The Mount Holly Brand was created to exemplify the connection of its citizens to nature. It is the culmination of the thoughts, feelings and emotions felt by City staff, the Economic Development Committee, the Mayor and City Council and most importantly, members of the Mount Holly community. The Brand is more than just a visual representation of who we are; it also helps us effectively transform attitudes and behaviors. While we have many programs and initiatives to help improve and elevate our community, Mount Holly needed one strong, unmistakable identity to clearly communicate who we are and what we do as a City.
Important details can be found in our Brand, which are unique to Mount Holly. The red in "Mount Holly" is a tribute to the great textile heritage that we enjoy still today. It is representative of the bricks that were used in the construction of our many cotton mills, both past and present. The light green crescent above the logo is indicative of Mother Earth and respect for the environment. The ebony brown "M" is representative of the trees and woodlands that we call our backyard, such as the State Educational Forest on Mountain Island Lake. The freehand holly leaf, which makes up the backbone of the M, represents the City of Mount Holly and our love of nature. Flowing out of the holly leaf's center is a blue river, illustrating that the Catawba River is the lifeblood of Mount Holly and our greatest natural resource. The tagline, "Connecting Community in Nature," is displayed prominently at bottom of our Brand. In public surveys, our citizens noted that Mount Holly's small town character and abundance of nature were two of our most important traits.
During the fall of 2011, City Council directed the Planning & Development Department and the Economic Development Committee to focus on marketing the City and making Mount Holly more recognizable to businesses, visitors and people looking for a place to call home. This project started out simply as a wayfinding plan, to help guide traffic in and around town. However, through months of hard work, the City saw the opportunity to proceed with a consolidated, 5-phase approach that began with developing a Mount Holly Brand, complete with a new logo and tagline, which would invoke positive feelings about Mount Holly when one saw it.
The City contracted with ACSM, Inc. as a one-stop shop in 1) Developing Mount Holly's Brand 2) Designing Gateway, Wayfinding and Trailblazing Signage, 3) Drafting a Master Sign Plan, 4) Providing Detailed Specifications for Approved Signs and 5) Fabricating Signs under NCDOT Regulations. After three months of workshops with ACSM, the EDC unanimously recommended that City Council adopt the new logo and tagline, "Connecting Community and Nature." In January 2012, Council adopted the Mount Holly Brand, Logo and Tagline, and thus, Phase 1 of the City's Brand Identity Initiative was officially complete. Over 50 citizens and supporters came out on a rainy, Tuesday evening in February 2012, to commemorate this step through the Mount Holly Brand Launch.
Throughout 2012, Phases 2 through 4 were completed by Planning & Development staff in coordination with ACSM and NCDOT Division 12. In June of 2013, the City finalized Phase 5 of the Plan by installing 15 Trailblazing Signs, signs that would guide traffic to Historic Downtown Mount Holly, parks and other destination points as people entered the city limits from major highways. Currently, we are working with ACSM on a new round of wayfinding signs that we be located throughout downtown. A new gateway sign is also planned for the NC 27 corridor, as one enters Mount Holly from Mecklenburg County.
The City has used the Mount Holly Brand in various ways since its conception in early 2012. You can see that the Brand played an important role in developing the theme for our new website. Departments, such as Public Utilities and Street and Solid Waste, proudly display the Mount Holly Brand on their vehicles. While the city seal is utilized for official documents, the City continues to explore ways that we can market Mount Holly through branding.