New brand identity connects the past to the present
Recently, the City of Gahanna has unveiled its new brand to the community. The new brand celebrates the natural beauty of Gahanna, the strength of its families and its commitment to help businesses grow and thrive. Over the past year, the City, along with Council, Align2Market and Virge Branding engaged community partners from Visit Gahanna – Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, Gahanna Chamber of Commerce, Gahanna-Jefferson school district and area businesses to create a new brand identity for the city.
“I want to thank the volunteers who helped us develop our true brand identity,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland. “This has been a long journey, but I am really impressed with the work that went into this effort and feel we now have an identifiable brand that reflects the character of our community.”
The need for a new brand for Gahanna was identified in the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan and throughout the public input process for the GoForward Gahanna Strategic Plan. Funds were approved by Council in 2016 and Align2Market and Virge Branding were selected to create the city’s new brand identity.
“Gahanna recognized the need to have a clearly defined brand to effectively attract new residents and business development, and also to build community pride,” said Pete McGinty, CEO of Align2Market. “Gahanna is an extremely connected and diverse community, very family and business friendly with an attitude of taking care of each other for the good of the whole. Few other central Ohio communities can boast the natural resources evident throughout the city. The tagline, where currents connect, is genuine, distinct and inviting, and embodies all the characteristics that make Gahanna unique.”
Before creating the new brand, Align2Market set out to gain input from the community to learn their perceptions of the current brand and what they envision the new brand to be. They conducted 18 executive interviews with local businesses and received more than 900 responses to an online survey from the community.
Using data collected in the last Citizen Survey, public input from the GoForward Gahanna and Land Use community meetings, interviews with businesses and residents, and from the brand advisory committee and administration, McGinty and his team were able to create a brand identity that connects Gahanna to its past and present and embodies the true character of the city. During the process, three emerging themes evolved: Family Powered, Naturally Beautiful and Grounded Freedom. Family is the engine that drives Gahanna, and it is a giving and caring community. With more than 750 acres of parkland, welcome space and the Big Walnut flowing through its downtown, Gahanna is naturally a beautiful city. In uncovering the true essence of Gahanna, McGinty discovered that Gahanna is a place that encourages risk takers, visionaries and entrepreneurs. In Gahanna, businesses feel supported by the mayor and city administration.
The yellow arch in the new logo represents two characteristics. First, as a literal interpretation of an arch, which is a very dominate image associated with the city and one that complement’s the current brand. The arch also symbolizes a sunrise – an awakening of a new day; a beginning, and embodies a “feel good” tone consistent with Gahanna’s strength as a family and business-friendly community.
The three streams are representative of Gahanna’s waterways and natural beauty. The word Gahanna is derived from a Native American word meaning, “three creeks joining into one.” The visual of the three streams sweeps are a representation of the three creeks and embody one of the city’s greatest strengths.
The color pallet selected is intended to embody some of the strongest community characteristics of warm, caring, welcoming and easy going. The warm blue and yellow colors also represent aesthetics and beauty.
The aesthetics of the font represent characteristics such as welcoming, belonging, and inviting. The font is both direct and elegant.
Thanks to Gahanna-based business, Ohio HD video, a brand narrative video was created to bring the new brand to life. The video can be viewed on the City’s YouTube channel. Now that phase one of the new brand has been completed; the City will be working on the second phase of implementation. The initial phase will primarily focus on updating digital assets and marketing collateral. Longer term implementation will depend on future funding sources.