Town Branch Commons is a proposed linear park that will run through the heart of downtown Lexington. It is an opportunity for the city to connect downtown areas, through pedestrian paths, green spaces, and the opening of a hidden underground waterway known as the Town Branch. There is little doubt that it will transform the city in a meaningful way. However, there is context to keep in mind. Lexington has grown weary of the promises of big developments, especially in downtown. A handful of aborted or stalled projects have diminished trust. The project management team for Town Branch Commons understood this context and looked to our team to shape many aspects of the communication strategy, most notably the visual and verbal foundation of the identity.
It was important that our communication strategy had clear goals. If we strayed from our core message, we risked confusing constituents, which would take potency out of the project and misdirect attention. After several in-depth sessions with the architects and the project managers, we determined that connectivity was the heart of the effort. More than the beauty of the parks, more than the opening of the underground waterway, this project was important because it connected what were once disparate sections of downtown. This is what would catalyze development downtown, and it would be lasting change. So we got to work, crafting design and language that would demonstrate this theme. However, like any thorough brand communication process, things evolved. We realized, not only could we accent the connectivity of the project, there also was room to infuse the historical character of our region. What resulted was an identity that pays homage to stone fences, a relic of central Kentucky, while capturing the notion of things coming together. In addition, we designed a new naming system for the key areas that would be connected, using terminology we knew to be more commonplace than previous terms that seemed born out of the urban planning lexicon.