Fredericksburg branding

Downtown Fredericksburg as seen from Chatham Manor in Stafford.

What do you think it means to be “Fredericksburg?”

The city is preparing to develop a brand image that's more than just a new city seal or logo. It will begin by developing a brand strategy that presents all that Fredericksburg has to offer, from its thriving restaurant, retail and cultural scene to its reputation as a great place to live, work, play and raise a family.

City officials decided to take this step because it hasn't had a unified brand, and a variety of images have been created over time, said Sonja Wise, the city's new spokeswoman. They range from the city's official seal, which features two feathers from the badge of the Prince of Wales to memorialize Prince Frederick, for whom the City of Fredericksburg was named; to a stylized silhouette of the downtown skyline that's the Department of Economic Development and Tourism's logo.

"We wanted to have some uniformity across the board," Wise said. "The idea is to have one brand."

The city has hired Hub, Ltd., a design firm in Portland, Ore., to help develop the brand strategy. Its staff will visit Fredericksburg Jan. 16–17 to gather input. The public is invited to share their perspectives and be part of the creative process during the 90-minute focus group sessions that will be held both days. There will be opportunity to ask questions about the design strategy and next steps.

Each session is geared toward certain groups, and people with similar interests are encouraged to attend the same ones "to help make the creative process even more interactive and engaging," Wise said.

Meetings on Jan. 16 will be held in the training room on the third floor of Executive Plaza, 601 Caroline St. There will be one from 8:30–10 a.m. for those involved with the business community, Fredericksburg VA Main Street and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. The 4–5:30 p.m. session is for churches, community organizations and nonprofits; and the one from 7–8:30 p.m. is for the community.

The first three sessions on Jan. 17 will be held at the Dorothy Hart Community Center auditorium, 408 Canal St. The one from 8:30–10 a.m. is for environmental, river, trails and green organizations; the one from 10:15–11:45 a.m. is for the community; and the one from 2:30–4 p.m. is for artists and arts organizations.

The last two meetings that day will be held in the Executive Plaza training room. The one from 6–7:30 p.m. is for City Council and the one from 7:30–8:45 p.m. is for boards and commissions.

To R.S.V.P. for a session, contact City Manager Tim Baroody's office at 540/372-1010 or Executive Assistant Brenda Martin at bmartin@fredericksburgva.gov.

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com

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