansas City, MO. A CID is a community improvement district supported by a dedicated tax from residents and businesses. The CID manager and “red shirts” take care of the streetscape, clean the streets, shovel snow, look out for problems and work to solve them. As the Executive Director says, “They are the concierge of the Main Street district.”
The brand has evolved a bit but it consists of several visual elements that define the district. They are:
- Colors: red, gray, black, white and a yellow accent
- A quadrilateral consisting of a rectangle with a slanted line along the long side
- White capital M in a red dot
- Chevrons repeated in a row
- Fonts: Alternate Gothic 2 and Helvetica Neue
- Simple, clean style
These are the visual elements that I used to tell their story to members, get community support and to sell the neighborhood on the benefits of MainCor. Click to see the Main Street page.
For two years I have designed an annual review to inform the public, members and stakeholders about MainCor’s accomplishments and goals. MainCor, not the CID, is supported only by memberships and grants. I need to tell their story in a concise, organized, easy to understand manner with supporting visuals to show that MainCor is managing the CID area well and needs to be supported. MainCor and the CID have taken Main St. from a criminal haven decorated with run-down buildings to a model of renewed urbanism, attracting businesses, non-profits and residents. Testimonials express the satisfaction of business people along the street.
Communicating with members and the community is key for getting MainCor the support it needs to continue improving midtown Kansas City.
For 2015, the CID area has expanded its area of service. They wanted to inform the business people and residents within the area about what benefits they will get and how they will be implemented. We made a 3-panel brochure showing the “red shirts” that will work in their neighborhood and photos of them doing jobs. There is also a map of the expanded district, a timeline, information about who to call for problems and how to keep informed. We tried to think of all the questions that people would have and address them in the brochure.