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New downtown branding effort on tap

EvMark board members this afternoon got an update on what people think about downtown Evanston and a look at possible new logo designs for marketing the downtown area.


EvMark board members this afternoon got an update on what people think about downtown Evanston and a look at possible new logo designs for marketing the downtown area.

Based on responses from more than 400 people in focus group sessions and online and paper surveys, consultant Scott Freres of The Lakota Group said respondents generally see Evanston’s strengths as its shops and restaurants, the lakefront and the university. But they’re annoyed by panhandling and parking tickets.

Freres say those questioned also would like to see more opportunities for nightlife and entertainment — especially for people of high school and college age.

He said the the new music venue Space, at 1245 Chicago Ave., frequently was offered as an example of what people wish Evanston had more of — along with the perennial favorite of adding a bowling alley-style entertainment center.

He said the study suggests the city could do more to market the walkability of downtown and better promote use of the downtown parking garages.

Respondents gave relatively high marks to the safety of the downtown area with 42 percent saying they feel very safe downtown and only 1 percent saying they feel very unsafe there.

Less than a third of those interviewed said they know what EvMark itself does, which raised the issue, not further addressed at the session, of whether the group, funded through a special downtown tax district, may itself need a new name.

The Pressley-Jacobs design consulting firm unveiled four designs for logos to be used to promote downtown. And after a range of comments from people at the meeting, EvMark Chair Dan Kelch said the designers would go to work refining the two designs that proved most popular.

One uses an ultra-bold capital letter “E” with multi-colored vertical bands that some in the group suggested represented the diverse fabric of Evanston. The other features a stylized swirl of color resembling a lower case “e.”

Each design would have “Evanston Downtown” as its primary text with the tag line “Where Chicago and the North Shore meet.”

In addition to implementations of the design for media advertising, the designers also showed mock ups of the logos used for t-shirts and placed on everything from banners on light poles to shopping bags.

EvMark Executive Director Carolyn Dellutri said the group hopes to have the design work finished in time to use the new logo to promote events this summer.

The board also gave Dellutri approval to seek proposals for a redesign of EvMark’s website and elected officers and a board of directors.

In addition to Kelch, the owner of LuLu’s restaurant, the officers are Secretary Rob Gilbert of Church Street Plaza and Treasurer Rick Braunstein of Rotary International.

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