How do you connect a string of communities to identify a place?
HUB helped a county understand how it fit into a competitive market
The State of Utah’s Office of Tourism made big strides promoting the state’s national parks. As the popularity of places like Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches grew, so did the amount of full hotel rooms, busy restaurants, and sale of souvenirs. Communities close to the national parks thrived (some may argue they became overwhelmed).
Yet in much of the rest of rural Utah, the tourists either just stopped to refuel or drove right through. So the Office of Tourism developed an initiative to provide these rural places with the tools they needed to grow tourism as part of a sustainable local economy.
That’s where HUB comes in.
Raising up rural
Carbon County, Utah, lies in a cliff-bounded valley on the western edge of the Colorado Plateau. To the north are Salt Lake City and the hum of urban development. To the south are the red rock canyon lands of the Green and Colorado Rivers—some of the most isolated wilderness in the lower 48. Salt Lake and surrounding communities are booming (Utah is one of the fastest-growing states in the country). Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef receive abundant amounts of tourists. Carbon County, a decidedly rural place with a long, invested history in coal mining, is stuck in the middle. As the future of coal power becomes increasingly volatile, the county is searching for opportunities to bolster economic sustainability to maintain their way of life.
The County faces a number of challenges and opportunities for promoting tourism. It has lots of hotels and restaurants but no major attraction to draw tourists. All four cities in the county have something else the others need (Historic Downtown Helper may be a charming destination to explore, but if you want to stay overnight you’ll have to drive to Price). The County’s connection to coal is rich and gives the county a deep sense of place, but some see coal as a negative thing.
Conceptual Framework – The Carbon Corridor
HUB encouraged the county to lean into its history with coal and its proximity to major attractions just south of them. Carbon County is primely located close to unparalleled outdoor adventure in the Swell, Tavaputs Plateau, and Wasatch Plateau. Each community in Carbon County offers amenities or experiences that create a notable experience for those traveling to Southeast Utah. These communities are also located in a line along US 6 and SR 123—a corridor of sorts. The Carbon Corridor designates Carbon County as a convenient, linked system of communities that make a memorable stopover or basecamp while exploring Southeast Utah.
· Unites the four communities
· Allows each community its moment to shine
· Set the expectation of more to come
· Shortens nicely to “The Corridor”
The Carbon Corridor accurately represents and communicates what a visitor should expect when they visit the county now (a convenient link to outdoor adventure in all directions) while leaving room for the brand to grow as the county changes. The Corridor can extend to include the new Jurassic National Monument, a different city designation, or become a destination in and of itself in the future.
Coloring in the lines
With this framework established, we began developing a visual identity, messaging, and tone of voice that fit the Corridor. The look and feel of the brand drew from the County’s historic built environment and history, embracing the textures, colors, and details of historic brick buildings, hand-painted signage, and industry.
Messaging and tone focused on framing the Corridor as a basecamp of sorts to begin any adventure into Southeast Utah, highlighting a variety of activities and the Corridor’s proximity to major attractions. This led to a marketing plan fueled by the vision that tourism is a healthy and integral part of a sustainable economy for the county—that it brings revenue into the county without compromising quality of life for its residents.
Designed in Partnership with the Emery County Travel Bureau
Brand Strategy, Communications, Marketing, Design