The Challenge

As the largest city in Virginia, Suffolk is a unique combination of small-town charm, outdoor adventures, and big-city opportunity. BrandFirst was awarded the opportunity to rebrand Downtown Suffolk in order to create an ownable & recognizable identity to help support its efforts of revitalization & economic development.

Agency Services

Strategy & Positioning

Place Branding

Visual Identity/Logo Design

Brand Standards

Social Media Content Creation

Marketing Materials

Immersion & Discovery

At the onset of the assignment, we assessed current research and studied the Downtown Suffolk Master Plan. We also determined our interview set, which included City staff, residents, visitors, and business owners, and probed them to understand their perceptions about the City as well as future aspirations. In addition, a competitive overview was conducted of selected surrounding cities.


We synthesized our findings and discovered that people wanted to see a balance between history & nostalgia and modern arts & culture, and to communicate the friendly hometown character of the community. Using this information, we set out to develop a range of identities and logos that captured this essence.

Design Development

Moving into the design phase, we created a range of identities and taglines that embodied the personality of Downtown Suffolk while moving it forward and giving it relevance. Each identity and tagline focused on a different way of telling the City's story and communicating its attributes & characteristics. It was our goal to create a visually impactful branding solution that would be flexible and adaptable for use in a variety of media. We applied each concept to a variety of consumer touchpoints to bring it to life and demonstrate how the logos would work and adapt across different usages.

The Solution

Once the direction was selected and feedback given, we refined and optimized the identity & tagline. From there, we created Brand Standards that defined usage guidelines and applications for the new Downtown Suffolk identity. In addition, we provided an Implementation Plan that laid out recommendations on how to launch the brand and maintain it in the future. This included immediate and long-term ideas that encourage public acceptance and increase brand awareness.

"Working with BrandFirst on our branding initiative was a wonderful experience. Their dedicated team was extremely helpful, flexible, hardworking and such a delight to work with. They really captured the essence of Downtown Suffolk and gave us a brand that fit within our community."


Brand Assets

To round out the new branding, we created a variety of materials to form a cohesive library of assets and marketing campaigns. Some of these included icons, downtown banners and wayfinding signage, postcards, a digital newsletter template, business cards, and a PowerPoint template. We also extended the branding to social media posts, as well as a website redesign.

Social Media

To help the City launch the new branding, we designed static and animated seasonal Instagram and Facebook posts to highlight events and activities and to encourage the community to enjoy all that Downtown Suffolk has to offer. The social media assets also helped brand recognition and created excitement around the new Downtown Suffolk identity.

Logo Redesign