Recently, the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA) asked us to help them refresh its brand. CIDNA – located in the Minneapolis lakes district – is a volunteer-based organization that facilitates initiatives to enhance the safety, beauty, and livability of the neighborhood.
Like other neighborhood organizations, CIDNA works to promote civic engagement, encourage community gatherings, preserve its green spaces, and support local businesses.
The neighborhood group is looking to raise its visibility in order to establish a stronger connection with the community. They want to engage neighbors, enhance communication efforts, and increase understanding and appreciation of the organization.
We begin each project by examining the current state of an organization to identify gaps between how it is presented and how others perceive it.
First, we reviewed existing surveys and communication channels. After several conversations with the CIDNA board, we summarized our findings in a creative brief. Key points included:
- CIDNA is not as widely known in the neighborhood as it should be. Many residents are simply not aware of the organization, and even those that are aware don’t know the full range of the organization’s activities.
- Historically, as in other neighborhoods across the city, there has been more awareness of and connection to the organization among homeowners than renters.
- CIDNA needs to reintroduce current and new neighbors to the idea of social interaction and participation, and define expectations for what a neighborhood organization can be and do.
Insights gleaned from the discovery phase became the strategy that guided our creative choices. We aimed to:
- Establish CIDNA as a hub for neighborhood activities and information.
- Increase awareness of opportunities to get involved in the community.
- Enhance understanding and appreciation of the organization and its role.
The mood board (above) was the first opportunity for the CIDNA board to see how this work translated into a new look and feel for the organization. The new brand is stronger, simpler and more modern.
- The logo takes its inspiration from the channel that connects Lake of the Isles with Cedar Lake – an apt visual metaphor for the organization’s role as a connector of neighbors.
- The colors are inspired by the lakes and the ample green spaces in the neighborhood. Vibrant photos celebrate the activities and beauty of the area in all four seasons.
- Textural elements, shapes, and patterns subtly reinforce community connections.
The mood board presentation encourages conversation that allows us to acquire insights and information, as well as address critiques or concerns. One member of the committee is visually impaired and had difficulty distinguishing between the green and blue colors we featured on the mood board. Since the rest of the design was enthusiastically received, we consulted with Minnesota’s ADA Digital Toolkit, making slight alterations that create a more inclusive brand (see below).
After the mood board was approved, we refined the logo and its variations, established the color palette, and made recommendations for typography, photography, and other graphic elements. We prepared examples of some of the most common applications, and collected all of it in the comprehensive identity guidelines. The guidelines and templates enable staff and volunteers to maintain the integrity of the new look.
Branding is intended to shape perceptions by delivering key messages and visuals to audiences in a clear and compelling way. The new design helps this Minneapolis neighborhood organization organization look as active, knowledgeable, and vibrant as the neighbors it represents.
Stay tuned for the new website in 2022!