Free Street Theater has been at the forefront of the movement to create inclusive, innovative and accessible arts in communities across Chicago. As they embarked on celebrating their 50th year anniversary, they sought a design firm that shared their values of community and social justice to propel them towards the future. They chose LimeRed to partner with to guide them through a brand strategy and design that stayed true to their roots and founding mission.
LimeRed gave us the tools--literally and metaphorically--to communicate all the awesome things we are doing. - Coya Paz, Free Street Theater
Free Street has been practicing their grassroots art in the community for almost 50 years. As they reflected on the first half century of their work, they felt the need to assess their current position and solidify their direction towards the future. What better way to do that than with a brand strategy with LimeRed.
When we first met FreeStreet, their visual identity reflected much of the gritty, highly imaginative, and people-centered work they do. But it was inconsistent and not always representative to who they were as a complete identity. Also, because of their years of experience and unique expertise, others now seek them for creative facilitation of community dialogue as a service. They needed to position and communicate this offering while still staying true to their mission. So, how do you do that?
We focused on developing an overall brand strategy and research to validate ideas. We began with a series of mapping activities, helping Free Street deepen their understanding of audiences, their relationships, and experiences so we could position the organization in a way that was meaningful and relevant not only to them but to their most important stakeholders.
Other than surveys and qualitative interviews, much of our design research included analyzing the visual language of their cultural experiences and influences. This was all pulled together in a final brand analysis report. But we weren’t done yet.
Free Street was founded in 1969. Above photo was from a 1974 performance at the Ravinia.
We created a new logo and design language for Free Street that communicated their spirited action, critical and caring nature, social realism, and radical ability to disrupt the status quo through the creative arts. We delivered a final brand standards guide to their team so they could begin using it on all of their collateral and marketing materials.
During our process, Free Street’s website hosts closed shop which meant that they needed a new website right away. Our solution was an immersive build project. For a total of three days, the Free Street team immersed themselves in our studio to work directly and co-creatively with our design and development team to plan, design, and build a new site. You can check it out at www.freestreet.org.
LimeRed explored and studied the visual language of Free Street’s cultural experiences and influences.
We asked Coya Paz, the director or Free Street to share with us what she thought was the most memorable part of work with us, “It was great to have an outside perspective on the throughline of our work. We are trying to do a LOT of things, and the LimeRed team was excellent at helping us see how those were working together and are connected so that we could communicate better.”
The process itself also helped them innovate and design a new offering for their audiences, “It was a direct result of our conversation(s) that we decided to try marketing facilitation services (dubbed FS Talk).”
All in all, we also asked them if they could just choose five words that come to mind about the work that LimeRed does, they responded, “compassionate, efficient, justice-oriented, focused, and fun.”
Home page of LimeRed branded website for Free Street.