Telluride Arts District - Brand Strategy & Visual Identity

This year something extraordinary happened for the town of Telluride. The State of Colorado looked beyond its famous ski reputation and discovered an undeniable creative energy – a flourishing culture of the arts dating back to the early 1970’s, when Telluride transitioned from a gritty mining town to a magnet for interesting people and new ideas. In early 2014, Telluride became one of Colorado’s seven Certified Creative Districts. And Breedlove Creative, Inc. was asked to brand the Telluride Arts District.

During our initial discovery phase, rich stories of Telluride’s wild past unfolded. Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank here. Gold miners spent their weekends and wages on booze, gambling, and prostitutes. There were gunfights in the streets. Telluride was the wild west – a destination for the fearless. But as the mining industry dwindled in the late sixties, creatives escaping modern societies started calling it home. It was this influx of unbound individuals who set the stage for what is now a thriving arts culture. These stories provided the underlying fabric for our core brand idea.

We then looked to align our efforts with the Arts District’s specific long-term business goals. Being a resort town, Telluride experiences economical spikes throughout a typical year. Their ambition is to level them out by making Telluride known for more than its winter skiing and summer festivals. They believe the town has the potential to be known just as much for its arts, and in turn, drive steady economic growth throughout the year by attracting artists and art connoisseurs alike. Combining Telluride’s rich historical past with this vision for future success, we positioned the Arts District around the notion of place – A Destination of Fearless Creativity, deeply invested in Telluride’s natural allure, courage, and arts.

After completing the brand strategy work, we proceeded with the creation of an equally fearless messaging platform and visual identity system. At the heart of the visual identity is an emblem that symbolizes everything the Arts District represents. The emblem is supported by a monochromatic color palette and carefully selected typefaces that complement the newly defined brand personality. A key end deliverable of this project was a brand book that outlines and standardizes all strategy and identity work, providing a powerful tool for use by the Arts District’s marketing team.

Big thanks to Mara Harvey for capturing all mountain photography of the Colorado Rockies in and around Telluride.

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