Category Archives: icon

NC Branding

Has your institution been through a branding process in the past few years? Business leaders argue that globalization and web-based information networks require recognizable icons that instantly communicate information and impressions. Like all “best practices” of the business world, branding has transferred quickly to the cultural sector.

NC brandThe North Carolina Department of Commerce recently completed a statewide branding process and began its campaign to spread the new brand icon and slogan earlier this month. According to Commerce’s website, “The logo symbolizes the brand by focusing on the longleaf and other pine trees, a reflection of North Carolina’s strong roots and continued growth. The colors move from green to blue, mirroring the diverse landscape from the mountains to the sea. The tagline ‘Nothing Compares’ captures the excitement of being connected to a place rich in ideas and opportunities.”  Coincidentally, the NC icon has added significance for our own state agency, as the Dept. of Cultural Resources is bringing 5 divisions (previously from DENR) into its fold, transforming into a much larger Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources.

First-in-freedom-plate-jpgA different, more history-focused branding initiative is NC’s new license plate, which is currently an alternative to “First in Flight.” As of July 2015, car purchasers can choose the older, Wright-brothers-invoking license plate design or a “First in Feedom” plate, illustrated with a quill pen. License plates act as brand ambassadors, as drivers from one state travel far and wide. Perhaps the next license plate will incorporate the longleaf pine motif and “Nothing Compares” slogan. The “First in Freedom” design marks a revival of an older state license plate slogan used from 1975-1985. The two dates on the plate reiterate those commemorated in the state seal—those of protests for independence from Britian in both the Mecklenburg and Halifax areas, respectively.

The freedom license plate design dovetails a new initiative for our new NC Resources Dept.—“It’s Revolutionary.” Now that celebrations of the Civil War Sesquicentennial have simmered down, our department will be emphasizing the revolutionary rebellions and documents that North Carolinians generated 240 years ago. Museums and historic sites are already amplifying the revolutionary theme with special programs and exhibitions. Hopefully, these historically significant local stories will engage audiences across the state.

What North Carolina icons and slogans resonate the most with you and/ or your communities? Have your own branding efforts corresponded with institutional successes?