Mt. Airy CDC

The mission of Mt. Airy CDC is to preserve, empower, and advance a vibrant and diverse Mt. Airy by stimulating development responsive to the community’s needs.

Branding, Print, & Web Design

Project Overview

When Mt. Airy CDC (formerly known as Mt. Airy USA) initially approached us, they had a naming conundrum on their hands. Go Mt. Airy, the organization’s events and community engagement campaign, had been a great success – to the point that its brand overshadowed the Mt. Airy USA name and brand. As a result, it was unclear to the public that the two brands were connected, which was additionally reinforced by the two initiatives both maintaining separate websites.

The challenges were multi-faceted, as not only were we tasked with unifying the brands and creating a communication hierarchy to clear up public confusion, but also to rename the main brand to something that better described the organization’s mission and purpose. To facilitate this process, the project was broken up into phases, as each step would impact the next. Once we created a refreshed, singular brand, we applied the branding strategy to the structure and design of the Mt Airy CDC collateral system and website, and integrated new functionality to help support their new initiatives and increased scope of services.

The original Mt. Airy USA (left) and Go Mt. Airy (right) logos before our renaming and redesign.

Project Goals

  • To find the best resolution to the Mt. Airy USA vs Go Mt. Airy naming and identity conundrums
  • To clearly communicate the organization’s mission and calendar of events
  • To provide a solid platform for the Go Mt. Airy Business Association
  • To raise the profile of Mt. Airy in the competitive marketplace of neighborhoods, highlighting the diversity and inclusiveness of the neighborhood
  • To elevate a singular Mt. Airy
  • To be a clearinghouse of information and resources for the Mt. Airy neighborhood
  • To connect neighbors and users of the organization’s platforms to each other in meaningful ways that help promote and strengthen positive neighborly bonds in the community

Behind the scenes shot of our Visioning Workshop with Mt. Airy CDC (left), notes collected during the Visioning workshop (right).

Our Process

We began with a visioning session in Mt. Airy that gathered key stakeholders and the design team together for an in-depth meeting that determined the project goals, key audiences, communication priorities, aesthetic direction, areas of opportunity, pain points, and the competitive landscape to form a clear vision for the project. We were even taken on a guided tour of Mt. Airy by members of the organization for some extra first hand tidbits about the neighborhood. The final visioning document served as our design roadmap through the life of the project.

Working with the key stakeholders at Mt. Airy CDC, we structured our schedule to include key deliverable dates for the several different phases of the project. After our initial visioning session, we hosted meetings remotely via Google Hangouts in order to maximize our time with the client and minimize client travel.

Our creative direction, design, and development teams participated in conversations throughout the process to gain insights into the challenges with the multiple sub-brand identities as well as the website to understand the best approach to meet immediate needs as well as long-term goals.

Some of our early logo concepts for Mt. Airy CDC.

Finalized new logo marks for Mt. Airy CDC and Go Mt. Airy.

The branding extended beyond the main Mt. Airy CDC & Go Mt. Airy logos, as we created a family of sub-brand logos to strengthen the brand and Mt. Airy’s initiatives.

Branding

Mt. Airy CDC came to us seeking to create a new branding system that could be rolled out to the Mt. Airy neighborhood and collateral. The redesign of the Mt. Airy logo aimed to resolve the conflicting logos into a single mark that gives some reference to both of the existing marks.

Our initial design concepts were inspired by the many facets of what it means to be a community development corporation, while bringing in elements of the neighborhood to give it that extra personal touch.

Once the client was happy with the direction of the main Mt. Airy CDC mark, we developed a brand system based on the main logo, a color system, and supporting design elements.

Web Design

When Mt. Airy CDC initially came to us, they had 2 separate websites for different sectors of the organization, both of which were outdated both technically as well as in how they supported the organization’s current needs and initiatives. They envisioned a new singular website that would become a clearinghouse for all things related to their organization, community partners, and the Mt. Airy community at large. The additions of a blog component and mobile capability were paramount, as well as a business directory for their business association to help support local businesses.

Our team detailed the full site and functionality via an extensive site mapping and wireframing process. This helped our team build the roadmap for all site elements, create thoughtful design layouts based on client content, and guide the client through the content generation process. The roadmap was also pivotal in pinpointing the areas where extensive development research would be needed to execute on custom features.

The restructured sitemap for the new website (left), notes from our Visioning Workshop focusing on our clients’ website goals (right).

A glimpse into the wireframe phase, where a lot of tough decisions are made regarding the information architecture of the website.

Visual comps for the unique page templates that define the different layouts across the new website.

The Outcome

The final website was developed on WordPress and includes a business directory of local businesses, a job board that users can submit jobs to within the neighborhood, a blog, and a custom event calendar to support all of Mt. Airy CDC’s efforts to communicate their mission and strengthen positive neighborly bonds in the community.

“It’s been a delight to work with Pixel Parlor to solve our organization’s significant branding conundrum. Prior to engaging the studio, we had a confusing organization name, a successful promotional initiative, and several different sub-brands that all had different logos, typefaces, and color palettes. PXP helped us streamline the whole lot with a suite of logos that referenced the parent organization (with its new name), a handsome and defined set of typefaces, and an easy-to-use style guide with color palettes for all seasons. We’ve enjoyed working with them so much that we’ve enlisted them for projects outside our original scope of work and will continue to do so.”

 

BRAD MAULE
Communications Manager, Mt. Airy CDC

BRAD COPELAND
Executive Director, Mt. Airy CDC

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