A bold new campaign by DNCO looks to 'change perceptions of San Francisco'

Creative studio DNCO has created a national campaign for San Francisco, aiming to "change perceptions" of the city and help bring new businesses and investment to the area.

DNCO was appointed by The City of San Francisco, the Bay Area Council, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and Advance SF, an organisation made up of leading employers in the city and aims to make San Francisco thriving, affordable, and boast "a good quality of life for all".

San Francisco had one of the slowest recovery rates from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to DNCO, which was tasked with helping the city rebuild its reputation worldwide.

At the start of the project, DNCO undertook workshops with stakeholders such as city officials and influential business leaders, including those from Bank of America, Gap, San Francisco Opera and the Golden State Warriors basketball team, as well as numerous local businesses and the Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed.

From these discussions, it was soon clear that people felt SF's "openness and mindset are what nurtures a unique culture of innovation," says DNCO.

Drawing on these findings, the campaign is based on the concept 'make your place in the future, make your future San Francisco' – an invitation to everyone worldwide.

"Talking to some of the incredible leaders of San Francisco, there was a striking common passion for not just what this beautiful city is, but what it represents," says Simon Yewdall, strategy director of DNCO. "For decades, San Francisco has attracted people who desire to express their full selves, creating a critically important culture of openness and imagination.

"After everything from devastating earthquakes to economic busts in its history, reinvention is in the DNA of the city – couple that with its invaluable social and commercial infrastructure, and it's clear that San Francisco has an inherent capacity to adapt and prosper. We just needed to capture that."

DNCO created a new "future-forward" logotype as part of the campaign identity. Its fresh look aims to match the city's aspirations with an upwards stroke that "signals the sense of progress that belongs to a city on the rise," says the studio. The angle of the graphic device is a gentle reference to the famously hilly streets in San Francisco. At the same time, the RGB green and blue colour palette looks to further underscore the "fresh attitude" and stand out across everything from outdoor posters to signs on trams, print ads, digital animations and gifs, stickers, merchandise such as tote bags and more.

"Instead of tapping into recognisable and overused symbols in the vernacular of a well-known city, we wanted our place identity for this campaign to be bold, dynamic and future-facing," says DNCO creative director Sam Jones. "From the choice of colours to the slanted stroke, our design captures the sentiment of a city looking upwards."

A new 90-second film was created with local filmmaker Nick Stone Schrearer and featured a voiceover from SF Giants announcer Jon Miller. The short looks to capture "the call of San Francisco as the place to make your future – as a business and as an individual," says DNCO, adding that it celebrates the city's progressive roots in championing LGBT+ rights, SF's beauty, and its storied history of innovations and inventions. "The campaign calls renewed attention to San Francisco as the start-up capital that continues to shape people's lives," DNCO continues.

The campaign is part of the Business Journals' The Future of Cities event, and the film was broadcast to 40 major US markets.


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly