North County was an economic development region looking to transform from five independent small cities located in a naturally beautiful, less-developed corridor of Southern California to a powerhouse economic development region capable of attracting creative entrepreneurs, red-hot start-ups and big-name businesses. Cumulatively, the five cities in the region had everything they needed to go head-to-head with competitors in terms of creativity, educational opportunities and quality of life plus additional advantages for business growth and development that come with the region’s physical space and natural beauty. The challenge was multi-pronged: package the primary assets of the five cities with a look and message that is beneficial to all involved and compelling in a crowded marketplace; pinpoint the region geographically for those unfamiliar with its location; establish a relationship with nearby and well-known San Diego in a way that leverages all the ways North County is like the famous city but presents a platform for promoting advantages it has over the city.
Changing the name from North County to the 78 Corridor helped pinpoint the region geographically within Southern California by connecting it with the well-known transportation corridor that runs through the area. The change also expanded the breadth of the region to the degree that over time, additional cities located along the 78 Corridor could come on board. The strapline “San Diego’s Upside” is extraordinarily hardworking, both reinforcing the region’s geographic position above San Diego as well as establishing the idea that the 78 Corridor offers all the well-known benefits of the San Diego area without some of the well-known drawbacks including high price and overdevelopment. The campaign “Innovate 78” gave all the players in the 78 Corridor a rallying cry for rolling out the region’s brand, identifying the region’s innovators and areas of innovation and reaching out to other innovators outside the region. Finally, the brightly colored geometric graphic identity is designed around a five-sided pentagon, where each side and different color represents one of the cities in the 78 Corridor. This approach promotes the strength of the region but also allows for identification and promotion of the region’s individual parts.