When I first moved to Chicago, I wanted to learn as much as I could about my new home. And the more I learned about the city, the more I learned about the entire state. So it was perhaps made for me to work on this new project, although it would be a decade later in my career.
It was a long process. We had to pitch the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) with a massive document and two, in-person presentations. And when it was finally awarded, we were already behind.
I was excited about working for the entire state. It was the same idea: I was fascinated about how Chicago fit into the greater state, but more importantly to understand what it meant to be an Illinoisan, too.
The state of Illinois had been losing out to our neighbor Indiana with an aggressive campaign that put Illinois’ challenges to the forefront. Through discovery, we found that there is so much that Illinois can offer a business. All we needed to do was to find a way to communicate it in a respectful way.
Our team got to work on a new logo. Our senior designer developed this logo:
In conjunction with our campaign “A better state of business” we needed to make sure that all the stakeholders had a common bible to work from. I created the first draft of the brand guidelines for an agency who is spread between many offices throughout the state, for both designers and non-designers.
When we think of all the people that need to interact and make for the new brand, we wanted to make a guide that was easy to follow, offered flexibility while still delivering a consistent brand story. We kept the essence of the brand we created by developing a “jewel ribbon,” a visual mnemonic that showcased the very best that Illinois has to offer.
We designed a dynamic identity package for which they can be proud, whether it’s to a colleague in another department or a prospective Fortune 100 company looking to move to Illinois.
Before the launch of the brand, we developed a series of launch print ads and posters that made sure that everyone knew were open for business.
So why haven’t you seen this? A month before the election, with everything ready to go into market, the state chose a different governor who chose to go in a very different direction even after a number of meetings with the new administration.
It’s a shame, really, but it was an honor.