The City of Lemon Grove is home to 26,000 residents and has a 3.9 square mile community. It’s shifting demographic is becoming younger and more diverse. Myself and other designers in the SDSU Graphic Design Studio course were tasked to create a new logo and brand system for the city representing the current civic revitalization.
Not only am I a resident of Lemon Grove, but I represent their target demographic. I see the growth, sense of community, infrastructure improvements, and upward mobility this community has experienced in the last six years of living here. The city’s success is my success.
I had one month to design the brand identity and the extended brand system. The design needed to include a lemon, and have no representation of the trolly or public transportation, like in the current logo. The new brand had to have longevity, and contain no trendy elements or colors. Other limitations and constraints included the number of designers who already presented solutions in 2016 to the city council, so, I needed to show a unique solution. The greatest challenge with this project was the lack of communication between city council members and the designers. It was difficult to get clear, unified design directions from all the stakeholders.
Since communication was difficult, I relied upon the Master Narrative and Key Messages for the City of Lemon Grove that was given to us by the city council members at our first client meeting. I knew this was a valuable resource that all city council members agreed upon. This document clearly lists what type of city they are, and how they envision themselves as a community looking forward. I used all the information in this document to design my first solution.
To accurately represent the shifting demographic while following the city’s Master Narrative and Key Messages.
When the City of Lemon Grove came to our Design Studio class, many designers were hesitant on working with them again due to the previous poor communication while working with them in 2016. In our class, we are given options on who we prefer to work with, and many designers decided to work with other clients. I, on the other hand, was looking forward to, again, having the chance to rebrand their city and welcomed the challenge. I understand that if it’s done correctly the power of good design and how much economic and community impact it can have on a city. I want to give back to my community and design a logo that makes myself, and others, want to continue to stay in Lemon Grove and build our families.
- The city has a median age of 36.8
- Median household income of $55,404
- 44.6% Hispanic, 34.4% White, and 10.3% Black
- 39.4% speak a non-English language
- 91.2% are U.S. citizens
- Median property value is $316,500
- Homeownership rate is 55.6%
The logo needs to represent the historic past of Lemon Grove, and also represent their future forward vision while appealing to the growing younger population. The new brand must have the capacity for longevity, connote governmental authority, and allow versatility in applications to different materials and sub-brands.
My research started by reflecting on all the past and unsuccessful design solutions that were presented to the city in 2016. I then carefully studied the City of Lemon Grove’s Master Narrative and seven Key Messages to really understand how they view themselves as a city, and where they want to grow in the future. I began a visual field and explored other city logos that fit into the style and contemporary feel the city wants to achieve.
This solution is a contemporary, geometric logo that gives a new visual identity to a traditional lemon. This logo was designed following Lemon Grove’s Key Messages. Its central location and leadership are represented by the centered alignment of the dot, while the accessibility and open lines of communication are shown with the white lines leading to and from the center. The central dot and connecting white lines also symbolize a strong community connection. The diverse and unique essence that make up the community of Lemon Grove is represented with the division of colors. The colors chosen are from Lemon Grove’s current primary color palette, which is composed of warmer hues that will have long-term staying power. The typeface chosen is a grotesque san serif called Univers. Univers is a typeface that offers a variety of weights in clear, objective forms. When combined with sub-brands or other collateral, it gives the impression of steadiness and uniformity.
- Centrally Located
The secondary design solution is an ornamental square emblem. This mark communicates an upscale feel for the community that represents the aspirations of changes surrounding new development and stronger community engagement in Lemon Grove. Inside are overlapping lines of lemons. These continuous lines represent the open lines of communication between the city and its residents. Overlapping lines in the corners form arrows pointing outwards which represents Lemon Grove’s new leadership and growth. The ornate design draws parallels to the new focus and investment in infrastructure improvements to beautify the city and securing community assets. The color chosen is a warm yellow hue from Lemon Grove’s color palette, matched with a geometric sans-serif typeface.
- Community Engagement
I presented two design solutions to the City of Lemon Grove, while further expanding one with an extended brand system. The extended brand shows a stationery system, buttons, pole banners, and a desktop and responsive UI design.
The stationery for the city’s brand was designed in the same contemporary style as the main mark. The business card features the large horizontal mark with right aligned text for all the contact information. The back design features an enlarged and cropped view of the logo. The letterhead was created with asymmetrical margins with justified type for the body.
Pole banners display the horizontal mark on one side while showing the enlarged logo with a type pattern inside one of the wedges with keywords; leadership, diversity, education, community, and quality of life. These word patterns and colors also have the ability the change to another color in the palette depending on the needs of the community.
Responsive Web Design
Featuring a simple user interface that contains only key elements to ensure user efficiency and satisfaction. Using a two-column grid creates consistency within the page. This larger two column grid also helps the user quickly navigate, aids in scanning, and improves readability. Brand colors are strategically used to draw attention to the sections with key information. The same two-column grid is carried over to the tablet format. The phone interface features a one-column grid with maximum user readability. It’s a clear, concise layout with the most important information easy to find.