Northbrook unveils new brand

Village aims to bring in visitors, residents


Streetlights in Downtown Northbrook display banners with a new Village tagline “True North.” The new brand was implemented to attract businesses and people to Northbrook. Photo by Micah Shulman

Village President Kathryn Ciesla announced Northbrook’s new brand in January, an endeavor that had been in development since last July. Residents may notice streetlights downtown that have been updated with banners featuring the new green logo and tagline “True North.” This new logo and tagline are part of the new brand, along with a second tagline, “Thrive Here.”

The Village Board identified a branding study as a goal for the future in 2020, Village Trustee Heather Ross said.

“People in the community always want us to bring more people to Northbrook [and] revitalize our downtown, and so a lot of the board members felt like getting a new way to show our identity through a new type of logo would help in that way and would be a good thing for the community,” Ross said.

According to Northbrook Communications Manager Nicholas Glenn, having a Village brand is important to be a unified organization.

“It adds up to credibility with residents,” said Glenn. “It adds up to attracting employees to work in the Village in the different departments and services. It also positions you in a competitive light when compared to other cities and villages when, say, a big developer wants to put something somewhere and when you look like you have your stuff together, that is an easier sell to them that this is where they should settle and hire folks.” 

Northbrook received 11 proposals from branding and marketing firms to do the study, and the board chose a5 Branding & Digital. Northbrook’s total contract with a5 was for $58,625, with approximately 30 percent of that amount being used by a5 for collecting community input.

A rebrand in Northbrook was needed, said senior Adam Berkowitz, who is a commissioner on Northbrook’s Community Commission, which encourages understanding and respect in Northbrook.

“The money allocated to the new logo for Northbrook was very well-spent, and it’s really cool to see that our town is trying to modernize and get with the times,” Berkowitz said.

According to John Harris, principal of a5 Branding & Digital, a5 collected input on Northbrook from community members for two to three months through one-on-one conversations at local events, an email survey and focus groups with Village employees, community leaders, students and other residents.

Community members said they love Northbrook because of factors like it being a safe community, having access to Chicago with the Metra train and to O’Hare on the interstate, the welcoming and friendly people, strong business community, open space and excellent schools, Harris said.

When creating Northbrook’s brand, a5 synthesized its research and the themes that came from the community outreach, Harris said.

The new brand was implemented on Northbrook’s website, social media, e-newsletter and print newsletter in February and March. It is planned to be used on written materials like bills, envelopes and business cards. Northbrook budgets money each year for branded items, such as giveaway items, uniforms and banners, so the Village is spending the same amount of money this year, but updating the items with the new brand.

“There’s no true, ‘Hey, we’re done with the implementation of the brand, now this will go on for years,’” said Glenn. “What we can say right now is the logo is permanent, but the different applications of things like taglines and designs … that will change.”