How to brand a borough: With your best work, for the right reasons, and for free!
Who or what prompted the change?
Columbia Borough is growing, and our brand needs to communicate that. There was a need to clarify our importance as a community, our impact on our neighboring communities, and our borough as a hub for recreation, commerce, business development, and opportunity for everyone. Our brand—and our story—needed to express that, and the borough was using several outdated logos with no consistency or reasoning.
What was the inspiration for the new look?
It starts with the people of Columbia. Who we are. What we want to be. And why would anybody else care? It was imperative that Burgard consider not just the value Columbia brings, but the common values that bring our community and those outside the borough limits together. That’s our real story.
In regard to the elements of the logo, the bridge and arches have always been the go-to—and for good reason. The Columbia-Wrightsville Veterans Memorial Bridge is spectacular and serves as the Rt. 462 gateway, from the west, into the borough. However, from the on-the-bridge perspective you don’t see the arches—but you do see the lights. And they are beautiful! Burgard wanted the imagery to be similar to what you experience as you come into Columbia. The lights are it. From a symbolic interpretation they represent the borough’s commitment to preserve our history and invest in our bright future.
The tagline, “Your town,” is all about our community. OUR is US. WE the people of Columbia are Columbia. Our residents have always been fiercely proud of Columbia, and there’s good reason. Columbia pride runs deep—from our history as an industrial epicenter and Underground Railroad waypoint, the arts, the culture, the architecture, to the easily accessible Susquehanna River along with all the beauty and pleasure it offers. Yet, as folks from outside Columbia, visitors, homeowners, and businesspeople arrive, we want them to know that “You are welcome. And you can ‘script’ your own story here.”
How does this new logo and branding support economic revitalization efforts in the borough?
We believe that economic development is key to providing all our residents with the quality municipal services and educational opportunities they want and deserve. This can only be accomplished by shoring up the tax base through business development and decreasing the tax liability on homeowners. It’s a proven, repeatable, and sustainable model that offers hope to everyone. And Columbia has what other municipalities lack—location, location, location. Our hope is that our logo and brand communicate our modern and progressive march to the future while respecting and reflecting the history that made us who we are.
How do you see it resonating with borough residents and others in the area in terms of the process for driving change?
Burgard was very aware that our community comes first. If we the people of Columbia can’t buy into our own vision, own our brand and story, how can we expect others to? Inclusivity and ownership of all Columbians as well as presenting an honest and purposeful message to the world was key. We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback, community acceptance, and real enthusiasm. Burgard is honored and grateful for the trust Columbia has extended by allowing us to express that story for them.