Our New Brand

We established a brand strategy that reflects the organizational reforms underway and will inspire greater trust and confidence from the people it serves—the residents and community members of Boston. 

What Is a Brand?

A brand is far more than a logo, a typeface or new colors. In fact, brand and organizational identity are closely related concepts. A brand reflects company culture and what you do as a company. It embodies the highest-level strategy and ethos.

A logo and marketing efforts are just the physical representations of a brand’s promise. They are the outward-facing expression of a strategy.

When done well, branding informs every aspect of an organization. Think of Patagonia, and their famed “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign, which helped increase 2012 revenues by 30 percent, to $543 million, as the outdoor clothier launched 14 new stores. Or, consider the dynasty Disney has created out of a brand built on mouse ears.

The goal of this project is to make fundamental changes to the BPDA’s culture and how we work with the community. We are redesigning what we stand for as an organization.

As we change internally, we need to change externally as well. Our logo has been around since we were founded in 1957, and doesn’t accurately describe us as we are now, and how we plan to be in the future. It’s overdue for a reboot. Updating our logo will signal to the community that we’ve changed—and to us that we must continually fulfill our new brand promise.

Our Identity

We are now the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). Our name describes what we do as an organization: planning in order to shape the future of the city of Boston. Our name emphasizes our role in planning because the BPDA is uniquely tasked with thinking about Boston’s future and taking a broad view of many components that come together. We then work to develop that plan and make it a reality.

Our Brand Attributes

Brand attributes are a set of unambiguous qualities that define our brand’s inherent personality and character. They act as criteria for evaluating everything we do as an organization. These are what we strive for in everything we do.


We ground everything we do in the daily experiences of the people of Boston and our neighborhoods.


We are excited about shaping a future we are proud of and are confident that Boston’s future is bright.


We act professionally in everything we do, considering every detail—from the broadest strokes to the smallest details of our work.


We use research and data to help us evaluate the complexity of the city, reaching for deeper understanding.


We know complex problems aren’t one-dimensional, so we iterate quickly to reach the best solution.

Live, Work and Connect

Our work as an organization focuses on shaping three key aspects of life in our city, in order to help our citizens Live, Work and Connect. For this reason, we have developed a set of icons that specifically represent these concepts. They can be used in applications to communicate quickly our benefits to the city.

Access to affordable housing and neighborhood amenities for learning, socialization and recreation

Access to well-paying jobs, and the training and education necessary

Access to supporting infrastructure, physical and virtual

How We Speak

Our brand voice, like our visual design system, is guided by our attributes. These attributes help inform our tone of voice when we speak and write as an organization. How we sound and the words we choose are as important as how our organization looks.

“I am a lawyer at the Boston Planning & Development Agency. I develop contracts to hold developers accountable. We ensure that they deliver on the objectives that the BPDA has outlined in the neighborhood plan and in doing so, meet the needs of the community. By planning and guiding growth in the city and working with our partners, we are shaping the future of Boston.”—BPDA Employee

Our Colors

Our color palette is a key aspect of our brand. Its brightness helps convey both our optimism for the future and our ability to find compelling insights. We use color boldly, both as solid fields and as overlays on top of photography, to create layered artwork.

Dark Blue is one of our two primary colors. It is used as part of our identity and for all body copy when written on a white background. Blue-Green is our second primary color. It is used in our logomark along with its 70% tint. In order to convey our rigor visually, our design system uses ample white space around designs. Yellow and orange are used to convey our positive outlook and are natural complements to our primary blues.

Our City’s Maps

Graphic maps of our neighborhoods can be used to show the unique areas of our city. These maps depict each of our neighborhoods and should be used as graphics on neighborhood-specific initiatives, such as planning studies or research reports.

Our Photography

Photography is one of the most important components of our visual style. It is the most direct way to communicate that we are a people-centric organization. All of our photography should consist of documentary-style images of Boston. It should never feel overly posed or be heavily edited in Photoshop. Photography should also be full color and full saturation, with a slightly warm color tone to compliment our color palette.

Contact Us   //   BPDA Home   //   nextBRA

One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
tel: 617.722.4300
fax: 617.248.1937
© 2016 Boston Planning & Development Agency


One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
tel: 617.722.4300
fax: 617.248.1937
© 2016 Boston Planning & Development Agency


This document was created in collaboration with Continuum,
a global innovation design consultancy based in Boston, MA.

This document was created in collaboration with Continuum,
a global innovation design consultancy based in Boston, MA.