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Albany: "Urban Village by the Bay"

Will you miss being the "Northern Gateway to Alameda County"? Tell us in the comments.

culminated this week in a new tagline, full-color brochure and six-swatch color palette, among many other ideas, meant to showcase the city's strongest points. 

The was unveiled in a two-hour presentation Wednesday by Tripp Muldrow and Tee Coker, of Arnett Muldrow & Associates

The goal of the project was to make Albany more attractive to businesses, which could be particularly important in light of the city's .

Consultants held a bevy of meetings this week to hear from as many community members as possible about how they see Albany, and how they hope to see it portrayed. Residents shared thoughts over three days about the city's .

Wednesday afternoon, Muldrow and Coker presented nearly 40 PowerPoint slides of ideas for how to capture the city's best qualities. The package is attached to the right as a PDF.

A number of slogans made it into the presentation, including one that has in the past ("Come for the schools, stay for the bitter waterfront infighting"). But the final selection was likely a wiser choice for the city's purpose: "Urban village by the Bay."

(See other finalists in the PDF.)

The presentation includes a number of statements summarizing community values such as education, diversity and sustainability.

It also includes a font (a pre-existing creation called "Solano Gothic"), a six-color palette selection, and labels highlighting Albany as "Simply Green," "Simply Smart" and "Simply Local."

For city workers, there's a new business card design, along with matching letterhead. There are also several new logo variations for the .

The consultants suggested possible signage to highlight Albany's free parking, bike safety and main avenues, among other offerings. 

A full-color brochure includes photographs of local merchants, incorporating all the design ideas and taglines. Green local businesses, the new and all make an appearance.

So what do you think of the new designs? Check out the PDF and weigh in below.

Everybody makes mistakes ... ! If there's something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at emilier@patch.com.

Karen Larson May 06, 2011 at 01:51 PM
I like it! And no, I won't miss "Northern Gateway to Alameda County" -- silliest motto ever!
Aaron Priven May 06, 2011 at 04:08 PM
I think it's great. $16K is nothing to spend on an effort like this.
Holly McCroskey May 06, 2011 at 06:57 PM
I like the overall design concept and themes, and the "urban village" slogan is right on. (That it is far superior to the old official motto goes without saying -- just about ANYTHING would be.) I'm not so sure about the "simply [blank]" stuff. But that's a quibble. Whether the money spent on the project was a worthy use of limited funds is a different question, one on which I have no clear opinion -- but at least we seem to have received quality work for the price.
Brian Parsley May 06, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Holly it is important to note that the $16000 came out of redevelopment funds not the general fund.
Emilie Raguso May 06, 2011 at 09:19 PM
From City Manager Beth Pollard: To add to your reference to the pre-existing typeface "Solano Gothic," please credit Albany resident and founder of MVB Fonts, Mark von Bronkhorst. He has brilliantly and generously donated his talent to his community by creating this font, as well as selecting colors and developing imagery, for Albany. My thanks to him and Chelle Putzer in the Recreration Department for springboarding us into Albany's "retro cool" look. And thanks to Arnett Muldrow & Associates, and all who participated this week to create a new, unifying image for Albany!
wendy stephens May 06, 2011 at 11:00 PM
"Albany: Where grown-ups take loving care of seniors and children." "Albany: Where strollers and strollers meet." The given tag line lacks individual character that speaks to Albany as a place where I have been a homeowner for more than 30 years. WMS
Peter Goodman May 06, 2011 at 11:10 PM
I'm very happy with the results. "Urban Village" isn't especially new and doesn't roll of the tongue, but it's clear, not trendy or cutesy, and captures the essence of what many Albany residents consider the best of what Albany has to offer: all the amenities of a sophisticated community with a small-town commitment to core local values, which include education, community, civic pride. The "Simply X" tag works and is infinitely malleable. My suggestions moving forward: 1. The image-making needs a champion on the city's staff to keep notes and monitor usage, consistency, tweaking, propagation, etc. Don't know who that is or what dept. they're in, but it's really important that the collaterals prepared remain accessible and that the key points of the branding initiative are maintained and documented. 2. This champion then needs to 'sell' other staff, citizens, and especially businesses around town on the concept and to encourage its adoption. I hope the champion will prepare a simple web-based stylebook consisting of fonts, slogans, colors etc for download by business and ad agencies. 3. Things do evolve, but we should be careful to avoid too much drift in the beginning. I'm sure we all see places where the message, slogan, color palette, whatever could be improved, but this initiative will only work if it's applied consistently. Give it a chance to work!
Kristin May 06, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Where can I get one of those bags?! How about t shirts too???? Like in the 90's
Mary Rees May 07, 2011 at 06:19 AM
Can't we use "Come for the schools, stay for the bitter waterfront infighting" as a local rallying cry, a cheer at pep rallies and Solano Stroll?

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