Amherst Branding & Way Finding Program
In Spring 2015, the Town of Amherst, in collaboration with the Amherst Business Improvement District (B.I.D), and with the support and participation of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, applied for and received a grant of $10,000 in technical assistance funding from the Downtown Initiative Program of the Department of Communities and Housing Development. The technical assistance grant was to assist the community in developing designs for an Amherst Downtown Way Finding & Branding Program—a design program including community branding imagery, and way finding signs and other elements for downtown Amherst. Technical assistance under the grant is being provided by designer Mark Favermann of Favermann Designs, a consultant working for the Downtown Initiative Program.
On June 18, an informal advisory group representing downtown organizations, institutions, and Town staff met with the consultant to help develop a process for developing preliminary designs for review by Town boards and committees and the public. On August 18, the advisory group met a second time to review and refine preliminary community “brand” images for the public process.
The first phase of the project will include development of up to three potential community “brand” elements—titles, logos, and imagery that will visually identify Amherst for visitors and others on signs and other way finding elements. Review of these “brands” and families of associated signs will occur in early October at a public meeting with downtown and community stakeholders invited by the advisory group. Following that meeting, designs would be reviewed by Town boards and committees and then further refined by the advisory group at a public meeting.
Once one or more designs have been selected and ways in which the community brand(s) might be used have been identified, a preliminary design for a complete system of way finding signs and other elements will be developed for downtown Amherst. Presentation of preliminary designs for this system will occur at a second public meeting in October or November. Following that meeting, designs for the system would again be refined by the advisory group in public session, reviewed by Town boards and committees, and a final draft of the system’s designs prepared.
A presentation of the final draft designs will be presented to a joint meeting of the Planning Board and Select Board in November for review, refinement, and approval. A proposal for funding for fabrication and installation of the new downtown sign system will thereafter be developed, and funding sought.
The resulting general designs for community branding and way finding signs and elements will provide a template for signs and way finding elements in other parts of the community in the future.
Amherst Downtown Branding & Way Finding Program
Branding = Selecting one or more names, terms, designs, symbols or other features that visually identify a community or place.
Way Finding = The ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.