All about the new branding and logo for the City of Independence, MO.
Many towns and cities have stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The rare few have stories of such historic proportions that they become the stuff of legends. Rarer still are the cities whose “Once upon a time” is tied to the opening chapters of so many American lives.
But, Independence, Missouri is a city unlike any other. It is where 400,000 fearless souls set off on a new venture that would not only alter the course of their lives, but the trajectory of an entire country. It is a city so visionary, self-determined and free-spirited, that it became the jumping off point to a whole new world.
It’s not surprising then that 100 years later, the 33rd President of the United States should also find his roots and jumping off point in Independence. In his own pioneering way, Harry S. Truman helped write a big part of our country’s history. And as a great American himself, shape its ideals and role in the world.
From the strength and fortitude of its earliest trailblazers to the straight-talking, pragmatism of Harry S. Truman, Independence has provided the country just what it needed at the time. And the city continues its role as a launching pad for brave new ideas and future growth. Nowhere is that more evident than in places like the Ennovation Center, an entrepreneurial incubator where a fiercely independent and creative work ethic is blazing new trails in industries from business technology and healthcare to food services and bringing a whole new generation of innovators to the area.
The light radiates brightly today from the city that shined the way for so many over the years. Current and future developments from the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena and the Independence Farmer’s Market to a vibrant retail scene and the Little Blue Parkway corridor stand as beacons for those aspiring to write their own next chapters.
From our nation’s history to your own family history, there’s a great story waiting to unfold and be told in Independence.
Following the creation of the Brand Story a new logo was created to unify the many areas of the City, including departments and organizations. The pre-existing associations with the name “Independence” is already a big part of the brand story. For this reason, the logo intentionally made the name the hero.
The Independence flame is a symbolic beacon that stands for Independence. It’s a place where anyone should be inspired to pursue their dreams in personal or professional endeavors. It is a respectful nod to the "Eternal Flame of Freedom" dedicated to the memory of President Harry S. Truman and on display at the Truman Library and Museum. The Independence flame consist of three strokes, representative of the historic Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail and California Trail whose origins began in Independence, and yet another example of pursuing A Great American Dream. The blue was chosen to provide the City of Independence a corporate and professional tone. The red was chosen for its obvious pairing to the American patriotism. The red and blue along with the rest of the recommended palette were chosen to represent a sense of permanence by keeping the color variations more jewel tone in nature and not overly bright.
The City of Independence began its rebranding effort in 2017, after a communications audit found that we were employing more than 40 logos across our various departments and programs. This project was requested by community leaders following visits to other communities in which a strong brand assisted in the growth and marketing of the cities.
In February 2018, the City selected the company, Chandlerthinks, to lead the development of our new brand. Chandlerthinks is a marketing firm based in Franklin, Tennessee that specializes in “place branding” for cities, communities and tourism destinations.
The City also created a brand steering committee -- made up of citizens, business owners, the Mayor and City Council members -- to assist and offer feedback to Chandlerthinks throughout the brand development process. That process would take place over the following 12 months.
Our citizens played a crucial role in the creation of our new brand. Through interviews, surveys and focus groups, we gathered feedback from more than 2,000 people from across the city about how they perceive Independence to create an understanding of Independence’s identity today.
Here are some of the key findings from the research:
It took a full year before the City’s new brand was approved in February 2019. This brand is summarized with the theme “Independence, Missouri: A Great American Story” which reflects on the unique history of the City of Independence including the Trails and President Truman. While we are not “The Great American Story,” the characters and chapters connected to our community have shaped who we are as a nation and who we are as a City today.
The City has now formed the Brand Independence Committee to assist in the implementation and ongoing review of the City’s new brand. The primary goal of this committee is to increase the positive perception of the City of Independence and create broad buy-in of the brand associated with it.
The City of Independence Seal includes a covered wagon and mules in honor of our role as the Queen City of the Trails. And while Independence has changed in many ways from the days of the trails, this symbol of our history is no less important. Covered wagons rarely grace our streets and mules are not kept by every household, but this is still a gathering place and a jumping off point for many families. Our heritage can never be taken away, nor should it be forgotten. For this reason, we recommend the original City of Independence Seal have a definitive purpose for its use. The primary use of the City Seal should be for reflecting or recognition of community historical importance. These instances would be proclamations, special recognitions or declarations where it is important to document the occasion.
The City of Independence Seal will be used for specific occasions, and doing so, will elevate its importance. The seal is not a marketing insignia. The new logo is necessary to properly represent the City of Independence and display its relevance today, and will be the primary mark used to represent Independence in its signage, marketing and communications.
This committee is made of up 10 citizens, representatives from the Square Association, Englewood Arts District, Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, Independence Center, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council and a Young Professionals Advisory Committee.
The primary goal of this committee is to increase the positive perception of the City of Independence and create broad buy-in of the brand associated with it throughout the community.