York County, Pennsylvania

For those who want the freedom to flex their imagination and revolutionary spirit, Downtown York, the creative core for makers in York County, PA, is the region’s hub of new ideas, cultural revitalization, culinary curiosity, and artistic exploration so you can be on the forefront of what’s new with a backdrop of outdoor beauty.
Community Wide, Downtown, Economic Development
About This Project

Key Challenge

Several York County entities – including tourism, economic development, and the arts – were simultaneously yet separately pursuing grant funding for strategic branding initiatives. Rather than chase disparate, disjointed efforts with no chance of integration, the Community Foundation of York County brought the partners together to maximize resources in a collaborative, cohesive effort for a vibrant York County. All parties were interested in leveraging historic assets and youthful energy into distinct yet complementary brands to attract interest and investment for York County and its communities. Without enough funding for individual efforts, off the partners went into a research-intensive process hopeful for an integrated brand that ensured individuality.

Critical Insight

Downtown York is celebrated for its rapid revitalization and ability to attract creative thinkers.  The air of history and legacy of forward-thinking has attracted a new generation, one looking to define a future from the same spaces that witnessed our nation’s founding. Its location at the heart of the county and lower cost of living amazes those who experience a historic, urban lifestyle more affordable than in major metros. Moreover, with York County close—but not too close—to Baltimore and Philadelphia, urban opportunities and rural ease are always accessible without the chaos. Downtown York and York County share a unique opportunity to present a desirable quality of life that balances rural and urban sensibilities. They invite new thinkers, artists, young families, and empty-nesters to make a difference in their own futures, to contribute to a place committed to the advancement of freedom, culture, and ideas throughout our history. York County has long been a place that makes things, and Downtown York has been the setting for making a change, specifically. The two and all their partners are inextricably aligned and naturally appealing to millennials, a sought-after demographic that sometimes demands a quality of life it can’t afford. York County offers their preferred lifestyle with room to spare in the budget.

Brand Identity

Once a manufacturing juggernaut and subsequently the Factory Tour Capital of the World, York County sought a brand that could speak to this great history as well as to the daily experiences available to visitors and residents. The Have it Made Here brand allows the York County partners to allude to their manufacturing heritage and celebrate all of the amenities and attributes of a great quality of life in the county.  While that line works for different communities including Downtown York, the urban core chose a line that celebrates its place in history and the innovative, creative work being done inside all of its historic buildings.  Historically Edgy invites people to join a long line of creatives on the vanguard. It perfectly serves the dynamic food and arts scenes in Downtown York and is attractive to young professionals and empty-nesters alike. The accompanying brand logos are simple yet effective in communicating the artful edge and welcoming nature of all parts of York County. For the County, a simple Y monogram inside half-circles resembles a branding iron’s mark, ready to stamp everything “made here” with approval. The Downtown York logo plays off of this idea in a way that is striking for its use of negative space and size contrasts.