Downtown Bentonville Inc
For six years I was the one man design, print web and media man for DBI. This is the story of how I change their entire brand from year to year.
I design it all here at Downtown Bentonville Inc.. It's quite the challenge! Every year it's a challenge to keep things fresh and new and still feel like DBI. I always want to keep them ahead of the game in the world of design and if you line us up next to other (bigger) business in the field you can clearly see that we're different. Thats really important, because our name confuses a lot of people and makes people think we are the city.
As I tell everyone, we're not the city. We love the city and they work really hard along side us, but we are a small nonprofit creating events in downtown to bring us all together. We seriously need support cause theres no tax dollars that go to us. We rely on sponsors and donation. Ok now that you have some perspective let's talk the site.
I didn't know anything.
I started in 2015 and I really think I just sucked back then. The first poster I made was in a Pages document. I didn't even know what Illustrator was, let a lone Affinity Designer. So let's look at this terrible poster and move on. Hahah! I was hired to built their site in Wix and manage it, becasue they were paying thousands of dollars each month to have another company update it.
The Direction for 2019
In 2019 we had come from a lot of very timeless black and white design. It was excellent, but I kept getting asked to add color and honestly it was a little scary. They have a lot of events that are like staples of the town, so I knew they each need their own to distinguish them from each other. Every color had to look new and fun too, because that's what DBI does. I realized sometime last year that there was a new wave of colors that no one around here had adopted yet. I was starting to see it on all the places where people payed a hella lot of money for their designers, so frankly I snatched them. If you want to use modern colors, these are the ones to use.
From there everything started coming together. Instead of having no color, the colors were the primary part of the posters and because nobody uses them around here it immediately stands out as DBI without having to say it. Less branding is always best. It can be accomplished with just color, leaving room for the information to stand out on top of it.
These colors were incorporated across everything into one cohesive branding. It's amazing how just adding color can change everything.
The Direction for 2020
The colors continue since we've already began associating them with events, but I'm putting a bigger emphasis on consistency. To help with the confusion of who we are I've cleaned our logo up and I'm using the top fourth of every poster for just that. Then I've started implementing what I call the "ze blob" somewhere on the print to add the color. THhe event logo will be much bigger than usually too. Let's take a look.
It's a fun site for a small nonprofit that does events in Downtown Bentonville. We're a small 4 person team that puts on all the First Fridays, Farmers Market, the Christmas Parade, Lighting of the Square and more. We can do a whole lot for such a small team and as far as the design goes its only because I use the right tools! Let me tell you all my tricks!
THE COMMUNITY CALENDAR
We needed the whole towns events in one place. So it had to be easier for them to add them and even more importantly easy for me to find them all and add them. Of course in the end if you create a community anything - it will ultimately fall on your shoulders. So now we have bentonvilleevents.com - one massive community calendar. By using Event Calendar App, Webflow and Paperform everyone can submit events easily with very little maintenance on DBI's end. I can add events to it just by clicking that I'm interested on Facebook and the event is pulled straight to a google calendar thats connected to Event Calendar App. Paperfrom is a simple form editor that can do a lot, the easiest. I created this form alert me of new places.
I was hesitant to have so many links in the chain , but its been running well for two years now! I've tried "Event Calendar" on a Wordpress site and thats a nightmare. don't even go there. Theres always an easy solution if you just keep looking. Thi is option took me two of digging and trying things before I found it. so be patient if you must.
I wanted to list every business in Downtown with directions, images and information about them all. The Explore page organizes it all into categories making it easy to find all the restaurants, parks, art galleries and more. It was quite the task. I took 95% of the images you see as well, so I got lots of practice under my belt now.
Applications are a big part of it too so we signed up with Paperform to build kick butt forms that everyone can manage and they tire into the website seamlessly.
They have a ton of events and each one needs pretty much a one page website. I put them all into one dynamic page that shows and hides tons of different info based on which event is selected. It looks very clean and runs fast!
THE DBI APP
As if that's not cool enough I was also able to create an app that uses at the data in the Explore collections, so that the app could be updated when the website is. The website is very mobile responsive, but an app feels different, so I just created it from scratch to look and feel like one. Really it's just four pages of the website that are only linked to each other, but you'd never know. Download it to check it out.
Test It Out
(on any device)