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Vital City

Brand Strategy / Capacity-Building / Brand Design / Product Design / Campaigns / Fractional Communications Department

Accomplished innovators in New York City’s public safety and urban policy landscape joined forces to build a new platform for evidence-based policy. They saw an audience and a need for reasoned discourse, transcending the bag ‘em and tag ‘em versus ACAB bombast. They wanted to uplift solutions that champion the city, its people, and its potential.

Vital City’s leaders were expert in the subject matter but recognized that they needed a lot of help to stand up a new organization, develop their brand, build their products, and capture their audience. And they wanted us to do it all in just 120 days.

Approach We ran rapid-fire brand strategy workshops, audience and landscape research, and visual identity iteration, along with working closely with our development partners to provide intensive project management, operations stand-up, content strategy, and UX research. We spun up Vital City’s social media and email programs and banked content. We designed the website UI and the print journal in tandem for brand consistency. We used our own expertise and tapped Vital City’s to build a brand and product suite that would be immediately recognizable and understandable to NYC’s urban policy elite, while also feeling fresh, exciting, and accessible. Somehow we also did the creative production for a dozen short videos. We planned Vital City’s launch event and designed swag. Everything we did professed love for the city. 

While those early days of Vital City were exciting, they were also a bit terrifying. We knew we had an opportunity to help Vital City go out the gate with a bang (which they did), but we also needed to keep an eye on sustainability. In those first 120 days, we strategized, designed, built, rinsed and repeated — all to forge firm ground and lasting connections between the brand, its message, and its audiences, beyond the certain catharsis of launch.

Vital City is booming! It’s changing the discourse, moving policy, attracting a powerful and politically diverse audience, and rallying eminent researchers, practitioners, and thinkers to write for issues and articles on a wide range of subjects. They’ve attracted top-talent hires in data and editorial, expanded their pool of funders, and grown their in-house capacity. 

We continue to provide brand, product, and creative strategy services, along with fractional communications, design and art direction. We also help implement processes and tools to streamline their operations. Our ultimate goal is Vital City’s self-sufficiency and sustainability, so we hand off workstreams to them as their interest and capacity expands.

“Who’s better than you guys?”

Elizabeth Glazer, Founder, Vital City

“It’s a beautiful marriage.”

Greg Berman, Co-Editor, Vital City

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