Creating a brand is always tough, but branding
something as complex as an entire city becomes
exceptionally challenging.A good brand takes a
complex subject group & boils it down to the fun-
damental ideas, values, or missions that unite it.
This is pretty straight forward for a soda company
or a car dealership, but not for a group as multi-
faceted as the city of Hamtramck.
Ask any mayor what makes their city special, and you’ll
pretty much get the same answer across the board: the
people; “they’re friendly, hard-working, and diverse.”
But in the case of Hamtramck, saying the people are
hard-working & diverse is an understatement. The city
was built by the immigrants who came here to make a
living working in the auto plants. People from all walks
of life made their home here, eager to work hard for a
chance of a brighter future.
The auto industry later abandoned Hamtramck, but the
people never did. Hamtramck has become one of the
most diverse communities in the country, and despite
hard economic times, the spirit of Hamtramck has never
been more alive. Here you’ll find people of all different
cultures, beliefs, and values, but our differences don’t
drive us apart — on the contrary — it’s our similarities
that bring us together. “Fitting in” in Hamtramck is an
oxymoron; you don’t come here to adopt our values, you
come here to be yourself and celebrate being unique
with the rest of us.
Thats why a traditional approach to branding just didn’t
work here; Hamtramck isn’t defined by common values,
it’s defined by the celebration of your own. Like a quilt
you can find in the window of the Polish market, or on
the bed of a Serbian mechanic, this city is comprised of
countless cuts of cloth held together by a single thread:
the opportunity for a better life — not only for ourself,
but for a future generation alike. These quilts weren’t
bought from a store; they were made by hand, just the
way we wanted it. It's the product of countless indi-
vidual pieces, bound together with love and care into
a single, beautiful picture.
It seemed appropriate that the thread should hold
together the new identity as well, thus it is the defin-
ing element of this new visual system. It’s simple yet
effective graphic element with the ability to tie just
about anything together, so the the rest of the design
is up you. make the poster you want to make, with the
photos you want, in the colors you like, then tie it all
together with the thread that holds it all together.