Location, location, location. A lot of the branding requests we see on 99designs are from small local businesses. These are companies who want to connect to their communities through shared location, and all of the associations that go with that — cultural, economic, political.
As a designer, it’s key to know where these businesses come from… literally. You must learn where they make their product or service and get to know any historical and cultural associations. From there, you can use that information to find a fresh perspective for their brand identity.
In this roundup, we’ve collected designs representing 25 out of the USA’s 50 states. Each of these designers found a way to bring out the culture of the company’s hometown or state, without being clichéd. Looking at each of these designs, you get a sense of place. Like the enigmatic sixth taste of umami, it may be an indescribable feeling— but you feel it there.
Here are five design motifs our community has used to accomplish this.
This is an easy go-to visual theme. What’s more recognizable than the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, or the Taj Mahal? The key is to use that to your benefit while not letting it get lost in the crowd of other companies using it. We love here the use of landmarks for smaller town brands, or the clever integration of shape and word.
For each state that doesn’t have a famous city landscape, we’ve got one that has a spectacular association with natural ones. And the nice thing about these is that you don’t always have to mimic a specific mountain, beach, forest — you just have to get the general idea across.
Like countries around the world, states each have their own unique set of natural resources for trade. Oregon has a coast, while Oklahoma does not.
If you and your brand know a little bit about the economic history of the state or city they’re based in – even the simple facts that school kids learns about their state – you can use that to your benefit in helping make your client’s story a part of a much bigger picture.
Tied closely with the previously mentioned industry but as well with culture, landscape, and again historical context, is a kind of localized aesthetic.
For example, the southwest of the country is in pop culture influenced by the native geometric patterns of the native tribes of the area, while the north east coast is often defined by its colonial past, particularly the foundational 13 states.
Contest: Logo design for the Jim & Teresa Maurer Collection
Flora and fauna
Our final selection is in the inhabitants of an area — particularly, the animal kind. A lot of times this will be inextricably linked with the trade in question, as we see in the top example a famous Alaskan salmon being used to describe a salmon fishery in Alaska isn’t a great leap in concept.
But the type of animal used to represent a state can say so much more than something literal, as their use can communicate anything from a local industry to a conceptual feeling.