Choose Santa Cruz

Rethinking Economic Development

Documentary Storytelling, Brand Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Brand Identity, Messaging & Positioning, Market & Landscape Research, Icons & Illustrations, Content Creation, UI/UX Design, Full Stack Development, Technology Consulting
West Cliff Wharf Img 0030

We worked with our local Economic Development Office to create a new brand identity, website, and user experience designed to engage entrepreneurs and people considering living and working in Santa Cruz.

Our goal was to establish them as the go-to agency and information source for starting and growing businesses, organizations, and infrastructure projects in the city. Most importantly, we strived to create a site that people would revisit, instead of the typical, boring government site.

A New Identity

We wanted to create a completely new experience for interacting with the Economic Development Office, so we knew that we'd need to create a new name and brand identity. We landed on "Choose Santa Cruz" to show that living and working in Santa Cruz is a conscious choice. The logo crest represents Santa Cruz's unique environment between the redwoods and the sea.

A New Identity

Where Work & Culture Converge

Balancing services and functionality with reasons for visitors to return, we approached the website with a highly visual and editorial design direction. We focused on combining practical information with a more narrative and emotional angle to highlight the unique culture that defines Santa Cruz.

Where Work Culture Converge 2

Two Video Series

We produced and directed a 9-part video series paired with long-form articles to tell deeper stories. View the whole In-Depth series on the Choose Santa Cruz site. A second 5-part series, The Sit Down, features one-on-one conversations with iconic local business owners and the Choose Santa Cruz team, as they discuss the lively, supportive and inter-connected business community in Santa Cruz.

In Depth: Stripe Design Group

In Depth: Route 1 Farms

In Depth: Looker

A Resources Toolbox

A major goal of the site was to help make it easy for people to launch and grow businesses in Santa Cruz. We built a free online resources section complete with a comprehensive business roadmap, quick-start guides for specific business types, and free services to help people finance, staff, and improve their business. The Toolbox reinforces Choose Santa Cruz’s commitment to supporting a thriving community.

A Resources Toolbox
A Resources Toolbox 3

A Visual Language

Using Craft CMS and our style guide, the Choose Santa Cruz team can handle visual updates and consistently maintain and scale the site as their brand evolves and new stories are told.

A Visual Language

Santa Cruz on Display

Work & Culture define Santa Cruz. Working with the Choose Santa Cruz team, we shot 3,000+ photos across the entire city to populate the site and create an image library.

Dance Week 5D3 4682 Downtoen 5D3 3801 Caletti Cycles 5D3 4443 170322 085620 Chaminade 5D3 3979 Dream Inn Dscf0710 Farmers Market Dscf0505 Harvey West 5D3 3671 Seabright 5D3 3905 Swift St Food Dscf0818 West Cliff Wharf 5D3 4072 West Cliff Wharf Img 0127 West End Breweries Dscf0227

Cosmic is an invaluable partner - so much so that our collaboration has helped to redefine our industry through a brand and design that continues to drive business and build possibilities.

J. Guevera

Choose Santa Cruz