Founded in 1856, Lincoln is the capital of the state of Nebraska and, with approximately 300,000 citizens in the metro area, its second most populated city, after neighboring Omaha. Lincoln has a nice, friendly, groovy feel that is lost on most potential tourists or people looking to live in nice, friendly, groovy places. Last week, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce introduced a new brand that aims to attract talented people to live there and boost the economy. The identity was designed by local firm Archrival. A handy PDF with the brand presentation can be found here.
I haven’t been to Lincoln, so I speak as a member of the potential audience Lincoln is trying to attract. Looking solely at the logo and identity, I would think it’s a city led by the high-tech industry — not true — or a city with lots of street intersections and busy interconnected stuff happening all around — not true either, at least not in the way it’s portrayed, which looks more like a high-density metropolis. Neither of these two impressions is what I would like to think of if I were considering moving to Lincoln. Seems like charm, small-town feel, tranquil lifestyle, and creativity are attributes more real to the city yet none of that comes through. The identity is contemporary, I’ll give it that, but it is also quite generic: Replace “Lincoln” with any small size city name (or software company) and the result would be equally effective, or ineffective. I appreciate the ambition of the identity and the message it’s trying to communicate but it just seems to miss the mark, even when there is an arrow pointing at the target.
Graphically, the identity is fine. It follows a lot of the trends we’ve been seeing: Gotham (with elongated “L”s to form a square), overlaid colors on the arrow, and a lot of heavy patterning. There are some interesting moments like the arrow and “L” icon and when that combo is embedded in the pattern. Everything is decently done, but nothing we haven’t seen before.