The RVA logo has become a huge trend in Richmond in recent years and is literally stamped all over the city, on bumpers, t-shirts, business windows, signs, police cars, E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E! Residents wear it with pride and merchandise is literally flying off the shelves in every locally owned shop and restaurant from downtown to the suburbs.
Businesses have added RVA to their name and brand because of the recognition that comes along with it, and we’re one of them. But do you know how this genius marketing tool originated?
Venture Richmond was asked to come up with a new brand for Richmond as a way to build pride within the community. In 2010 they enlisted the help of VCU’s Brandcenter and its students to help them do just that. A group of six students came up with the idea to use a logo with the letters RVA as a blank canvas so that local businesses, artists, restaurants, whomever wanted to use it could make it their own and put their personal stamp on it. It’s such a simple concept, but gives locals one image that stays the same, yet can be customized to their personal preferences and needs, making it something the community has a hand in. Katie Chapin, one of the students involved in creating the logo, said it was “a way to give people the chance to own that term. Richmond means different things to different people.”
Before the brand was rolled out to the public, many others had a hand in polishing the now iconic symbol and helping make it what it is today. Venture Richmond and many other local agencies and organizations, along with many other highly skilled professionals were a big part of the operation, but the original concept came from those genius students at VCU. According to VCU News, Venture Richmond was presented several ideas from the students at the Brandcenter, but Chapin and her group’s idea was selected based on it’s ability to be molded to anyone and everyone living here. It was all about inclusion–they didn’t want to leave anyone out.
Possibly the coolest thing about this branding effort was that everyone involved agreed that it would never be owned by any one entity. They wanted anyone that has ties to Richmond to be able to use it as they pleased. It showcases the creativity that we take so much pride in here, and that was the goal. So, anyone that wants to use the logo can easily obtain it for free and use it in whatever way they’d like.
In the years since the release of the RVA logo, people have not only used it locally to show love for their city, but they take it with them wherever they go through stickers and clothing, home goods, gifts etc., telling people all over the country where they come from. But, it’s not just locals that are showing great pride for our city. Visitors purchase RVA merchandise and take it with them all over the world showing that they were here, making us globally known.