Redefining History With a New Voice

If you’re a part of the York County community here in Pennsylvania, you’ve likely heard about the rebranding of the York County Heritage Trust to the York County History Center.

It’s been a widely publicized effort to create an experiential museum in downtown York, Pennsylvania, and Gavin was the creative team selected for the massive undertaking.

Redefining the future of the organization’s history would take more than a redesign. Our team of brand strategists oversaw the comprehensive rebranding process, conducting focus groups of all ages, refining community messaging and building internal and stakeholder buy-in to the new vision for the future.

York County History Center

“Evoke pride in York County’s history. Short, simple and powerful.”

We worked to create the language to tell the story in a fresh way, crafting a new mission statement: Evoke Pride in York County’s History. Short, simple and powerful. We wanted to de-clutter the antique attic to create excitement that anyone could speak to. To complement the mission, we created a tagline designed for each audience to see its historical experiences in: Your History Starts Here. Our goal was to let the you, the audience, create your own story through historical exploration. The intent was to create museum experiences that would be unique and special for the individual visitor.
York County History Center
We went on to define the brand persona, the core values and the museum experience. As rebranding experts, we wanted the new York County History Center to have clarity of how its community would work together to define the new experience — focused on a clear vision and mission for the future.

The strategy took about six months to complete, which provided the foundation for our creative department to get to work. They explored museums up and down the East Coast, spent days digging into York’s history and gathered feedback from museum-goers and employees. We spoke to historians, tour-goers, history buffs, families who love the museum experience and so many more.

After a few months of creative investigation into typography, color and museum brands, we developed a series of concepts and narrowed our creative strategy. After a full presentation on strategy and brand to the museum’s board, the brand experience was approved and the logo was selected. We saw the logo as an exploration into history, and so we created a set of brand tools to guide its implementation. Our creative vision was to create excitement for history in a way that had not yet been experienced in the region, or even in the tri-state area.

To guide implementation for staff and volunteer training that would deliver the authentic museum experience, we delivered an extensive brand bible (also known as a brand standards guide).

Our work did not stop there. To support a successful rebranding launch, we crafted elements to tell the new History Center’s story in print, digital and across social media.

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