Syracuse’s Eastside cultural district of the Westcott neighborhood is in the midst of rebranding itself. (This is exactly the type of conversation we want to have about how naming districts speaks to a city’s different cultural identities.) I talked with graphic designer Damian Vallelonga of ECHO art and design collective about the work he and Kate Palermo, both Westcott residents, have done in searching for the “essence” of the Westcott Nation.
They’ve designed a district logo to be featured on the new upcoming website for the Westcott neighborhood, in partnership with the Westcott Neighborhood Association. We won’t get a sneak peak of the design until the site is launched soon. But for now, Vallelonga agreed to talk about why it’s so important to unify the neighborhood with this goal.
“It can create a better sense of place, more of a shared sense of your community that you are apart of something special,” he said. “Ideally, you want people to take ownership of their surroundings whether it’s their apartment, neighborhood block or entire city. In creating a brand, you hope it will foster some positive perception not only from outside the neighborhood but from people within.”
Vallelonga and Palermo’s design for Westcott mimics the neighborhoods colorful, eclectic culture. With eight prismatic colors, the logo removes vowels to spell WSCT – an identity they want to make sense for the neighborhood. The design has been shown in several neighborhood meetings and has received strong feedback.
The goal is to create a site that represents everyone in the neighborhood from young families to aging residents and students. Not only will the site and logo be tools for better marketing the neighborhood, but it will also provide resources for those who live there.
“Westcott has one of the most distinct identities in Syracuse,” Vallelonga said. “You have people who are more progressive, artsy, musical and hipper. There are food growers, green party members and students. It’s a colorful neighborhood.”
To combine all that Westcott offers into one logo is not easy. After all, the neighborhood is stocked with historic character. Vallelonga and Westcott residents were worried that an official design would pigeonhole them into a specific look, but they’re happy with the results. They plan to only use it on the new website for now.
It will be interesting to see how this new development enriches Westcott’s city identity. What’s your favorite trait of the Westcott neighborhood?