After 30 years since it was founded in 1991, it was time for the Woodcrest Neighborhood Civic Association (WNCA) to have a new look and feel. Melissa Richardson Banks — a Woodcrest resident and WNCA board secretary who owns a marketing firm called CauseConnect — collaborated with her talented graphic designer Eva Crawford, resulting in a fresh brand identity tied to the history and future of Woodcrest. Also a photographer and a lover of local history, Melissa gathered current images, historic research, and anecdotal information to build a creative brief, which Eva transformed into a stunning visual identity that can be used to effectively communicate throughout Houston and beyond.
A neighborhood is more than a location — it is the people who are at its heart. Residents advocate for the neighborhood and care after it as well as look out for each other. A good neighborhood showcases the pride of place, and that is the aim of this new brand identity for Woodcrest Neighborhood Civic Association.
It all begins with a story. The new brand identity acknowledges Woodcrest’s history (it was established in 1910) and recognizes the personal dedication of time and expertise contributed by neighborhood volunteers, all while keeping an eye forward. Although many are gone now, once every street within Woodcrest was marked with stamped concrete street signs, which also served as flood gauge markers. The letterforms from these are emulated as the strongest part of the new brand identity – the word WOODCREST.
Under a single line (a subtle reference to the railroad tracks that serve as one neighborhood boundary), the words under WOODCREST announce the organization itself. For the latter, the secondary typeface was carefully chosen to feel like a nice handwritten note from a neighbor, maybe even on a welcome basket.
The new brand identity also demonstrates that WNCA is not a big faceless corporation; rather, it is a collective of spirit. The accompanying circular icon was developed to reference the W.O.W. Roundabout — a civic landmark now managed by the City of Houston — that was originally funded and made possible by now-former residents of Woodcrest (in addition to Rice Military, Crestwood, and Camp Logan). In addition to commuters, park visitors, and business customers who pass around it daily, neighbors encounter the roundabout just about every time they enter and exit into Woodcrest by car, by bicycle, by foot, and by other means.
The icon also offers a note of accuracy to the position of Woodcrest – the reverse half-moon shape designates the location of the neighborhood in relation to the roundabout. It just so happens that this orientation abstracts a watchful eye into the brand identity. The color choices echo the lush green landscape and the worn rustic brick in many of the historic structures that existed or now remain in Woodcrest.
Finally, badges were made as social media icons and can also be stamped on items to echo civic pride. A companion logo lockup was made to identity the place – Woodcrest Houston, and together with the badges, can be used on merchandise (e.g., coffee mugs) and community activities such as running, cycling, hiking and walking groups.
A neighborhood is indeed more than a place identified on a map. It is the people who live there.