Small businesses struggle to attract customers who live outside their neighborhood and to make themselves known to newcomers in the neighborhood.
DC is one of the most transient cities in the world. With so many people coming and going, there’s untapped potential for small businesses to attract new customers. Unfortunately, tourists tend to stick to what they know, shopping and eating at big-name stores despite a wealth of locally-owned businesses within walking distance of hotels, air bnbs and vrbos.
When it comes to attracting local clientele, DC residents are typically loyal to their own neighborhoods. As such, when visiting nearby commercial corridors, DC neighbors may not know the full range of businesses at their disposal. And even within their own neighborhoods, often times locals only stick to the businesses they already know—missing out on a whole host of other small business options. With so many people moving in and out of neighborhoods in DC, it can also be challenging for businesses to make newcomers aware of their store’s existence. Adding to this uphill battle, online maps like Google and Apple Maps don’t accurately represent the true sprawl of small businesses across the District.
Create an eye-catching map and directory of small businesses on the Main Street that can be distributed to locals and tourists.
We worked closely with our clients to create a useable, beautiful map and directory of all the small businesses along the corridor.
In creating the design, we wanted to make it easy to decipher the type of business from a glance. Additionally, we sought to create something that people would want to keep, and that businesses wouldn’t mind placing in a visible area for easy access.
To capture the unique personality of each neighborhood, our graphic designer drew inspiration from local architecture, murals, monuments, and festivals.
In order to offset printing costs, the Main Streets sought sponsorships from franchises and corporations that would like to be included on the directory. Sponsorships were also offered to small businesses, with a special marker on the map denoting their sponsorship status.
A pocket-sized, illustrated directory of small businesses and notable landmarks along the Main Street, distributed to area businesses, hotels, and apartment buildings.
The Main Street Small Business Directory is printed on 11×17” paper, which folds down to a pocket-sized booklet. When opened completely, the full map is on view, with the directory printed in a way that allows one to close a panel to view the businesses opposite it. Businesses are separated into distinct, color-coded categories, which allows for optimal useability. The directory also has its own distinct style, designed to reflect the unique personality of each neighborhood. A blurb about the map and the work of the Main Street organization, as well as sponsor logos occupy the back of the map.
With notable landmarks on full display as the focal artwork on the map itself, the directory can easily be turned into a piece of wall art when opened to its full spread. When folded up, the directory displays equally noteworthy cover artwork.
The map and directory artwork can also be easily adapted for other purposes, such as bus shelter displays, wayfinding signs, and large-format posters.
The maps have been distributed across the District to hotels and local businesses, and are handed out to attendees at community events. Additionally, the maps are often requested by events and conferences taking place near a Main Street so that they can make it easy for their attendees to explore the local area.