Cleveland, TN.


A University of Tennessee student design team lead by Professor Deborah Shmerler developed branding for Cleveland TN… I helped with concept development. 

The Smart Communities Initiative (SCI) is founded upon the idea that universities
and communities should work together to improve the health and vitality of their
areas. We believe that long-term economic viability, social integrity, and environmental
sustainability are not just interconnected but interdependent components, like spokes
to a wheel. The SCI strives to increase communities’ capacities to meet their needs and
capitalize on their unique resources and assets. We do it by partnering faculty and
over 400 students from across the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus with
a single SCI community for an entire year. SCI projects are linked with twenty to forty
upper-level undergraduate and graduate service-learning courses, engaging as partners with the community to take on difficult problems in thoughtful, research-driven ways. Faculty and students from SCI courses work through a variety of inquiry-based
approaches to examine problems, research best practices and existing needs and
assets, identify successful case studies, engage citizens and stakeholders, pitch

new ideas and strategic approaches, and propose comprehensive solutions for consideration by local governments and stakeholders.

Our role in the SCI was to rebrand the City of Cleveland. We wanted to change
the perception of Cleveland from a sleepy southern town to one of proud
revitalization. However, we knew this had to happen from the ground-up and
come from the citizens voices. This desire prompted 30 trips to Cleveland TN in
FA14 to talk with people of all ages and backgrounds including one-on-one
interviews with business owners, children, activists, parents, college students,
grassroots organization leaders, educators and city officials. In addition,
we developed a 41 question online survey, which resulted in 350 responses.
After this extensive quantitative and qualitative research we devised a Strategic
Brand Plan that matched the values, desires and beliefs of citizens. In SP15, the
goal was to take that Strategic Plan and use it to design a new visual identity
for the city. The identity needed to be flexible enough to facilitate ways to attract
businesses, promote tourism, and create a strong sense of pride for residents

and business owners.


Cleveland has many traditional, small-town elements that lend it character and many outdoor activities that make it a desirable location for outdtoor
enthusiasts. It is also expecting a tremendous amount of growth in the next 15
years and was looking to find a way of accepting its new role as a “big city”
without losing the features that make it unique.
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Creative Director:
Deborah Shmerler
Associate Professor, Graphic Design
The University of Tennessee / School of Art
College of Arts and Sciences


Creative Consultant:
Vickie Phipps / Assistant Professor of Art
Augustana College


Fall 2014
Graphic Design 451 (Senior Design)
451 Students:
Cory Bailey
Sam Bendriem
Morgan Fitzgerald
Courtney Gibson
Emily Hoffman
Haley Hudgins
Victoria Salvador
Bekah Bennett
Aimee Chico
Jordan Dronebarger
Madeline Lane
Allen Minecci
Vincent Walker
Michael McAdams
Rebecca Mullen
Kaitlyn Shaw
Sarah Smith
Grace Yarbro
Brayan Zavala
Spring 2015
Graphic Design 444 (Design Research)
444 Students:
Victoria Salvador
Bekah Bennett
Aimee Chico
Jordan Dronebarger
Madeline Lane
Allen Minecci
Vincent Walker