Mayor Levar Stoney announced a new identity for the city of Richmond on Wednesday.
“Richmond Real: Real people. Real places. Real stories,” the city’s new branding, celebrates “all that is authentic and unique about the great city of Richmond,” Stoney said at a news conference.
“Today, folks, we are talking about Richmond Real,” he said. “It is vibrant. It’s inclusive. It moves through the pulse of our city. It is an identity that embraces every person, every voice, every struggle, every success that contributes to our unique story.”
The cost of the project: $450,000.
The city worked on the project with marketing firm West Cary Group and the new Office of Strategic Communications and Civic Engagement over the course of almost a year. The investment in the project includes brand development, artistic execution, and the launch, which will span the summer of this year.
“There were two important questions that we asked each of those people who participated,” said West Cary Group CEO Moses Foster. “First, ‘How do you think Richmond is perceived today?’ and the second is, ‘How do you think Richmond will be perceived 10 years from now?’”
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To the first question, many respondents described Richmond as “growing,” “changing,” “evolving” and sometimes “divided.” In response to the second question, Foster said the firm received such responses as “connected,” “vibrant” and “progressive.” The colors used in the logo are representative of the responses gathered.
When asked about the RVA brand, Foster said “Real Richmond” was specifically to represent the city. RVA represents the greater Richmond region.
“Everybody said that ‘We want to be us, and nobody else can be us,’” Foster said. “And so that’s what we did with this.”
Along with the city and West Cary Group, Richmond’s Office of Strategic Communications and Civic Engagement helped with the creation of Richmond Real. Where Virginia is for Lovers, Richmond is the heartbeat, where they are connecting with the people in the city.
“This is an opportunity to nurture a deeper connection,” said Petula Burks, director of the strategic communications and civic engagement office. “With Richmond Real, we are listening, activating and we are continuing our commitment to serving every member of our community.”
Inclusivity was essential to creating the new brand, according to the officials. Sharon Ebert, the deputy chief administrative officer for economic and community development, said it was an important aspect to her role in the creation of Richmond Real and critical to the success of Richmond’s communities.
“We all know that when we give everybody a seat at the table, we close racial and gender wealth gaps. We increase civic pride. We build up our communities, and we foster jobs, and all of that strengthens our economy,” Ebert said. “And when we value people for their unique contributions, we all achieve more.”
After the news conference, there was a reception catered by local food and beverage spots that had partnered with the city to “integrate Richmond’s bold new identity into limited edition offerings,” according to a media advisory.
The partners include Bev’s Ice Cream, Ruby Scoops, Gelati Celesti, Scoop, Sweet Spot Ice Cream Café, Suzy Sno and Garden Grove. They will make or sell products that are going to be representative of the new brand Richmond Real.
“We’re gonna write a new chapter here in Richmond,” Stoney said in a promotional video presented at the conference, “and that chapter will be written by all the different stories and all the different citizens and people — no matter their ZIP code, no matter who they love, no matter the color of their skin, no matter how much money they have in their pocket. I think when you look at Richmond’s story, it can be inspiring to just so many people.”