published Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Vibrant banners help rebrand downtown

by Cliff Hightower
New banners have been installed throughout six downtown districts with illustrations specific to each area.
New banners have been installed throughout six downtown districts with illustrations specific to each area.
Photo by Dan Henry.


$120,000: Money spent on new banners and wayfinding signs

400: Approximate number of banners across the city

6: Number of districts designated within downtown Chattanooga

Source: River City Co.

Colorful new banners are now hanging across downtown Chattanooga.

Banners in the North Shore carry pictures of Coolidge Park, the “Blue Rhino” sculpture and Walnut Street Bridge. Banners on M.L. King Boulevard have pictures of Bessie Smith and buildings on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Each banner represents a distinct downtown district.

“Our downtown area has organically grown into these districts,” said Tiffanie Robinson, director of creative strategies at River City Co.

The downtown development organization launched a campaign to replace older banners across Chattanooga that were placed there two years ago for the “Chattanooga Happens Downtown” campaign. The new campaign put in the new banners and also wayfinding signs to help visitors find their way across Chattanooga.

But another thing happened.

River City decided to highlight six city downtown districts. The districts are UTC, City Center, Bluff View, North Shore, Southside and the Riverfront.

“We consider all these districts downtown,” Robinson said.

She said there were two aspects of the campaign: education and branding. The new banners will allow visitors to know different parts of the city, and it helps instill an amount of community pride for those who live in the districts.

Karen Estes, a graphic designer for the Tennessee Aquarium, designed the banners for River City Co. on a freelance basis.

She said the illustrations were based upon an earlier campaign she did for wraparounds on Chattanooga Area Regional Transit Authority buses.

The idea was to look for things iconic within those neighborhoods and use them, she said.

“I tried to incorporate things from the community,” she said.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfree or 423-757-6480. Follow him at or

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