During the very first interactions with the Discover Bella Vista team, it was apparent that they were looking for a brand reset and to attract the next generation of families and visitors to Bella Vista. With the recent explosion of world class mountain bike trails and trailside Airbnbs, our mission from the start was to make Bella Vista look younger, modern, and approachable. Furthermore, we knew that our designs needed to be complimentary to the nearby art museums, golf courses, culinary, and coffee shops.
Our first task was to reset the logo, colors and branding. This required a delicate and yet intentional approach. Our goal was to not reinvent the wheel, but to stay with a simple logo that would easily be recognized. We envisioned a logo that would resemble biking but also look great on hats, shirts, and promo items. Thus, we ultimately decided our best route was to select vibrant colors (such as red, orange and yellow) to bring the energy, while keeping the typography simple and yet the focus. We ended up with a beautiful conversion of colors and what we joked as the "Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Font" on a slant. The result: a stacked logo that would look good on anything. A fun and yet unique brand marker for years to come for Discover Bella Vista.
Next up was envisioning an awesome online experience to display the best that Bella Vista has to offer. We wanted the website to become a true online experience. It needed to display a lot of movement, animation, and "drop ins" in order to reward the user for every scroll. We also knew that the images needed to remain the center of the website to tell the story of the natural beauty of the Ozark mountains. After several weeks of research, mock-ups, wireframing, and sketching... as well as working through one of our favorite processes, the Storybrand Framework (see below), we eventually landed on the format of a well-thought out custom website. Dark, smooth, sexy and yet clear to the user. A very clear representation and storytelling tool for Bella Vista to outsiders.
Two notable features we really enjoyed designing: the header menu and the food menu pages. The header menu showcases a special image reveal upon the hover of the mouse. Move your mouse, get rewarded with a new image. We'd never seen a menu do this before, but thought of this concept as a fun way to visually tell the story of Bella Vista, especially from what is normally a boring part of a website. And the food menu was another fun creation - showcasing the various restaurants and pubs. We took photos of each location, specialized plates, and their awesome environments!
If used correctly, a website is simply just a tool to showcase the right message and invite the consumer to take action. And while images tell stories, words are essential for communicating meaning, narrative, and focus. This was our mindset from the start, to revisit the core of Bella Vista and to take time to accurately tell a clear story of who Bella Vista is and what Bella Vista has to offer to visitors. Rest. Relaxation. Family-Centric. Vacation Success. Airbnb Paradise. These were the thoughts we arrived at after taking the time to work through the StoryBrand framework - a simple 7 step process for revealing the narrative of any business, organization, or story. The framework is simple: there's a hero on a journey, the hero faces a problem to overcome, the hero then meets a guide who provides structure and a plan to success, the hero then takes the guide's advice and faces their problem, and eventually the story ends in success or failure. Although every business is different, this framework is often a great structure to use when working through messaging and storytelling.
Our finished products ended up taking us roughly 6 months to complete from start to finish. And while not all projects take this long, we were very fortunate to have plenty of time to strategize, test, and finetune for maximum impact before launch. Our deliverables: a new logo, a new website, and a new messaging system.