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Need a fresh logo without a long branding process?

Winter/SPRING 2017

Re-imagining government for a new generation

San Rafael, California is a small city with a rich past and a bright future. With an influx of new businesses, more young professionals and families, and the arrival of the SMART train in 2017, it was time to take a fresh look at the way the city engages with residents, businesses, and visitors. To meet the needs of a growing city and a new generation of residents, businesses, and visitors, the city spearheaded a year-long digital modernization effort to re-imagine government and community engagement. The result? A new logo, web site and so much more. Afstudio collaborated with developer, ProudCity on the Design of brand new city website to make it easier to find answers and get things done.

New City of San Rafael logo

Honoring the past, celebrating the future

Putting a dated logo on a redesigned website is a bit like remodeling the living room but keeping the old Barcalounger.

The City of San Rafael wanted a fresh, modern new logo that would reflect its unique strengths to businesses, residents, and visitors alike. And the envisioning process of the past year had generated a lot of insight into perceptions and attitudes; the perfect foundation for creative discovery. They reached out to us as a local design firm, knowing that we would bring to the table an intuitive sense of what makes San Rafael a great place to live, work, and play. We may be biased, but we think the new logo is a perfect representation of SR’s rich history and future direction.

Various brnading components for the new City of San Rafael logo

A Collaborative Design Discovery Process

Leveraging the city’s vision work, we were able to fast-track the city council through a process of discovery to get to the essence of the city’s spirit and identity.

We started with a deep dive into the City’s history and vision, with a special look into changing demographics and expectations of government. We looked at comparable cities, and presented examples of other city logos which helped team members home in on the right design elements. All of the things that represent San Rafael were put on the table – its world-class film center and vibrant downtown, Mt. Tamalpais and pristine coastline, county seat buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and its future as a rapid transit hub.

The new logo is a perfect representation of San Rafael’s rich history and future direction.

Illustration showing the San Rafael logo in use
New logo, new look

Effective branding involves more than just a logo. Afstudio also worked with the design sub-committee to create a color palette, image gallery, iconography and typography used throughout the new website. A comprehensive branding guidelines is are available to staff members, ensuring that the City’s communications and outreach look unified and appealing to intended users.

Tips for maximizing your branding project

Learn More

You can read more about San Rafael’s digital modernization and re-branding effort here:

Get Started

If you’re ready to replace your Barcalounger with a sleek new image, drop us a line at info@afstudio.com