YORK, PA – Downtown York is on the historic register and the cutting edge, and it now has a new destination brand that celebrates the mashup of old and new, tradition and innovation, and revolution and evolution that gives the city its distinct personality.
Downtown Inc today revealed Downtown York’s new tagline, “Historically Edgy,” and a new destination logo. It marks the first step to bring the brand to life throughout the 26 square blocks of Downtown York and beyond, with the ultimate goal to attract more visitors to York County.
“More than a year ago we set out to tell the story of Downtown York, and the path led us to ‘Historically Edgy.’ While some cities are held back by their history, Downtown York enthusiastically brings history to life with a defining modern edge,” said Silas Chamberlin, CEO of Downtown Inc. “This brand is more than a logo and a new tagline. We want it to become part of the fabric of the city. Let’s show the world what it means to be historically edgy.”
The brand pays homage to Downtown York’s history. York is the birthplace of the Articles of Confederation, the home of museums honoring the city’s past and a place where stunning architecture is found everywhere from Central Market to the York Water Co. building.
Yet, the word revolutionary is also forward-looking in Downtown York, where York College inspires traditional and edgy thinking alike, and WellSpan gives the community a dose of innovative health care.
Businesses like Think Loud are remastering everything from urban neighborhoods to music. Taste Test gives budding chefs a chance to become bona fide restaurateurs. Warehaus and Royal Square Development & Construction give blighted areas a second chance, while creative firms and artists inject new energy into a city on the upswing.
“Downtown York is the creative core for makers in York County,” Chamberlin said. “This is where bold and even radical ideas are encouraged, nurtured and supported, allowing businesses to make their own history with a competitive edge.”
Festivals and street fairs are a loving obsession in Downtown York, where the artful ingenuity of boutiques, galleries and craft breweries spills onto the streets for First Fridays every month. Even the booming food scene is historically edgy, blending old favorites with culinary twists.
All of it combines for a quality of life that is attracting everyone from millennials to empty nesters. The hip urban environment is still close to York County’s beautiful outdoor amenities, such as the York County Rail Trail, the Susquehanna Riverlands and bucolic vineyards of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail.
Today’s Downtown York brand announcement is part of a larger collaborative Brand York initiative to tell Downtown York and York County’s stories in a consistent and strategic way. A new York County destination brand, designed to work hand-in-hand with the new Downtown York brand, is also under development.
A steering committee comprised of Downtown Inc, the York County Community Foundation, the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the York County Economic Alliance, the York County Cultural Alliance, York County and Main Street Hanover has been working with Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies to build the integrated brands.
The process began last year with a research phase that included site visits, community surveys, focus groups and more. North Star distilled the data into two brand platform statements that guided the steering committee through a creative phase this past spring and summer.
“The launch of Downtown York’s new brand is just the first step in telling our collective story in a more impactful way. More than just in appearance, these two brands are integrated on a deeper level. They’re built from the same research and will sync naturally,” said Jane Conover, President and CEO of the York County Community Foundation. “Both brands are supported by a collaborative group of branding partners who continue to work together to boost a cohesive message.”
Guided by a comprehensive implementation plan developed by North Star, Downtown Inc will move to bring the new Downtown York brand to life over the next three years. Downtown Inc Marketing & Communications Manager Andrew Staub will serve as brand manager.
In one of its first brand implementation efforts, Downtown Inc collaborated with YRK Creative to redesign and reimagine its Downtown York magazine. The Fall/Holiday edition launched with a cover article about the people who make Downtown York “Historically Edgy” and more content representative of the new brand.
As part of its implementation efforts, Downtown Inc is requesting the community’s assistance in building The Edgy Inventory, a collection of stories that embody Downtown York’s historically edgy brand. Downtown Inc will share the stories on social media, in its magazine and on its website as it implements the brand over the coming years.
Anyone can submit their own historically edgy story at www.DowntownYorkPa.com/EdgyInventory. The goal is to collect 277 stories, one for every year of York’s existence, by the end of 2018.
“The power of this brand comes from the community that helped craft it. Now, we’re looking to Yorkers to again help us tell the stories of a city that is historically edgy, inside and out,” Staub said. “Working together, we can shine a light on the people, places and things that make our city a special place.”
Downtown Inc thanks the York County Tourism Grant Committee for its support of the Brand York initiative. A $100,000 tourism grant funded the research and creative phases of the project, and the committee has allotted another $150,000 this year to implement both the Downtown York Brand and the York County brand.
The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the county’s official tourist promotion agency, will serve as brand manager for the new York County brand.
COLLATERAL: To view logo files and conceptual art of how the new Downtown York brand could be used, as well as to view a detailed FAQ document about the new Downtown York brand, please visit this Dropbox folder. Please note that all brand concepts are just that: concepts. There is no guarantee that Downtown Inc will implement any of the concepts shown. Downtown Inc may also create other branded items or infrastructure not shown here.
Downtown York’s Historically Edgy brand is managed by Downtown Inc, an affiliate of the York County Economic Alliance. Don’t know about us? We’re THE organization working to drive, enhance and encourage investment in York’s central business district through economic development, promotions, placemaking and public safety. Legally speaking, Downtown Inc is the trade name for a joint venture between the York Business Improvement District Authority and Main Street York, a 501(c)(3) not for profit.