Housing Complex

Neighborhood Branding, Brookland Edition: Cliches Abound

The problem with neighborhood branding is that many neighborhoods are similar: They have trees. They have history. They are close-knit communities.

For that reason, the four design concepts the Office of Planning has offered for a Brookland brand could probably apply to any number of neighborhoods in D.C. (The "small town, big city" trope has in fact already been used by several). With the exception of the one at right using the iconic shrine, all of them are completely generic.

Which doesn't mean they're not perfectly nice logos. And remember, I think branding can be useful! Just more so when it communicates the one thing a neighborhood has that no other one does.

Three more options after the jump.

  • Progentrification

    I see the city is not going with the true neighborhood slogan: Brookland, hipsters and five-story "highrises" stay out!

  • Joe

    FYI, that church in the background is not a cathedral. A cathedral is the seat of a bishop. So while the long-winded name "Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception" is many things, a cathedral is not one of them. The cathedral of St. Matthew downtown is the seat of the bishop of the archdiocese of Washington, DC.

  • Lydia DePillis

    @Joe - Good point. I always get hung up on the religious terminology. Rectified.

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  • Anonymous

    Is DC a big city? When did that happen?

  • andy

    small town, big church.

  • Jacques

    I love the link to the other (Georgetown, Mount Pleasant, Tenley) city/village within the city.

    The Burleith Citizen's Association uses the same trope, with their website http://burleith.org/ proclaiming "Burleith: Village in the City." Perhaps that's so that opponents of the GU campus plan can further play the big-bad-university-sends-hordes-of-students-to-invade-the-village card.

  • http://alexblock.net Alex B.

    Is DC a big city? When did that happen?

    Ever since it's been the center of a region of 6 million people.

  • Ben

    "Is DC a big city?"

    It's the hub of the nation's 8th largest metro region. yes, DC is a big city.

    As to Brookland...I'm actually really starting to loathe the whole "small town, big city" mantra, and all its various iterations. No, Cleveland Park, Mt. Pleasant, Brookland et al., you're not standalone "villages" separate and apart from DC; you're urban/semi-urban neighborhoods smack in the middle of a region of 6 million people. This is the kind of nonsense that's kept the Giant project in Cleveland Park from becoming a reality for over a decade.

  • http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com Richard Layman

    the once extant Brookland Main Street program used the "small town, in town" tagline. (I was the program manager for most of 2007.) But one of the board members made the same point as Ben, that "small town" can also mean parochial and hermetic.

  • Hillman

    I guess it depends on who you want to attract.
    A lot of people come to a city to escape small towns.

    And to us small town can mean hateful (anti-gay, non-accepting generally).

    Usually it's not until later in life that we realize not all small towns are like the crappy ones we left.

  • TM

    I actually like the first two, at least on a graphical level.

    I have to say, Brookland really does feel different than most DC neighborhoods. Walking down Monroe street for the first time, I swear I felt like I was in an upstate NY town. The architecture just doesn't have a mid Atlantic feeling, for some reason.

    Anyhow, maybe for a slogan they need to rip off those old Nuprin ads: Little, Green, Different.

  • http://brooklandavenue.com BrooklandAvenue

    @Richard Layman "Small Town, In Town" was brought up in the Task Force meeting as well, though the last meeting was sparsely attended a few of them did like that slogan.

    Number 3 seems to be the favorite, but IMO seems a bit busy and of course the shrine isn't really in Brookland. One meeting attendee described logo 3 as a CO-OP T-Shirt Design rather than a neighborhood logo.

    I know Brookland gets a lot of heat for it, but the reason I bought my house here is the fact that it has a unique and small town feel and was different than other neighborhoods that I was looking at.

  • er

    the whole "small town" thing makes me think it's just a joke.

  • http://www.addisonwhitney.com Addison Whitney

    I think the logo and slogan is way to generic. That could easily work for any town in the DC area. With so much history and character in that area they should be able to come up with something a little more unique.

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