For months, the regional Branding Initiative Leadership Team (BILT) has been developing a branding message designed to attract businesses, knowledge workers and additional visitors to the Cape Fear area. On Wednesday afternoon, members had an opportunity to see what that message might look like, through the eyes of six University of North Carolina Wilmington students.
The students are enrolled in a communications studies integrated marketing communications class, better known as Pier 601 Creative, and have spent the fall semester creating ideas and designs for the brand logo. With the guidance of communications studies faculty members Bill Bolduc and Jeanne Persuit, the students explored the possible visual presentations of the words “discover/rediscover” and “create/recreate” and the agreed-upon name for the Brunswick-New Hanover-Pender area: Wilmington and the Carolina Coast.
Wednesday, the students presented the results of their work to BILT, beginning with a short video that showed some local scenes that inspired them.
From the video, the students distilled several color palettes for use in logo images that would reflect the two theme words given them by BILT. The students also studied and selected fonts that they thought would best suit each design.
The final five designs presented Wednesday to BILT used either the (re)discover or (re)create theme and contained the area name.
Following the students’ presentation and a lively question-and-answer session, the BILT members discussed the merits of each design and ultimately decided to forward their two preferred concepts, along with a few elements of the other designs, to the advertising agency currently working with the state’s branding initiative.
Last May, the N.C. Department of Commerce announced it would provide some assistance to Wilmington’s branding initiative by sharing with the local group the services of a creative agency working with North Carolina on a statewide branding project.
“This will give [the agency] a jumping-off point” for refinement of a brand graphic, Thom Porter, chair of UNCW’s marketing department in the Cameron School of Business and a member of BILT, said at the conclusion of Wednesday’s BILT session.
Pier 601 Creative students involved with the project are Tabitha Barth, Emily Foulke, Bobby Huckabee, Daniel Nelson, Khalil Nelson and Christine Schulze.
In addition to giving the students hands-on experience in working with a client, involvement with an assignment for the community “provides an opportunity for the students to understand that they are part of something bigger” than just the university, Persuit said.