Industry Hill

Encompassing the northern edge of downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina lies a patch of land, hiding in plain sight. Over the decades the neighborhood served as home to furniture factories, tobacco warehouses, packaging plants and produce distributors. Yet as economies burst and industries evolved, the area fell through the cracks and off the map.

Our clients, who reside in the neighborhood, approached us to help solve some unusual problems. This place needed a new name, and a new look. We needed to light a spark, to get the fires of industry burning once again.

Our mission for this project was two-fold: honor the past, and lay the foundation for the future. Maintaining this balance was trickier than it may appear; focus too much on the past, and we fail to spark imagination for this area’s potential. Look too much toward the future, and we fail to acknowledge the neighborhood’s hidden but storied history.

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Digging through historic archives and speaking with local historians left us with no shortage of naming concepts. Yet the more specific and referential our ideas became, the more problems we began to encounter.

When we looked at Winston-Salem's topography, we were reminded that the neighborhood sits atop one of the highest elevation points in the city. Coupling this truth with the area’s clear history of enterprise and elbow grease brought us to a name we couldn’t resist.

Industry Hill sounds like a neighborhood that’s been here for over a century. Which is good, because it has.

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Call it destiny or dumb luck, but the I beam became the perfect connective tissue between concept and execution. Forming the letters "I" and "H" when upright and on its side, the I beam worked as a sturdy foundation for our visual identity system. This universal symbol of construction, strength and progress invokes the neighborhood's blue collar history.

As we scaled the design from a simple icon to a wordmark and supporting marks, the I beam's distinct lines informed our approach to the logo's clean, firm typography.

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We also built a digital home for Industry Hill, in the form of a utilitarian landing page. Rather than serving up a dense user experience, the page gives just enough context and content to intrigue. The site nods to neighborhood history, refers to the necessary landmarks, and leaves the user to carry on with their own exploration.

In accordance with best practices, the website was designed and developed responsively, to ensure the mobile and tablet experience is no less striking than a desktop one.

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As Winston-Salem grows, Industry Hill may see the most dramatic change. But the goal of this rebrand was not to drive commercial development, or to look past the stories of a historic area. Our true desire is for people to look at this neighborhood and reimagine what’s possible.

We can already see signs of life.

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