A Dynamic DC Brand

Skyland Town Center

We love creating new brands. So building one from the ground up…literally? Bring it.

We created a stand-out brand for this highly anticipated Washington, DC, property.

Skyland Town Center is a highly anticipated mixed-use development that’s currently under construction in southeast Washington, DC. The 18.5-acre site is approved for 468 apartments, 325,000 square feet of retail, and a town square. The property will provide much-needed retail, restaurants, and services to nearby residents, who have advocated for a town center since the late 1980s.

We created a stand-out brand for this highly anticipated Washington, DC, property.

Real estate developer Rappaport sought a brand platform and website that would convey Skyland Town Center’s unique features and appeal to wide-ranging audiences.

Primary goals included:

  • Encourage national and local prospective retailers/businesses to lease commercial space.
  • Generate excitement and gain buy-in from the surrounding community, who generally support Skyland, although some have concerns, such as impending traffic or the elimination of green space.

To ensure that the Skyland brand would easily evolve to meet future needs, we developed the brand with the following secondary, post-construction goals in mind:

  • Inspire visitors from DC, Maryland, and Virginia to shop and dine at Skyland.
  • Attract future residents who will lease apartments.

We created a stand-out brand for this highly anticipated Washington, DC, property.

Taking into account the existing logo, we created a friendly, unique identity that would engage and inspire Skyland’s wide-ranging target audiences and position the property as the ideal place to locate a business, live, work, shop, and play.

Our solution included:

  • Research: First, we conducted secondary research and a competitive review of other properties. Then, we held focus groups with:
    • Skyland development team (Rappaport and WC Smith): We met with the team to learn about the property and its amenities, as well as their thoughts on messaging and design.
    • The community: We conducted research with the surrounding ward 7 and 8 community to learn about residents’ lifestyles, values, perceptions of Skyland, and retail desires/needs, as well as their preferences on colors, design styles, fonts, photography, key words/messages, and tone.
  • Brand Messaging: We crafted a value proposition and positioning statement, then tested them via a second round of community focus groups as well as online surveys. Then, we wrote audience-specific key messages to engage and motivate each group.
  • Tagline: Guided by the brand messaging, we crafted a tagline that resonates with the current target audiences—the surrounding community and prospective retailers—as well as future target audiences, including visitors/consumers and potential residents. “City Life, Redefined” conveys Skyland’s unique features in the nation’s capital.
  • Design Platform: We developed a color palette, fonts, photography, and patterns that complement Skyland’s existing logo. We applied this platform, along with the new tagline, to their logo.
  • Website: Using the new design platform and information from the competitive review, we designed, developed, and wrote the Skyland website. The fresh, friendly look-and-feel and audience-specific navigation make it easy for users to quickly find information—from potential businesses and residents to visitors and shoppers. In addition, the live web cam provides up-to-the-minute construction updates.

We created a stand-out brand for this highly anticipated Washington, DC, property.

  • We created a cohesive foundation for Skyland to launch its brand and advertising efforts, including a sophisticated brand platform, tagline, and website that appeal to all audiences.
  • As development continues, the website is a critical communication tool, sharing construction updates and community meetings with nearby residents while generating interest among future retailers, visitors, and residents.


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Novak Birch

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