Washington County, Utah, is home to Zion National Park, the fourth most visited national park in the country, in addition to many other beautiful state parks, national conservation areas and communities that don’t have the same recognition or garner equal attention. Visitors come, breeze through Zion, check it off their tourist to-do list, and leave. They don’t stick around to explore the region because they’re unaware of the full range of stunning beauty and adventure that awaits them. When they came to us, Washington County didn’t have a visitation problem—they had a distribution problem.
The Washington County Convention and Tourism Office asked us to create a branding program for the destination that included everything from naming, logo design, and style guide to video, print, and digital marketing communications.
Research and intuition led us to believe that we should move away from the name “Washington County” and lean into Zion, but we couldn’t make the park our hero. We had to create a platform big enough for the rest of the county to have a voice. In May of 2019, we introduced “Greater Zion” as a destination brand to invite the public to discover what lies beyond the park and stay a little longer. The name capitalizes on the equity of the world-renowned national park within its borders while also giving context and a unified voice to the county’s communities and celebrating the area’s diverse tourism offerings.
The most challenging part of the project was developing a visual identity that was simultaneously neutral and compelling. When exploring designs, we looked into incorporating natural elements, such as Red Rocks, waterfalls and animals, along with activities, like hiking and climbing. But we quickly realized that if the logo was too specific, it wouldn’t resonate with everyone. And our clients were more than only the lovely folks at the Tourism Office; we had to consider the entire population of Washington County. We needed an icon for Greater Zion that identified the whole region, could be optimized across multiple media platforms, was graphically neutral and was compelling enough to draw people in.
Our modern, minimal mark unites several interests as a singular, iconic brand. Our idea uses Utah itself as a logo. A bold-bordered outline of the state’s unique shape serves as a frame for all of our communications and as our logomark with type that accurately places the name “Greater Zion” in the Southwest corner of the state and gives the logo additional purpose. The logo serves as a subliminal geography lesson while also looking pretty.
The frame also gives our mark flexibility to be more than only an icon in the corner of a layout. As a decorative border for print ads and other components, it’s an integral part of the art direction that highlights the variety of content that makes Greater Zion special. And in marketing materials, the term “greater” serves as a double entendre meaning larger and implying better.