The billboards unveiled on State Street Tuesday, April 24 are just the first step for Charlotte’s new community brand. Developed over the course of the past two years through a collaborative effort between CanDo! and CharlotteRising — with input from a number of other community leaders and organizations — the brand was designed by Redhead Design Studio of Lansing to be utilized in promoting all facets of the Charlotte community.

“It’s really an exciting moment in the history of Charlotte,” said Dillon Rush, executive director of CharlotteRising, during the Tuesday unveiling. “We may not recognize it right now, but this is special, this is unique, and we ought to be proud of it going forward.”

Darice Darling, chair of the CanDo! marketing committee, which has served as lead on the project since its inception, said Redhead Design helped develop a brand that accurately and proudly reflects Charlotte and brings the community together under one cohesive identity.

“Together we created a cool brand,” Darling said. “It’s authentic, its timeless, its generous, it’s easy. We wanted it to be something that when you saw it, it evoked a feeling. It’s not just generic. We heard consistently as we got very close to selecting the direction that this went in that this had energy, and it creates feelings of warmth and home. It is something flexible and adaptable so that it can be integrated to help promote other local initiatives and events that are happening.”

Rush said the most exciting aspect of the new brand is its versatility.

“My favorite thing about it is that it is applicable to just about every entity in the community,” Rush said. “(CharlotteRising) has a mission to cultivate a vibrant and enduring downtown Charlotte, and at the crux of that mission is to position downtown as the center of life, the center of activity and vibrancy all on a united front. With the new community brand doing just that, it is only going to propel us forward in that light.”

Darling said more information will be made available soon as to how the community can help promote the brand, including a list of brand standards.

“Some of the first things you’ll see are more billboards as well as a downtown business directory,” Darling said.

Attendees of the Tuesday unveiling each received a hat with the new “C” avatar. The standalone C is the in the same font as the new Charlotte logo, which was created to reflect the community’s rich history and authentic nature.

The first community event to utilize the new brand is Charlotte Celebrates (the new name of the former Celebrate Charlotte festival). The second billboard on State Streets shows how the brand can be interchanged and used to promote community initiatives. Instead of the new Charlotte logo with the tagline of Michigan underneath, the same Charlotte logo is used with Celebrates underneath. The same approach can be used with many different aspects of the community, Darling said.

Gregg Guetschow, Charlotte City Manager and current chair of CanDo! said the community brand creates a new way for Charlotte to introduce itself to the larger region and create another memorable impression of Charlotte moving forward.