GIVING GARDEN CITY A GOOD NAME
The newly formed Garden City Visitors Bureau gave us a heavy lift: Revamp the city’s image by creating its first-ever brand.
This four-mile city, which is surrounded by the cities of Boise and Eagle, has always been a bit of an outlier. It was originally home to farms that lined the Boise River, then embraced gambling in the 1940s and quickly became the place for nightlife. In the ’60s and ’70s, thanks to relaxed housing and business regulations, it became an inexpensive location to live and set up shop. By the 1980s, the little city was in the throes of an identity crisis, one that started to ease in the 1990s when artists began living and working there.
If you’ve lived in the Treasure Valley for more than a few years, you’ve probably heard the alternate names for Garden City (they’re not exactly nice). But those nicknames are at odds with today’s city: Still quirky, still attracting artists and boutique businesses, but now with an undeniable undercurrent of cool. Garden City is home to the Craft Beverage Corridor, one of the state’s top havens for beer and wine makers, plus upscale housing near the Boise River and carefully developed green spaces and public art. There’s still a lot of grit in Garden City, and that’s what makes it unexpected and interesting.
How to wrap up all of that history in one brand, though?
Our task was to create a brand that reflected Garden City’s unique and colorful history while also highlighting the qualities that make it such a hub for artists, small businesses, and the state’s craft beverage boom. We also needed to showcase the city’s astounding access to nature and its prime spot on the Greenbelt.
Our assignment had three components: A new tagline and messaging, a new logo, and a brand-new website. We worked with the newly-formed Garden City Visitors Bureau and its truly collaborative board. They connected us with key stakeholders, provided clear direction and feedback, and allowed us to stretch the possibilities of a traditional tourism/economic development message.
The hand-drawn logo celebrates the iconic landmarks and events that the city has built itself around since its inception in the mid-20th century. Thomas Walsh incorporated the famous horse atop the Ranch Club, the Boise River, the fairgrounds, beer and wine, and so much more — as one member of the board said, “The more I keep looking at it, the better it gets!”
The tagline, “An Oasis from Ordinary,” plays on Garden City’s misfit history and positions it as a refuge from everyday life and obligations. It not only establishes the city as a place to play and recreate, but a location that supports new ways of being and thinking.
The website features the best highlights of Garden City, paying particular attention to the Craft Beverage Corridor, artists and makers, and nature. It is designed to give an in-depth guide to this city while also encouraging visitors to make the city their own by using travel itineraries and guides as navigation tools. We placed an emphasis on clarity and navigability and incorporated stunning photos from the city’s history, artists and makers, and events. The “Things to Do” section includes a comprehensive breakdown of places to see and be in Garden City and is the perfect launchpad for a newbie or someone who wants to rediscover this local gem.
We are so proud of this project because we struggled to find the right tone and balance — but we think we got it right.