Downtown Clearwater is a not-so-hidden hidden-treasure. Just a bridge away from the world-famous beaches, the downtown area is a progressive community that provides residents and nearly 1 million yearly visitors with experiences beyond the beach. More than that—the city is booming as a hotspot for investors and up-and-coming industries.
As a brand management agency, Sparxoo recently partnered with the City of Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to create a brand identity for Downtown Clearwater that reflects their position as a destination for coastal charm, tech ventures and enterprise vibrancy.
So, what goes into a creating a brand identity? I spoke with Josh Baron, Sparxoo’s Multimedia Art Director, to learn the significance behind the new look—and what it means for the future of Downtown Clearwater.
EJ: How does the new brand identity represent Downtown Clearwater?
JB: The new brand identity represents the future of Downtown Clearwater. With bold, bright colors, the logo speaks to the potential and upward movement of the city.
EJ: The brand identity pays homage to the City of Clearwater. How are the two similar? Different?
JB: Both Downtown Clearwater and the City of Clearwater have a common goal in mind, which is to attract businesses and visitors and build a bigger, better community. So while the logos are similar in terms of physical elements, like the bridge, the sky and the sun, the abstract similarities are more powerful. It’s about the potential and what lies ahead.
The Downtown identity, while inspired by the City of Clearwater, is more focused. In fact, I look at it and see what’s not there. The logo is a skyline of one building with space, signifying a place for growth and opportunity. A city where you could do, build or be anything. I wanted it to be a little open-ended.
EJ: What does the color palette signify?
JB: Again, we took inspiration from the City of Clearwater but differentiated ourselves with brighter colors. Immediately the brighter colors convey a sense of optimism and potential. Separating the colors with thick white lines also allows for brightness in every corner.
The individual colors hold a deeper meaning as well. Green represents growth and innovation, yellow is about energy and optimism and blue conveys a sense of trust, while also complementing the other two colors visually.
EJ: What type of research went into creating the new brand identity?
JB: We have the benefit of living so close to Clearwater and we also worked with them before so we knew a little of the backstory. Most of my visual research went into understanding the downtown landscape and viewing it from a new perspective.
On the accounts side, our team put a lot of strategic thought into the brand positioning. That research entailed looking at some competing and comparable-sized cities to see what elements they pulled into their brand and their website. We spent time deconstructing their success.
EJ: Tell me more about the website and the brand identity. Can you give a high-level overview of how we are applying new brand identity to new website?
JB: The website is built to support the brand identity and further the shared goal of developing a vibrant downtown. Throughout the website we use the brand colors, of course, but also a similar, clear grid. The optimism is also shown in the big, bright Clearwater imagery.
EJ: What part of the brand identity are you most proud of?
JB: I’m proud that it’s a simple mark that is able to translate across mediums. I’m also proud that you can look at the site and feel the hope and potential. The feeling is almost tangible—and it makes you want to be apart of the growth. My hope is that, in the long term, you’ll be able to look at the logo without the actual type and know what you’re looking at. This city is on an exciting adventure.