Vestavia Hills is a charming 60-year-old Southern city set against the backdrop of the Appalachian foothills. Its residents hold a tremendous amount of pride for their hometown. However, the community had never really been able to effectively express to the outside world what it's truly like to live there. We were tasked with authentically capturing the experience of life in Vestavia Hills to help fuel growth and economic development. In targeted community surveys, we discovered three values that had defined the community for the past six decades – unity, prosperity and family. This research helped us create an identity that resonated so deeply with residents, that for the first time ever they were able to unmistakably say, “that’s us.”
A Signature Seal for the City
Every great city has a seal so it was only fitting that Vestavia Hills should have one of their own. Seals have a timeless appeal because they leverage historic moments and unique attributes in an intricate and symbolic fashion. Our mark prominently features the most iconic landmark in the city – Sibyl Temple. It is encircled by a dogwood flower, which honors the city’s flower and the long-standing dogwood festival held in the area. The fire represents an eternal flame indicating that the community will continue to uphold the values of unity, prosperity and family that set it apart.
A Living Portrait of the City and the People Who Call it Home
Speaking of Higher Ground
The first Vestavians pioneered a move to higher ground. The historic migration up Shades Mountain and the hilly typography of the land inspired the tagline and mantra for Vestavia Hills.
Other municipalities needed identities of their own, so we extended the overall look to create cohesive yet distinct marks.
Purposeful, understated designs for inspired communications.
Raising Our Site
Through a total redesign, we elevated the user experience of the municipal city website. The original site served many important functions, but wasn’t user-friendly. We took the site to new heights with increased functionality as well as a visually intuitive approach. Individual icons made the site easier to navigate and helped the users find the information they were seeking in less steps.
Rolling Hills and Highways Fracture the Community, so Unifying Signage was a Top Priority
We created a clear wayfinding system that helped residents understand when they were entering or leaving the three districts that makeup Vestavia Hills. This initiative helped dispel confusion surrounding the community and build a sense of pride.
Motivating the People to Support Their Community
Once we established signage that clearly defined the city’s boundaries, we had a prime opportunity to leverage this new awareness with a Shop, Dine and Play local campaign. We highlighted businesses with decals and ads to remind people to support their friends and neighbors by shopping and dining in Vestavia Hills.
A New Turn of Events
Active communities are known for events that draw people together and take place year after year. Vestavia Hills needed an extra dose of inspiration to create a new generation of events and festivals that the community could host. We concepted a number of events – naming them, presenting mood boards and offering ideas for how they could be implemented. The events were designed to become citywide traditions.
An Elevated View of the City’s High Points
We designed a look book to acquaint potential residents and businesses with a grand-scale view of life and happenings in Vestavia Hills. It was fashioned to entice and intrigue our audience, to get them excited about all the possibilities of relocating to this lively city. We art directed a weeklong photo shoot documenting the diversity of activities available to Vestavians, and this served as the basis for the photography used throughout the look book.