McIntire Botanical Garden Rebrand


An example of the new logo on the side of a building
Example of possible signage application for new logo

Projected to open in late 2018, McIntire Botanical Garden aims to celebrate native Virginia flora and educate the public on conservation. Cvillians and tourists alike are invited to the garden to be refreshed, inspired, and engaged with nature’s beauty. But first, the Garden needed a new logo to anchor fundraising and promotions prior to opening day and beyond.

The old logo compared to the new logo
McIntire Botanical Garden Logo: Before and After the 2017 Redesign by The Ivy Group

Branching Out to a New Logo

The Garden’s original logo was composed of a vertical tree that is, quite literally, boxed in; a restrictive format that didn’t convey the spirit of flourishing plant life. With the Garden’s vision of organic life in an inviting setting, The Ivy Group’s first task was to set the flora free.

An earlier logo concept
In our first round of design, Senior Designer Stephen aimed for in-between “whimsical, folksy, friendly” and “elegant, high society, art museum”. He was inspired by former Charlottesvillian Georgia O’Keeffe.

Heading Down the Right Garden Path

While our first logo suggestion was beautiful, the uniqueness of the Garden’s vision lies within the specificity of their plants. After all, their tagline is “Celebrating Virginia’s Flora” and their goal is to have only native, non-invasive plants. Though there are many beautiful local gardens, none are entirely native—and the McIntire Botanical Garden team is very knowledgeable when it comes to flower identification. They decided to move forward with inspiration from a specific Virginian flower, the turtlehead.

“There are three species of Turtlehead native to Virginia. The Garden’s logo depicts Chelone glabra, which is found throughout the State. Turtlehead is so named because the flower looks like the head of a turtle. Its flowers are two-lipped in a tight cluster at the tip of the stem. The family it is placed in was formerly called Scrophulariaceae family but is now the Plantaginaceae family. Other members of this family include Snapdragons, Foxglove, and Speedwell. Turtlehead is an important food source for the endangered Baltimore Checkered Spot butterfly. The plant is a late summer bloomer and is native to stream corridors and wetlands making it conducive for cultivating in sections of the Garden.” (Source: “About Our Logo”)

The new logo compared to an image of the Virginian flower, the turtlehead

Landscaping the Logo

With so many Virginia native flowers and trees to draw inspiration from, it was tricky to choose one path to follow. A colorful, spirited plant that is native to Virginia, the turtlehead flower checked all the right boxes. The shape of the flowering buds mimics the unique rolling topography of the garden and conveys a sense of flourishing.

The color scheme, of course, includes green, perhaps the most on-the-nose choice for a garden, but it’s presented with a fresh gradient and as a backdrop to the eye-catching pinks and purples of the budding flower. The Garden plans to host classes and activities for adults and children alike, and the vivid colors paired with clean and sophisticated shapes will appeal to all ages.

The new logo on writing pens
The “write” branding for all applications

Meanwhile, the logo’s typeface is fresh and modern, balancing the bright and playful colors of the icon. It’s set in Brandon Grotesque, which will be legible on everything from a highway sign to a postcard. The word “botanical” can have uptight connotations, but when you see it like this, it’s hard not to get excited about the world of plants.

This new logo directly connects to the future Garden’s mission 'to cultivate a public garden that reflects the unique character of the Piedmont region' and is one more way we are 'Celebrating Virginia’s Flora'.

McIntire Botanical Garden


An image of the print graphic standards document

Supporting A Budding Brand

After establishing the turtlehead logo, we turned our attention to another area of expertise: branding. As any graphic designer will tell you, branding doesn’t stop at the logo. A branding best practice, we developed a guide detailing appropriate font, color, and application choices for future design work. Consistency is key to establish a solid brand and with guidelines in hand, the Garden is well equipped to move forward with signage, website updates, emails, social media, and other communications.

The new McIntire Botanical Garden logo on an apron
You can’t have a gorgeous garden without getting down ‘n’ dirty!

Blossoming into a Community Venue

Here at The Ivy Group, we can’t wait for the park to open. Imagine the inspiration—sitting and sketching, writing and brainstorming, taking in Virginia’s natural beauty. It’s sure to become one of our favorite spots in Charlottesville—after all, Ivy is right at home in a garden!

The new logo prompted a redesign of our website, social media, and this email newsletter. We are collaborating with the City of Charlottesville to have the new logo added to existing signage at the Garden property.

McIntire Botanical Garden