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Despite the criticism they’ve come under in recent months, the as-yet-unnamed Arts District team has forged ahead with its branding process, presenting four banner concepts yesterday that will be narrowed down to one design and installed on lampposts by the beginning of December.
The designs are the result of a feedback gathering process that, when it’s complete, will include a market research survey, focus groups, peer review, and public input from yesterday’s open house and another next Monday. The survey, taken on October 17th with 175 random people on the street at seven locations in the city, indicated that Logan, Shaw, MidCity, and U Street had the highest “mini-brand” recognition in the branding target area, while “Arts District,” “D.C. Arts District,” and “Arts and Design District” gained most traction among respondents as a name for the whole area outlined. Plus, said project lead Carol Felix, Destination DC felt that each of those could best attract outside investment.
“Our goal is to come up with the best marketable brand,” Felix explained to a small crowd gathered at the Longview Gallery on 9th Street NW. “We need to drive more traffic into our arts district.”
Once a design is chosen, it will be printed with each of the four neighborhood mini-brands on 16 by 60-inch banners, and placed in the appropriate parts of the newly-branded arts district. The facing banners, which are 24 inches wide, will be printed with unique photographic designs chosen from artist submissions. Organizer Andrea Doughty said they received “hundreds” of entries in many different media, but decided to go only with the photographic ones, since they could be more easily cropped and color-tinted.
Each of the four designs has a few common elements: Hot pink and grass green. The tagline “It’s more than art…”, which was a concession to the restauranteurs and retailers who felt left out by the arts-centric brand message. And a to-be-decided URL for a website that at this point has neither a designer or a plan for ongoing maintenance.
You can see the designs for yourself next Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hamiltonian Gallery at 1353 U Street.