Designing a Better Chicago

Firebelly Design

A series of DBC posters.
A DBC branded outdoor wall poster.
Previews of the DBC website on desktop and mobile.
A hanging DBC banner and branded stationery.
A DBC poster outside, lit up at night.

Designing a Better Chicago is an annual celebration, for residents and visitors alike, that shines a light on the extraordinary impact of design on civic life. The program also supports local individuals and organizations using the power of design to advance social good through its Design Impact Grant.

This effort is a collaboration between theMART, NeoCon, DCASE and the Design Museum of Chicago. Together, we developed a thoroughly contemporary system that is deeply rooted in Chicago’s history of design excellence.

To design the logo, we discovered inspiration in the overlooked — Chicago’s municipal device. An iconic symbol that hides in plain sight throughout the city, it references the 19th-century engineering feat of reversing the flow of the Chicago River.

The logo becomes flexible and dynamic as various arrangements are formed with the reflected symbol and wordmark. Set in the typeface Telegraf, the wordmark connects to the symbol through geometry and subtle angles. The linear forms provide a pared down yet meaningful foundation for the entire visual system.

Design / Direction
Will Miller
Dean Sweetnich
Project link