Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

Department of Economic Development Captures the Essence of Loudoun

Loudoun County is known for many things and the Department of Economic Development captured them in a new logo and slogan used to attract people to the county from around the world.

Larry Rosenstrauch is the director of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. "We had to figure out our essence," Rosenstrauch said. "We had to tell a story in graphic form."

THE DEPARTMENT of Economic Development, a 16-person department of the government, had difficulty defining Loudoun County because there are so many aspects to it.

"We had to define who we are and who we’re not," Rosenstrauch said.

The county government funded-project brought in Nashville’s Northstar Strategies to help define the county.

After two years of research and surveys of more than 400 business owners, elected officials, civic organization leaders and the general population, Northstar Strategies defined Loudoun as a place of rich contrast.

Loudoun is rural, yet suburban. The county is home to llama farms, as well as AOL. Loudoun County is horse country and home to corporate headquarters. Loudoun County wineries neighbor biotechnology companies.

"We are a lot of one thing and a lot of another," Rosenstrauch said.

According to the two-year research project, if Loudoun County were a person, it would be young, educated, confident, outgoing, casual, juggling a career with family. Loudoun County residents are much more likely to own a new SUV, belong to a country club, go sailing and own a hand-held personal computer, than the general U.S. population. They are less likely to use denture cleaner, eat Spam, read World Wrestling Federation magazine and watch the People’s Court.

AFTER DEFINING Loudoun County as 18th century yet 21st century, the Department of Economic Development completed phase one, the branding phase. Loudoun’s new slogan, "More Than You Imagine," captures Loudoun as a county "rich in contrast."

The logo is made up of more than 30 interchangeable icons.

Communications manager Sandy Denham said the department created a "vocabulary of icons" so the icon can serve different purposes. For example, the business version of the logo incorporates different icons than the family version of the logo that is in development.

"We have a lot of layers. We are not a one-dimensional county," Denham said.

There are several icons to choose from, including a airplane to represent Dulles Airport, grapes to represent its wineries and a briefcase to represent its big businesses and working-class families.

"We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback," said business investment manager Dorri O’Brien Morin. "Very European, fresh, innovative, unexpected. I think it’s bold."

Once the department completes the legalities of the project, Rosenstrauch said he hopes Loudoun County businesses will use the logo for themselves. The department plans to come up with a branding tool kit with a set of basic rules for the average business.