To support their mission to build soft diplomacy among nations - possibly the coolest mission ever - and support US jobs in travel and hospitality by connecting US destinations with international tour operators, Brand USA asked us to create an identity for the new Brand USA Travel Week, an innovative take on a "travel trade show" that now reaches global audiences each year. We went on to design a branded event within the historical space of County Hall in Central London for their inaugural event.
With our strategic goals in mind, we set out to create a brand to reflect thought leadership within the category, while providing a system to allow the many stakeholders to show up in a premium manner. Knowing that Brand USA Travel Week will occur in historically significant buildings in cities around the world over years to come, our branding system had to include flexible wayfinding and graphics to allow the brand identity to be apparent without interfering with the surroundings. In other words, the brand experience was designed to compliment a range of environments around the globe.
The brand look is organized by a system known to all creators, cartographers, and innovators: the grid. It is bold and easy for international audiences to read, with digital references pulled from the world of programming. And yet, the brand feel is very clean, taking advantage of negative space and implied framing that occurs when the eye connects the elements. This brand can live alongside any other brands, within any environment, and look right at home.
A key challenge of this exercise was creating an identity that would stand apart, and yet fall within the existing Brand USA portfolio. We maintained the Brand USA corporate color palette of blues to maintain consistency across the parent brands.
We took an unexpected approach to the brand system, developing the logo and byline as pieces of an outer frame. This allowed us to seamlessly accommodate the inclusion of the corporate Brand USA logo, as well as context on the location and date of each Travel Week event, while maintaining a clean and airy canvas for information on featured lectures or destinations to pop. All content resides within this framing structure created through elements of the identity.
The inaugural Brand USA Travel Week was held at County Hall in London in 2019. We took over the historic building on the River Thames with the event branding, both inside and out.
Every participant touchpoint included a branding element, from the tote bags, pens, and Moleskin notebooks, to the color-coded lanyards, guest badges, and afterhours event staff uniforms.
Using the branding system as our guide, we developed complementary framing structure that enabled us to feature the many destinations of the USA with an elevated subtlety. Whether masked within our lettering, or uniformly placed throughout the corridors of County Hall like an art gallery, the assets shined without overpowering the environment.
In addition to providing the brand identity and wayfinding system for the event, Citizen provided the visual experience for the enrichment series, including presentation design, A/V design, and content development.
In addition to providing the brand identity and wayfinding system for the event, Citizen provided the visual experience for the nightlife events, including posters and fliers as well as set direction and film support during a 2 hour concert of Aloe Blacc and friends, held at the legendary Royal Opera Hall. (Naturally, we also filmed all of this, creating a suite of content for the client website!)
As Covid-19 pandemic raged into 2020, we redirected from our expansion of the brand into New Delhi, India, and instead focused on branding a digital environment for the event to live on while participants remained in quarantine. We developed animated graphics and digital wayfinding within the site UX, created a branded graphic system for live online events and enrichment content including branded presentation templates, and created a "wallpaper" for virtual speaker panels in order to elevate the viewer experience. In addition, we developed our remote production capabilities to film the panel discussions and direct the branded content in a Covid-compliant remote setting.
The inaugural Brand USA Travel Week was help at County Hall in London in 2019, and event branding and the design experience were rated among the top features of the participant feedback survey.
A shoutout from Destinations International President & CEO, Don Welsh: "You should be very proud of the work you did at the inaugural event for BUSA in London. As I mentioned, that was some of the best branding and signage packages I’ve seen during my career. It was tasteful and looked as though it was permanent."
As Covid-19 pandemic raged into 2020, we redirected from our expansion of the brand into New Delhi, India, and instead focused on branding a digital environment for the event to live on while participants remained in quarantine. We were able to support the client team in more than doubling the scale of their event for participants, while carrying through the premium branding reflective of thought leadership in travel and tourism.