An article from GOOD suggests that while a powerful brand identity isn't a cure all for a neighbourhood's problems, there's evidence that it can be a powerful symbol and rallying cry that galvanizes people to action.
How can we use the power of branding to strengthen a shared identity and spark positive change in the neighborhoods and cities where we live? An effective visual identity references the culture and history of a place’s people and reflects their hopes and aspirations.
Interesting article. Thanks for flagging this Liz. You won't be surprised to learn that I agree with what the article says. I think the final section is important:
3. Create it with the community.Creating a brand identity for a community is also about creating with that community. As designers, we can serve as conveners and conduits for the creativity that already exists in a community.For a class project, five students of mine in the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts—Gabriela Reygadas Robles, Becky Colley, Liz Day, Sara Cornish, and Chelsea Wagner—proposed a collaboration with the residents of Brownsville, Brooklyn, a low-income neighborhood with some of the highest violent crime rates in NYC. In a series of community arts workshops and other engagement activities in the neighborhood, they seek to co-create a brand identity for Brownsville that reflects shared local pride, a sense of ownership over vacant spaces, and can serve as a call to action to inspire other community-driven projects for change. These students recognize the power of history and identity to revitalize a place, and invite the residents of Brownsville and others in the design community to participate and collaborate in the process.
There's a danger that branding created outside of the community lacks authenticity. We can all think of city branding projects like that. I think the author hits the nail on the head when he points out that a truly bottom-up approach is what's needed.
Agreed. Now all we need is to settle on one that works for the whole neighbourhood.
Am I allowed to say that although I live there I actually hate the name 'The Ladder' and always have. Reminds me of old tights, for some reason, and its meaningless to anyone outside of the Ladder by and large. Where did that name come from? Who and when was it coined? What historical and cultural resonance is there?
Now Harringay there's a name to conjure with... Arena, Stadium, House...
Can we launch a petition to evict Liz from THE LADDER ? Who's this viper we have nurtured in our Ladder's bosom all these years? (Now there's a mixed metaphor!)
When I first moved to Harringay in the '80's it seemed to me that "The Ladder" was more a reference to "Harringay Passage" rather than the whole area.
**waves from SoTo**
I like SoTo. I used to avoid using it because people mocked me for it, but nowadays I just ignore. It's a nice shortening and particularly useful on Twitter where I've seen someone recently use the hashtag #sotoforever
I'm waving with Pamish ... having said that, SoTo has the same problem as the Ladder in that it suggests one part of the community. How about something that celebrates the area's manufacturing past - "Made in Harringay" - could also refer to Harringay's creative present, and to the way the experience of living in the area shapes our lives.
I have always been rather fond of the descriptor "The Ladder' or the more usual term of reference, 'Harringay Ladder' as used by the local residents. It is an accurate description of the road layout between Green Lanes and Wightman Road. It defines a close-knit neighbourhood that corresponds to the 'Ladder' area and is memorable. It has never, for me, had any association with laddered hosiery - this has never occurred to me in over 20 years.
The only problem I had was with the typical incompetence and insensitivity of Haringey Council who, when they unilaterally put up signs on each road, in their ignorance, called it 'The Ladders' and it took them about 4 years to take a sticking plaster approach and put stickers over the original sign to read 'The Ladder'. If they had consulted with the residents they would have avoided the problem and may have found that there was a preference for 'Harringay Ladder' as opposed to 'The Ladder'.
I have no problem with the name 'Ladder' or 'Harringay Ladder'. It's what people who live here use and it's obvious where it comes from.
I agree with Geoff that the Council could have taken more care with the 'Ladders' signage. Whether that was a simple mistake or a failure to consult, it was easily avoided. I'm sure they's never make a similar mistake......would they!