Building on Common Ground

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01.31.2022

Building on Common Ground

A rebrand and new website for Freedom’s Way

Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, 45 diverse communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was established by Congress in 2009 to preserve the special historic identity of the region. One of 55 National Heritage Areas within the United States, Freedom’s Way is managed by a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the National Park Service.

Unlike many National Heritage Areas, Freedom’s Way does not have a physical headquarters or singular central landmark. To create a common narrative, the organization’s 2015 management plan included three interpretive themes as a framework to share the region’s stories. Through programs and partnerships, a story archive was begun and continues to flourish. Building a unique collection of profiles and histories prompted the organization to explore new ways to organize and share the growing story archive as well as information on the rich and varied cultural, natural, and historic resources within the Heritage Area.

Inspired by the idea of an online museum, the organization partnered with D&CO to develop the strategy and design for a refreshed brand and to design and develop a robust new website.
The goals of the brand refresh and new website included raising awareness about the organization and the heritage area, especially among younger generations and new residents, clarifying the intent of the organization’s name, refreshing the messaging and designing an intuitive and interactive guide and online archive that is engaging and accessible. Central to the project was the desire to emphasize that the organization represented the diversity of histories, stories and people important to the area and was inclusive and welcoming of everyone.

Core ideas inform the rebrand

As the only organization in the area devoted to culture, history and nature, the organization has a pivotal role as a central resource for residents and visitors alike. Four strong themes emerged from the discovery process, themes that define both the area and the organization:

• We are bedrock and fertile ground
• We are deeply connected and wholly independent
• We are visionaries and innovators
• We thrive through education and access

A new look and dynamic website

Originally named ‘Freedom’s Way’ because of the area’s importance in the American Revolution, the brand refresh needed to make clear that neither the name or the relationship to the American Revolution was singular, political, or exclusive. The choice of a vibrant purple, a modern and open typeface and a new logo sets the intent. The logo’s elements, an abstraction of a banner/flag and a beacon/lantern, combine to create a strong visual mark that is a unique symbol of the area without referencing any specific object or place. Evocative photography is paired with declarative and open headlines to welcome visitors to the website and encourage them to explore.

The site is deeply interactive and dynamic. Visitors are invited to find culture, nature and history resources through an interactive map, search for stories based on themes and explore the area based on experience, topic, location or audience.

Without a physical location to welcome visitors, the new brand and website becomes Freedom’s Way’s virtual headquarters. The updated look and online presence has energized and focused the organization, creating a platform for the ongoing sharing of the stories of the Heritage Area, highlighting partnerships and engaging the public to explore the region.

Visit Freedom’s Way 

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OTHER NEWS & INSIGHTS

06.29.22

AWS Premier Partner Cloudhesive contracts D&CO for brand strategy, naming, and brand design

06.23.22

Boston's Sherrill House contracts D&CO to create 4th TV spot

06.14.22

Repeat client Ai3 Architects contracts D&CO for brand strategy and 2nd generation website