Ad agency challenges designers to give Raleigh a new logo

ccampbell@newsobserver.comNovember 8, 2013 

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Kellyn McGarity, an art director at the advertising firm Baldwin&, designed this city logo as part of the Rebrand Raleigh project.

COURTESY OF BALDWIN&

— City leaders have been talking for months about creating an eye-catching new logo for branding, economic development and other efforts.

The city hasn’t sought possible designs yet, but it will soon have plenty of ideas thanks to a Raleigh advertising agency. Baldwin& has launched a creative initiative called Rebrand Raleigh, giving a series of designers two weeks to create a logo for the city.

Baldwin&’s Chad Temples said he wasn’t aware of the city’s discussions when he started Rebrand Raleigh, and the agency sees it as a creative effort to discover its home city.

“We’re trying to figure out what makes Raleigh special,” Temples said. “We’ve got the talent and the people who are curious enough to look at what Raleigh could look at.”

Every two weeks, a different designer will take over the Rebrand Raleigh page on Instagram, a photo sharing website. They will post photos of the city that inspire them and various uses of their logo. Temples said the project will start with Baldwin& professionals, then creative types outside the agency will be invited to join in.

“The rules are to end up with something cool at the end of it,” he said.

Baldwin& art director Kellyn McGarity was the first participant, offering a more modern twist on the city’s existing seal. A recent transplant from Dallas, she spent the first week exploring Raleigh and posting photos of her favorite spots – from the architecture of the State Capitol to the hand-painted sign on the former Raleigh Sandwich Shop on Wilmington Street.

Moving from the new buildings of Dallas, McGarity said, “what stood out from (Raleigh) was its historical, rough grittiness.”

McGarity’s final design includes the wreath seen at a State Capitol monument and sun rays to represent “a very positive, Southern happy city.” The choice of a rusty orange color represents Raleigh’s historic brick buildings that appeal to the Texas transplant.

The longtime city seal that inspired McGarity’s logo isn’t going anywhere, but Raleigh leaders are interested in joining their Wake County counterparts in having both a logo and a seal.

The Rebrand Raleigh project will run for months, and the logos could eventually make their way to a gallery show. And if the city council comes calling, the designers are happy to help, but it’s not their main goal.

“We did this because we wanted to show the area and the people in the area that Raleigh is a creative mecca,” McGarity said.

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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