City of Magnolia unveils new brand

UCA, Thrive, Entergy partner with city in creative process

The University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED), Thrive, Inc. and Entergy Arkansas partnered with the city of Magnolia to develop a new community brand and logo. It is the first official brand and logo Magnolia has adopted.

The new logo features a magnolia blossom and incorporates warm shades of green and blue. The brand portrays Magnolia as an ideal place to embrace and celebrate the everyday joys of life and reflects on the city’s natural beauty.

CCED, Thrive and Entergy collaborated with the city of Magnolia, the Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and the Magnolia School District art program to create a mural that showcases the new brand. Thrive designed and prepared the mural, and art students from Magnolia High School painted it. The mural was unveiled at The Square Park in downtown Magnolia on Saturday, March 12.

“Magnolia had been well overdue for a brand identity but had no idea where to start. We reached out to UCA and in a matter of days a partnership between UCA, the City, Thrive and Entergy Arkansas was born. During the stakeholder meeting, Thrive was able to evoke an authentic response from the attendees,” said Ellie Baker, executive director of Magnolia Economic Development. “Thrive, UCA and Entergy staff successfully engaged Magnolia citizens and generated buy-in during the branding process. In the end, Magnolia received a one-of-a-kind magnolia blossom and colors and font style that perfectly represent our city.”

Unlike traditional branding processes, the community brand and logo were not developed in a vacuum. Diverse leaders and citizens were selected to participate in an initial stakeholder meeting and served as decision-makers during brand development. This ensured that the brand was representative of all of Magnolia and that it secured buy-in from the community.

“The community members from Magnolia were great clients. They engaged with us in a truly meaningful and thoughtful way that showed trust in the creative process,” Founder and Executive Director of Thrive Will Staley said. “The resulting logo and brand identity is evidence of great local leadership and a unified team.”

Magnolia leadership also considered how to strategically unveil the brand to the public. After receiving support from the Magnolia City Council, youth in Magnolia were engaged in the branding process. High school students who assisted in the mural development gained hands-on experience as artists.

“I love seeing how students can utilize the power of visual design to impact their community. They were a direct part of uniting their community with a shared vision and identity,” said Sarah Melby, associate creative director at Thrive.

The mural is mobile and can be moved throughout the city to spotlight the brand. It serves as a photo opportunity for citizens and visitors alike. Magnolia leadership encourages the use of #HelloFromMagnolia when engaging with the mural.

UCA and Entergy served as funders, supporters and conveners during the brand development process. The brand unveiling will serve to kick off other community and economic development efforts in Magnolia.

“UCA is dedicated to supporting Arkansas communities by enhancing quality of life and assisting in the growth of their local economies. The Magnolia branding effort is a perfect example of generating a community development win through strategic partnerships and local engagement. We look forward to continuing our work with the City of Magnolia,” said Shelby Fiegel, director of CCED.

Community Development Program Manager at Entergy Arkansas Tandee White said, “Entergy is honored to be able to work with partners such as UCA and Thrive to bring innovative and impactful change to communities that support community needs. A new logo and brand was identified through the Community Catalyst process and, although COVID-19 has delayed the overall initiative, working on a new brand was something we could do remotely. The logo is beautiful and so representative of Magnolia’s welcoming spirit.”

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About CCED
The Center for Community and Economic Development’s mission is to have a positive impact on communities by equipping leaders with economic tools and resources, building consensus to achieve community goals and bringing UCA resources and communities together. CCED envisions communities across Arkansas and the country with robust economies, a flourishing quality of life and diverse and engaged citizen leaders. CCED provides customized training and technical assistance to communities and their leaders and is part of UCA’s Division of Outreach and Community Engagement.

About Thrive Inc.
Thrive Inc. is a community-centered graphic design nonprofit revitalizing organizations and communities through rebranding while engaging youth leaders to effect community change. Headquartered in Helena, Arkansas, Thrive has been improving life through meaningful design since 2009. The Branding Consultancy process is fundamentally composed of three parts: Brand Discovery, Brand Identity, and Brand Application. We always begin with a creative brief workshop with community stakeholders where we walk through the current context and future goals of the city. This not only gives us accurate, community-based knowledge to build upon but also promotes community ownership of the project from the outset. Through the process, we engage a team of community members to guide the brand creation and provide consistent feedback to ensure the creation of a compelling visual identity system. Once the brand mark or logo has been established, we begin the process of applying the new brand to relevant materials.

About Entergy Arkansas
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), an integrated energy company engaged in electric power production, transmission and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to 3 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy owns and operates one of the cleanest large-scale U.S. power generating fleets with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 7,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.