RUSSELLVILLE — Betsy McGuire, executive director of Main Street Russellville, said the city’s downtown is a great place, but it hasn’t had a recognizable brand identity — until now.
A logo for downtown Russellville will be rolled out at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the two-day Takin’ It to the Streets event and barbecue cook-off.
“We are excited about what we’ve got,” McGuire said of the brand.
So is Dan Nicholson, president of The Nicholson Group, the downtown marketing business that designed the brand for free.
Nicholson brainstormed with the company’s graphic designer, Joe Osborne, to come up with the look.
“We took landmarks downtown and placed them together with the courthouse in the middle,” Nicholson said.
Also included are a church, a storefront, a portico to represent the train depot — “the most iconic landmark downtown,” he said — and a tree.
“We used a tree to symbolize how the master plan guides us toward adding natural beauty to the downtown,” Nicholson said.
The brand, done in one continuous vector line, “shows the strength of the community, the connectivity of all facets, whether it’s government, retail, nonprofit, church, the Earth … it’s all there,” Nicholson said.
He had an “aha” moment when he and Osborne were talking about the brand.
Nicholson said he thought about how people say “downtown Russellville” but decided to reverse it.
“I said, ‘We need to be Russellville downtown.’ We are first Russellville. We didn’t want to disconnect ourselves from our community, but we’re downtown. We’re the historic district,” Nicholson said. “When you say downtown Russellville, it’s very segregating. We’re one big community, but we wanted some unique identity.
“That moniker (Russellville downtown) seemed to be the thing we began to hang our hats on.”
Three brands were designed, and a group from the Russellville Downtown Committee, a subcommitee of Main Street Russellville, decided on this concept, Nicholson said.
“Joe and I love it. I think it’s very iconic,” Nicholson said.
McGuire agreed that it’s a perfect representation for Russellville downtown.
She said she likes several components of the brand.
“I love the fact that the colors are very bright and contemporary,” she said.
She also likes the continuous line, which she said represents moving forward and “all the possibilities we have.”
“We’re not just thinking about the old but looking to the future,” McGuire said.
“We have been working for some time on the development of a more-current master plan. [The brand] is one of the tasks spelled out in our short-term [plan],” she said.
Nicholson gave credit to Jimmy Streett, an attorney and chairman of the Downtown Master Plan Committee, for his vision.
He said Streett saw “the bigger picture” and wanted branding to be one of the first aspects of the master plan.
Nicholson, who bought a building in 2006 in Russellville downtown for his business, said, “We’re glad to do it. … We’re invested.”
Nicholson said the brand identity will be placed on communication and marketing materials.
McGuire pointed out that the Russellville downtown brand does not replace the Main Street Russellville logo.
She said the plan is to get funding to order banners that have the slogan: Shop. Dine. Unwind. Russellville Downtown.
McGuire said Main Street Russellville wants to do “a better job of physically defining downtown as a place.”
The downtown brand will be unveiled in a ceremony at the first Takin’ It to the Streets event, which includes a barbecue cook-off, a downtown art walk, Collectibles on Commerce, the Tri-Peaks Community Market, live music and more.
The schedule is as follows:
• 5 p.m. — Downtown Art Walk
• 5:30 p.m. — Downtown brand reveal ceremony
• 5:45 p.m. — Arkansas Tech pep rally for the first home game
• 8 p.m. — Live music in Depot Park
• Live music throughout the day
• 8 a.m. — Tri-Peaks Community Market
• 8 a.m. — Collectibles on Commerce
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Barbecue tasting. For tasting tickets and more information, call Ray Black at (501) 470-6830.
• 2 p.m. — Barbecue cook-off winners announced
• 4 p.m. — Party at the Plaza at Arkansas Tech in Thone Stadium
• 6 p.m. — Arkansas Tech football game
• 8 p.m. — Live music in Depot Park by Summerfield Reunion, a benefit for Habitat for Humanity, sponsored by The Crossing.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or email@example.com.