Even cities need to work on their branding to communicate effectively, and the Atlanta Department of City Planning has developed a distinctive look

Public service doesn't always take an interest in design and branding—understandably, what with a tight budget, employees stretched thin and a countless number of problems to address. However good design, from graphic design to service design, can strengthen government services and their identity as a whole. In Atlanta, Commissioner Tim Keane of the Atlanta Department of City Planning approached branding firm Matchstic with a project to transform the department's public notices.

Keane wanted to redo the department's visual language and Matchstic started by advising that it shed its name at the time, the Department of Planning and Community Development, to the more concise Atlanta Department of City Planning. Along with this change came a visual transformation in colorful and clean typography with a modern look.

Before all of these changes took place, Matchstic worked with the department to help envision its specific role and mission in serving the Atlanta community. The agency clearly saw the department's passion to drive responsible growth in Atlanta. After this discovery process, Matchstic worked with the department to design a system that focused more on utility and humanized its language, steering away from bureaucratic and sometimes confusing language in order to inform the public more clearly.

All efforts reflected a human-centered design in which the public, as consumers, came first. They came up with a phrase that summed everything up: “To Be Clear Is To Be Kind.” They even implemented changes within the physical offices to help employees and visitors easily go through different public service processes. Additionally, they delved into strengthening the identities of individual teams within the department (associating the Office of Mobility Planning with Energy, the Office of Buildings with Balance, and so on).

The whole project ended with the Department of City Planning clearly translating to the public that they are a public service organization that wants to serve the community first and foremost. The process allowed the Department of City Planning to reflect, grow its identity and removes barriers for citizens who need its services. Design may not be the first priority for any public service organization, but it definitely has the potential to connect them to the people they serve.

Matchstic

Public service doesn't always take an interest in design and branding—understandably, what with a tight budget, employees stretched thin and a countless number of problems to address. However good design, from graphic design to service design, can strengthen government services and their identity as a whole. In Atlanta, Commissioner Tim Keane of the Atlanta Department of City Planning approached branding firm Matchstic with a project to transform the department's public notices.

Keane wanted to redo the department's visual language and Matchstic started by advising that it shed its name at the time, the Department of Planning and Community Development, to the more concise Atlanta Department of City Planning. Along with this change came a visual transformation in colorful and clean typography with a modern look.