MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL | MICHELLE CORBET
The name and branding for the longest public pedestrian bridge spanning the Mississippi River uses iconography as a universal language to reach locals andtourists alike.
Memphis-based advertising and communications agency DCA launched a new website, YouTube channel, Facebook and branding Thursday, July 14, for Big River Crossing, a one-mile pedestrian bridge alongside the Harahan Bridge connecting Downtown Memphis to West Memphis.
The latest tourism asset is depicted with images of walking, running and biking and an X reminiscent of a railroad crossing sign.
The railroad sign crossing reference pays homage to the bridge’s main function as a train crossing for Union Pacific.
The branding for Big River Crossing is part of a larger package that also includes branding for Big River Trail and Delta Regional River Park.
The logos continue the diamond shape created in the negative space of a railroad crossing sign.
“Part of our mindset to include the river park and trails was trying to add a compliment to the ever-growing geotourism assets of Memphis — the Wolf River Greenway, Shelby Farms Park, the Greenline — it will be quite a draw for not only our traditional tourists but a whole new audience,” said Doug Carpenter, DCA principal.
Catering to a draw of both national and international visitors, DCA needed to communicate in a universal language, so it utilized government-inspired symbols for rivers, parks and activities.
“Using iconography, it is very clear as to what [the assets are], and the branding can be used and appreciated for a very long time,” Carpenter said.
The different shades of blue — a great welcoming color to all, Carpenter says — represent the water of the mighty Mississippi.
The branding reveal was launched on a website that documents the Harahan Bridge’s journey from its beginnings as a railroad bridge in 1916 to its future as a multimodal connector.
“[The history] gives context from a local perspective of how tremendously influential the Frisco [Bridge] and Harahan were and the evolution to multiple rails and car traffic,” Carpenter said. “If people understand that context locally, they have a better understanding of who we are as Memphians and, from a tourist’s perspective, the critically important ways to cross the Mississippi and its tremendous impact on Memphis' culture and identity as a logistics hub.”
A public-private partnership between the City of Memphis and the Big River Strategic Initiative, a group involved in project management, fundraising and working with key public and private stakeholders along the river, will enhance the Harahan’s place as a front door to the city, when it accentuates the bridge with colored LED lights this fall. New LED lights are also planned for the Hernando de Soto Bridge.
“It really will illuminate what I believe is one of our greatest and most under-appreciated assets — the Mississippi River,” Carpenter said.