Writer: Staff Reports
The Institute of Government, in collaboration with the University of Georgia Archway Partnership, recently completed a yearlong branding process in Washington County.
The new brand identity features the tagline “It All Happens Here,” which captures Washington County’s unique history and storytelling culture, celebrating what is locally known as the “WACO Life.” To learn more about the Washington County brand, visit www.brandwashingtonco.com.
The branding process resulted in a unified visual identity and brand message for the central Georgia county as well as customized logos for each of the county’s eight communities: Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Riddleville, Sandersville, Tennille and Warthen.
A broad-based community steering committee worked closely with Institute faculty member Kaitlin Messich and graphic designer Allison Cape on a three-phase process to develop a distinctive brand, related logos and typography and color palette to create an effective, unified message.
Jayson Johnston, executive director of the Washington County Development Authority, and Washington County Archway Professional Conni Fennell-Burley served as co-chairs of the steering committee and have played integral roles in the project’s success.
“This has been an incredible project and has impacted so many facets of our community,” Fennell-Burley said. “It seems that every step with the project leads to another great opportunity — the entire project has been embraced by everyone who has seen it and been involved.”
The Washington County Chamber of Commerce, led by Chamber President Katie Moncus, is managing brand implementation.
A new Washington County Brand Champions group convened in September to begin focusing on brand promotion and management. A community-wide brand reveal event is currently being planned, Fennell-Burley said.
“The chamber of commerce and the development authority has led the way with embracing both brands and we cannot wait to reveal it all to our community,” she said.
One proposal that was not chosen to become the official brand identity — with the tagline “We Dig It” — was deemed perfect to use for the county’s largest event, the annual Kaolin Festival. Though the festival was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the chamber reported record sales of T-shirts displaying the new Kaolin Festival logo and will use the proceeds to support future brand promotion.
The Institute of Government launched its Community Branding program in 2018. In addition to Washington County, other Institute branding projects include “Come Home” for Hawkinsville-Pulaski County and the Copper Basin designs that present a unified regional identity while capturing the copper mining history and heritage of the neighboring cities of McCaysville, Ga., and Copperhill and Ducktown, Tenn.
Shown above: Washington County and all eight of its cities are planning to unveil a distinctive community brand that the Institute of Government developed in collaboration with a local steering committee and the UGA Archway Partnership.