Medford is located about 5 miles Northwest of Boston. It's home to nearly 60,000 residents. Situated on the Mystic River, its natural resources have contributed to the area's success for hundreds of years. It's the reason early setters established a community here in 1629. During the 19th century Medford had a booming clipper-ship-hull-building industry. The Mystic River (technically a tidal estuary) provided an ideal environment.
Medford was home to the Royall family (founder of Harvard Law School), Lydia Maria Child (activist and abolitionist, recognized by National Abolitionist Hall of Fame), and Amelia Earhart (she lived in West Medford during the 1920s). Paul Revere stopped here during his famous Revolutionary War Midnight Ride (rumored to be influenced by Medford's well-known Rum Industry).
But that was then, where is Medford going today? Due to it's proximity to Boston, growing restaurant industry, swimmable lakes, extensive hiking trails, quiet yet accessible neighborhoods, Tufts University and public transportation system, Medford today is evolving. There's even a plan to revitalize the downtown area. There are goals to make it more pedestrian friendly by better integrating the scenic river and newly added bike trails.
The logo mark has roots in Medford's past, modernized for today. If you were to drive around Medford you'd see dozens of references to the clipper ship days. This will always be the heritage of Medford—not to forget the dozens of other noteworthy historic destinations tying us to our heritage. Yet, what about our future? What about all the new energy moving into Medford? The clipper ship past is important, but it does not project a inspirational outlook of life today.
To reflect the essence of present-day Medford, the celebrated ship hull needed to be a subtle reference, but not the literal representation. Upon researching, I began to realize our story wasn't the hull-building itself, but the process. These shipbuilders were not only celebrated for their craft, but for their innovation. Innovation in Medford is what we are experiencing today (recycling and conservation programs, the plans for a new city center, our public health related outreach programs). To do this, I started sketching out various M forms. I wanted something iconic, bold, easy to replicate, yet uniquely recognizable. A natural "power of three" began to emerge with some of the "m" styles and I could see the three Sprague Brothers, as well as forms that felt like a powerful current on a river.
The logo is bold for iconic power, a little unusual so that we may easily recognize it, and solidly symbolic of the legacy of Medford...388 years and counting.
Above: Proposal for a historic walking tour of Medford. Sites would focus on innovation of industry, famous residents, and the Revolutionary War.
Above: Logo Mark | Above right: Logo with Emblem Structure
Below: City Hall Stationery
Branding a city lends itself to a wide variety of applications. The clipper-ship-hull-inspired mark can be used to express a more personable and folkloric narrative (below).
Thank you for exploring Medford with me.