Washington County Brand Lookbook

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It all happens here.

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Introduction 7 8 10


Building the Washington County Brand 14 16 18 21 56


Brand Themes Brand Elements The Washington County Logo Community Logos Fonts Brand Usage Guide

brand application 92 110 116


Public Input Overview Brand Position Statement Existing Brand Analysis Differentiation Target Markets

Design 60 66 72 76 80 81


The Community Branding Process What is Community Branding and Why Does it Matter? Successful Community Branding: What It Takes

Washington County Brand Application Community Brand Application WACO Life Marketing Campaign

brand launch recommendations 128 129

Brand Approval Form Contacts, Terms, and Conditions

Credits The Washington County Steering Committee, which included residents from all eight Washington County communities: Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Riddleville, Sandersville, Tennille, and Warthen. • Conni Fennell-Burley, Archway Partnership Professional of Washington County, co-chair • Jayson Johnston, Executive Director, Development Authority of Washington County, co-chair

focus groups, interviews, and conversations • Young Professionals • Women Entrepreneurs • Tennille Residents • Harrison Residents • Oconee Residents • Davisboro Residents • Riddleville Residents • Deepstep Residents • Warthen Residents • Sandersville Residents • Members of the City Council and County Commission • Staff at the Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority • The Sandersville Georgian Staff Members • Washington EMC Staff Members • Community and Faith-Based Group • Local Educators • High School Students at Washington County High School and Brentwood School • Senior Citizens Group

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia Kaitlin McShea Messich, Project Lead and Designer Allison Cape, Graphic Designer Elizabeth Solomon, Graduate Research Assistant Karen DeVivo, Editor Shannah Montgomery, Public Relations Coordinator – Visual Communications Office of the Vice President for Public Service


thank you Special thanks to all of the citizens of Washington County who gave their input throughout this branding process. We hope the Washington County brand reflects your history, culture, and vision and helps to tell your wonderful story.

The historic depot in Warthen, Georgia 5




very community is unique and has a story to tell. Having a brand that accurately represents your competitive strengths can impact everything — from community pride to marketing and promotion to economic development. The University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, along with the Archway Partnership, offered community branding services to Washington County to create a unified brand identity, and a supportive graphics package representing all of the communities within Washington County: Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Riddleville, Sandersville, Tennille, and Warthen. In an effort to better position Washington County in a competitive environment, stakeholders desired a brand that could help attract new residents, industry, and visitors while promoting all that Washington County has to offer.


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Community branding is a three-phase process typically completed within a year. The process is community-driven and is designed to capture the authentic voice of the people and develop buy-in, a crucial step in creating a successful brand.

From August 2019 to August 2020, Institute of Government faculty and staff worked closely with Washington County Archway Professional Conni Fennell-Burley; Jayson Johnston, executive director of the Development Authority of Washington County; and the Washington County Branding Steering Committee. The steering committee was made up of residents from each of the eight Washington County communities, ensuring that the new brand truly represents the county as a whole. Community branding involves three phases:

Phase One: Public Input and Analysis Phase One focuses on collecting public input and analysis, and typically takes three to five community visits. This phase includes the following: • Creation of a branding steering committee • Public input meetings, including focus groups and one-on-one interviews • Online survey • Analysis of existing brand and marketing materials • Community immersion tour

• ESRI community Tapestry study • Analysis of competition • Asset identification • Differentiation • Creation of branding statement • Selection of brand direction

Phase Two: Design Phase Two involves brand development. Institute of Government faculty and staff take the information gathered from Phase One and present design options. This phase typically includes two visits to the community. Phase Two includes the following: • Development of several initial logo and tagline concepts • Presentation of design concepts to the steering committee • Refinement: steering committee chooses one design to become community brand • Finalized designs approved by the steering committee

Phase Three: Brand Launch Phase Three requires one final visit to the community, during which the finalized brand is revealed. The community will receive a Community Brand “Lookbook” that will include the following: • Analysis and summary of findings • Brand Usage Guide • Brand application • Community brand launch recommendations • Complete package of digital files with full rights • One round of free editing of the “Washington County Brand Lookbook” • 200 printed booklets




Community Branding and why does it matter?


hat is community branding? It is the embodiment of everything about a community. It is a promise about who a community is, what to expect when visiting, and the key features associated with a community’s story. It is reputation and what a community wants to become. It is a strategic way of positioning a community to attract the best and brightest, retirees, new businesses, industry, and millennials. It is a way of differentiating from others in a competitive market and showcasing what makes a community unique. In a competitive economy, many communities are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain the people and businesses that will help create and maintain a sustainable economy. Add these challenges to geography, and rural communities seem to have the cards stacked against them. Community branding is one piece of the puzzle in bolstering economic development and instilling community pride. Perhaps a community carries some unfavorable stereotypes. Community branding can help shed negative perceptions and mold a more positive image for locals and visitors alike. Different from marketing, community branding is figuring out who a community is— uncovering unique assets, history, and culture—and then packaging that in a way that is appealing to desired audiences. It is more complex than merely creating a logo and tagline, albeit important elements to a strong brand; the process of community branding will help communities better position themselves locally, regionally, and beyond for the future.


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Successful Community Branding:


what it takes

It takes a village.

The challenge in community branding is creating a brand that works for and is embraced by the whole community, not just a select few. As with any community-wide effort, people have many different ideas, interests, agendas, and visions for what the future looks like. To be successful, the branding process must pull in numerous community voices. A community brand must be created by listening to the people, and maintaining that brand requires strong collaboration between government, businesses, civil society, and target markets.

It takes brand champions.

Most importantly, a community brand must be designed for the existing residents. That is why the process must be led by local residents, called brand champions. For Washington County, brand champions can be anyone: a city council member, a downtown business owner, a church member, a high school student, a grandmother … the list goes on. Anyone can be someone who supports and promotes the brand.

It takes authenticity.

In addition to finding brand champions to lead the process, the brand must represent how people actually feel about a community in a genuine way. It should reflect why a community is different and capture its unique sense of place.

It takes strategy.

A logo and tagline alone cannot do much. But when a branding strategy is paired with other efforts such as economic development, tourism, events, and symbolic actions, it becomes a powerful tool. A branding strategy not only requires thinking through the visual identity of the brand, but also the dissemination of infrastructure put in place to ensure success in brand adoption.

It takes time.

Rolling out a new community brand is not easy and takes time. For a new brand to “stick," Institute of Government branding specialists recommend a yearlong active promotion strategy once the project is completed. This could include providing local businesses and leadership organizations with logo files, promoting the visual identity across social media platforms, or simply talking to a neighbor about supporting the brand.


building the washington county brand

about Washington County, Georgia


ashington County is located in the heart of Georgia, tucked under the Fall Line next to the Oconee River. The county was established on February 25, 1784, and was at that time the largest county in the state. Since its establishment, 10 other counties have been carved from its original size, leaving 684 square miles to make it currently one of the largest counties in Georgia. Like many other counties in the United States named in honor of George Washington (31 to be exact), Washington County prides itself on being the very first county in the nation named for the Founding Father, preceding even his presidency. (Washington County was named for General George Washington, before he became the nation’s first president.) There are eight communities within Washington County, all of which have participated in this branding process: Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Sandersville, Tennille, Riddleville, and Warthen. Despite its interesting history, Washington County is not stuck in the past. The Washington County brand initiative aims to pull together the county’s storied history with the exciting things happening now to help achieve the goals of the future.

Washington County Brand Goals • Increase Recognition Throughout the Region and Statewide • Showcase Washington County’s Unique Assets • Increase Community Pride • Attract Future Investment When asked what they wanted to accomplish through branding, Washington County residents stated that their top concern is improving the way the county tells its own story through strategic messaging. The majority of participants conveyed that Washington County has so much to offer but that the many positive characteristics and qualities are largely unknown to those outside of the county. Residents want to increase outside recognition of Washington County, showcase its unique qualities, and highlight all of the wonderful things that exist here, such as its close-knit sense of community and family-friendly lifestyle. Residents particularly want to promote activities and things to do; highlight historical sites and educate both residents and visitors about all of the interesting things that have happened in Washington County; attract investment, new businesses, and families; and promote outdoor recreation. Creating a unified identity among the eight communities within the county, while also maintaining each place’s unique characteristics, is a main goal of this branding process. Finally, enhancing community pride through highlighting the county’s assets is also an important goal.



building the washington county brand

public input “The Washington County brand should belong to the people of Washington County.” Washington County resident and focus group attendee


Hearing from the people who live in Washington County was the most important factor in creating a new community brand. The steering committee was co-chaired by Archway Professional Conni Fennel-Burley and Jayson Johnston, the Executive Director of the Washington County Development Authority. Institute of Government faculty and staff began public input meetings in September 2019. Over the course of three months, the Institute of Government team met with 176 Washington County residents from all eight communities within the county, including 17 focus groups. The Institute of Government team also participated in a county-wide community immersion tour, during which they visited each of the eight communities, local businesses, restaurants, and destinations and identified community assets. Finally, an online survey was available to the public for a month to catch input from those unable to attend the focus groups and interviews, and 106 survey responses were recorded.

washington county public input

Ųy the numŲeƉs 176

Individuals interviewed

16 focus groups


online survey responses


number of miles our team drove around the county

7 UGA team members 15

building the Washington county brand

brand position statement


nstitute of Government faculty and staff worked closely with the Washington County Steering Committee to create a concise brand position statement that captures the character and personality of the community. The brand position statement is important because it creates a unique impression about what Washington County has to offer, how this place is special and unique, and what visitors might expect to find. The brand position statement is also a powerful tool to help guide future marketing efforts. The Washington County brand position statement is as follows:

There’s a certain mysterious quality about a place that draws you in and keeps you — a place where the past is honored and the future is welcomed with great anticipation. A place where unity and “love for thy neighbor” still exist despite all the odds. It can’t be summed up to any one thing, but instead exists in a patchwork of small details, creating a feeling of belonging as big as the hearts of its people. It happens in Sandersville among the shadows of Spanish moss dancing over Old City Cemetery. It happens in the “white gold” found in the kaolin mines. It happens under the Friday night lights on the football field. It happens when neighbors come together to help a friend in need. It happens in the pews on Sunday morning. It happens every year at the Kaolin Festival, at the Davisboro fireworks show, and in the secret sauce at the Barbeque Blast. It happens over a Dairylane dipped cone on a sweltering summer day. It happens when you hear the train coming in Tennille. It happens in family roots that run generations deep in Deepstep. It happens in the whispering pines of Riddleville, and in the beauty and simplicity of days gone by in Harrison. It happens in the stories passed down about Oconee residents helping a poor farmer save his pig during the hardest of times. It happens when someone simply takes the time to say hello in Warthen. It happens when newcomers instantly feel at home and find themselves with more reasons to stay than go. With a diverse and overlapping history, culture, and local identity, the eight communities that make up this special place come together to chart a new, united direction for the future of the community.


it all happens heƉe in Washington County.

brand promise

Also known as a tagline, the brand promise tells residents and visitors what they should expect from Washington County. The brand promise can be enhanced by combining it with your logo. After agreeing upon the brand position statement, the steering committee selected a tagline from a list compiled from public input responses. The official tagline, “It All Happens Here” was chosen because of its versatility across a variety of brand applications. “It All Happens Here” is a positive, inclusive statement and piques the interest of the reader who might wonder what exactly happens here or what happened here. The answer to those questions is a lot has happened in Washington County and continues to happen—this is why the tagline is written in present tense; history is still being written here, and this community is always looking to the future while honoring its rich past.


building the washington county brand

existing brand analysis

The previous Washington County logo was created in 2009 and has been used since on a variety of signage, websites, and merchandise. The University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership played a key role in the development of this logo and the tagline “Connecting History, Industry, and Family.” Recently, Washington County residents felt that it was time to take another look at their branding efforts and see if they could create something that could better capture the county’s unique sense of place and identity, while also helping to attract new residents and businesses. Residents also desired a unified brand identity and messaging that the entire county could use and support, helping to unify the eight distinct Washington County communities while keeping their own special qualities evident in the brand. Above all, Washington County residents desired a cohesive and concise way to tell their story that unified the large, diverse county.


The former Washington County logo was created with the help of the Archway Partnership in 2009. Members of the steering committee could not recall the meaning of the four colors and shapes, and felt that this branding process would be an opportunity to create a new visual identity for the county that more closely represents the people and sense of place.

surrounding brands As part of the research and analysis, Institute of Government team members looked at surrounding county and city brands in Georgia, including Augusta, Greensboro, Louisville, Macon, Milledgeville, Sparta, Warren County, Wilkinson County, and Wrens. Most have the typical “governmental look” with the use of formal seals and green and blue coloration. Some are simply just fonts, not necessarily designed logos. Washington County’s new brand identity should stand out among its competition (we use “competition” in the friendliest of terms!) both visually and symbolically, while representing the unique sense of place that is found here.


building the washington county brand

ESRI community tapestry study ESRI Tapestry segmentation provides an accurate, detailed description of America's neighborhoods. US residential areas are divided into 67 distinct segments based on their socioeconomic and demographic composition. The system then further classifies the segments into LifeMode and Urbanization Groups. ESRI Tapestry helps give insight into customers' lifestyle choices, what they buy, and how they spend their free time. Tapestry helps identify the best customers, optimal sites, and underserved markets (www.esri.com). The three Tapestry segments most prominent in Washington County are identified as “Rooted Rural,” “Diners & Miners,” and “Rural Bypasses.” According to national data, these groups typically have the following characteristics: • Strong religious faith, tradition, and family history • Do-it-yourself mentality • Enjoys time spent outdoors • Prefer American-made and generic products • Many are employed in agriculture, forestry, mining, construction, and manufacturing • Thrifty shoppers and budget-minded • Pets are popular • Take pride in the appearance of homes

• Enjoy home cooking • Gregarious group that values time spent with friends • Families have strong roots in their communities and don’t move often • Happy to go to work • Much of the community has open space and farmland or small towns • Enjoys the open air and back roads • Many drive trucks or SUVs

20A Washington County High School class float at the 2019 Kaolin Parade.

differentiation Differentiation is the positioning of a brand against others in a meaningful way that matters to residents, visitors, and businesses. This brand initiative called for both countywide differentiation—or how Washington County stands out among the surrounding region and beyond—as tion well as community-focused differentiation, differentiation or how each of the eight Washington County communities stand out. The items and characteristics listed below show the special and unique things Washington County has to offer.

Top 12 Responses to the Public Input Question,

“What Makes Washington County Unique?” 1. Kaolin 2. Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources 3. Location and Rural Lifestyle 4. Sense of Community 5. History and Tradition 6. Storytelling 7. Education 8. Faith-Based Community and Outreach 9. The Arts 10. Diversity and Culture 11. Friendliness 12. Notable People


building the washington county brand



aolin is a chalky, white mineral that comes from the ground, and Washington County has plenty of it. Known as the “Kaolin Capital of the World,” Washington County boasts the best-quality kaolin on the planet. One of Georgia’s most profitable exports, kaolin is a white, alumina-silicate clay used in hundreds of products ranging from paper to cosmetics to the nose cones of rockets. Washington County’s geographical location is responsible for large kaolin deposits here. North of the Fall Line, the rivers are narrow and contained by rock; to the south, the rivers are wider, causing a larger flood plain. This fortuitous geography allowed kaolin to form from the outcrops of granite. Often described as “white gold,” kaolin is used in a variety of common items, including the following: • Medicines • To treat an upset stomach • To treat a bug bite • Applied to wounds to stop bleeding • Applied to dry skin to soften and heal • Food additive

• Paper • Cosmetics • Paints and coatings • Plastics • Concrete • Porcelain and fine china

Physiographic Map of Georgia Source: William Z. Clark, Jr. and Arnold C. Zisa, Physiographic Map of Georgia (Atlanta: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 1976).


outdoor recreation and natural resources


ashington County is full of scenic backroads, outdoor recreation opportunities, and natural resources, making the county a destination for locals and even those from out of state. Kids here grow up in the great outdoors, and with so much to choose from, they never get bored. Favorite pastimes include: • Hunting (turkey, hog, quail, deer, and rabbit) • Fishing (largemouth bass, crappie, and bream) • Wildlife watching (turtles, alligators, raccoons, deer, birds, and more) • Hamburg State Park, which offers rentals, a boat ramp, and hiking trails • Youth Sports through the Washington County Recreation Department • Kaolin Park, which offers playgrounds, outdoor tennis courts, and athletic fields • Depot Disc Golf Course in Sandersville, a stand-alone course featuring a good mix of open and wooded holes on diverse rolling terrain • Riding 4-wheelers on dirt roads • Beautiful rural scenery throughout the county

Hamburg State Park


building the washington county brand

Location and Rural Lifestyle


ashington County is ideally located in the “Middle of Everything” as one resident put it, with access to several state highways and nearby Interstate 20. The county is situated in east central Georgia at the intersection of Highway 15 and the Fall Line Freeway, halfway between Atlanta and Savannah and halfway between Macon and Augusta. Washington County residents are living the best of both worlds, being situated in an idyllic rural setting with easy access to the hustle and bustle if one so desires. With a median home price of $62,000—98.6% below Atlanta’s median home price, 49.9% below Macon’s median price, and 63.1% below Milledgeville’s median home price—Washington County residents get more for their hard earned money. The rural lifestyle comes with all of the nostalgic perks of many city-dwellers’ childhoods, including homegrown family dinners, children playing outside without the limitations of organized and fenced-in play, neighbors who check up on each other, and the freedom of seeing a distant tree line instead of a city skyline.


Highway 15, Tennille

Sense of Community


he strong sense of community in Washington County is unsurpassed. This large, diverse county is surprisingly tightknit, caring, and generous. Residents welcome newcomers immediately, making them feel at home. “They take you in and keep you,” said a new resident who had just moved to Washington County. Washington County people are easy to meet. Another resident boasted of the county’s natural social nature saying, “There is a club for everybody.” Some of these attributes can be credited to the general culture of the South, where friendliness and manners are a must. Washington County mothers talked about the “Mutual Spanking Rule,” a lighthearted and somewhat exaggerated name for a mutual understanding of making sure each other’s children behave. But Washington County takes it a step further, they get to know you on a personal level—they know when you’re sick, and they know your favorite casserole. And you can bet it will be waiting for you in the refrigerator after a death in the family or hospital stay. People here take care of each other, and you can’t find that just anywhere.

The Annual Kaolin Festival, 2019


building the washington county brand


history and tradition

ashington County residents know their history. With many who can trace their genealogical ancestry to our country’s founding (and many to even before), Washington County has a rich history and a tradition of honoring one’s past. The county also has a rich African American history that predates the founding of our nation, with the first Georgia slaves arriving in Washington County in the 1600s. Many traditions have been passed down, such as Southern cooking, manners, and the art of conversation. This tradition of personal connections may even have saved the community once or twice, or so it is told, that even General Sherman did not have the heart to burn the homes of Sandersville residents (only the courthouse and jail) because of the personal connections he made with the people in Washington County. The following are some of the county’s other local traditions: • The local newspaper, The Sandersville Georgian, dates back to 1945. • The Georgia Historical Plates have been sold by the Transylvania Club since 1932, when Louise Irwin conceived and executed the plates’ elegant design to celebrate Georgia’s bicentennial. The Georgia Plates, as they are more commonly known, have been a traditional gift on Georgia bridal registries for many years. • Each year on prom night, high school students meet in the parking lot of Kaolin Plaza to take photos with their dates and parents. • Sneaking off to the “train trestle spot” in Oconee is almost a rite of passage in Washington County. • The Kaolin Festival parade is unlike other small-town parades. It includes class reunions each year, bringing many classmates back home for the event. • Meeting up at the Dairylane after home football games has been a tradition since its opening in the 1950s. • Venturing to an unspecified scenic overlook where one can (not so lawfully) view the moon over the blue kaolin pools seems to be a hush-hush tradition of the county. • Washington County is one of seven Georgia counties located along Traditions Highway, or Highway 15. Highway 15 is a 346-mile-long state highway that travels south-to-north across the entire length of Georgia, east of its centerline. Highway 15 was named Traditions Highway because of the rich history and traditions surrounding the places along its route, with a wealth of Georgia history and interesting destinations.


City Cemetery, Sandersville



ho doesn’t love a good story? Washington County is full of them, and some have been told for so many years that they get even more entertaining with time. Oral history is an important tradition that connects a place with its people. Stories can also help build a brand, attract tourists, and engage current residents. They can be incorporated into educational signage, marketing campaigns, and merchandise. But most of all, retelling a community’s stories helps keep them alive. Here are some of the stories the Institute of Government team heard throughout the public input: • During the Great Depression, a group of neighbors banded together to help a farmer rescue his pig from a collapsed dry well near Oconee. A six-foot monument was placed there to remember this glimpse into Americana and the enduring community spirit amid one of the most trying national hardships. • “Someone called 911 once to report a gorilla jumping over a fence in Sandersville.” • “In the 1980s, three local teenage boys decided to give viewers in the movie theater a scare by cranking up their chainsaws during a viewing of the 1986 Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.” They meant no real harm, of course. • “The Powers of Buffalo Creek” describe an area in Oconee where several notable people grew up. “There must be something in the water.” • To keep trespassers out of a hidden liquor still in the woods, a local property owner opted to scare them away by creating Big Foot tracks in the mud, complete with twisted saplings and knockedover branches. Unfortunately, this created quite the attraction instead, as onlookers tried to catch a glimpse of the legendary beast. • Some staff members at the Old City Jail Museum in Sandersville say they’ve had experiences with a ghost called Essie. Essie died at 16 in 1905 from injuries suffered when her dress caught fire as she sat near her fireplace and then fell down the stairs. She has attracted ghost hunters from afar. • When the Potato House in Riddleville burned down, the wind carried the smell of sweet potato casserole for miles.

The Pig Monument, Oconee 27

building the washington county brand



hoice is the hallmark of the Washington County educational experience. Families enjoy excellent choices in public and private systems, while college- and career-ready graduates leave school with the skills to choose their own path to success, and with world-class options in higher education right at home or within an easy hour’s drive. The Washington County School System has the well-known motto of Rise Up! because of its great strides in academic achievement countywide recently. The district and all schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Accrediting Commission. Washington County High School has advanced to a higher level of performance, as one of three high schools in Georgia named an “Exemplary School," offering advanced placement courses, honors-level college preparatory courses, and joint enrollment in two local colleges. Washington County Schools are composed of four separate schools: Ridge Road Primary School, Pre-K–2; Ridge Road Elementary School, 3–5; Thomas Jefferson Elder Middle School, 6–8; and Washington County High School, 9–12. In addition to Washington County Schools, Brentwood School offers another educational option. Brentwood is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory day school located in Sandersville, Georgia. It includes a pre-school (early PK, PK, and K5), a lower school (grades 1—6 ), and an upper school (grades 7—12). The school offers a rigorous college preparatory program, athletics, and fine arts program and 100% of its graduates attend post secondary education institutions.


Faith-Based Community and Outreach

“Faith is still Number One here.” - Washington County resident


ith over 120 churches in Washington County spanning more than a dozen denominations, Sunday mornings are filled with the sounds of church bells and fellowship. The power of prayer is evident here when people gather to help a sick friend and say grace before a meal. There is no question that faith-based organizations in Washington County have a large impact on their communities and that their philanthropic outreach is strong. There are a variety of new churches to choose from, giving Washington County another marketable asset to attract new residents. In addition to churches, Washington County boasts many philanthropic outreach organizations, reflecting the caring nature of its people. Some of these organizations are: • • • •

Boys and Girls Club of Washington County East Central Georgia Consortium Family Connection First Love Kids

Tennille Baptist Church • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Head Start Joe Giddens Youth Mission, Inc. Kaolin Civitan Club Oconee Area Citizen Advocacy, Inc. Overview, Inc. Pilot Club Relay for Life Safe Haven Sandersville Lions Club Sandersville Rotary Club Sandersville School Building Authority The Christian Life Center The Guild, Inc. The Sunshine House The Transylvania Club, Inc. Washington County 4-H Club Washington County Elderite Association Washington County Historical Society Washington County NB & PW Club, Inc. Young Professionals of Washington County


building the washington county brand


the arts

ashington County residents are supportive of the arts. The Chamber of Commerce building is continually decorated by the works of local artists, serving as a gallery space for all types of art including stained glass, drawings, paintings, and photography. The county boasts many arts-centered organizations: • Fall Line Artist Guild is a nonprofit organization working to promote the visual arts in Washington County and surrounding counties. • The Sandersville Music Club and the Washington County Concert Association promote and celebrate music in Sandersville and the surrounding communities. • The Tennille Fine Arts Club has served the Tennille arts community for over 100 years. • The Washington County Alliance for Literacy promotes the pursuit of reading and writing in the county. • Spilled Ink is a local literary magazine that was developed with the idea that every home in the community should have at least one book. Spilled Ink includes student writings and artwork from grades K—12. Once it is published, an Author’s Tea is held in May to recognize all contributing students and their accomplishments. • Washington County Schools instills a love for the arts at a young age, with a comprehensive fine arts program, including dance instruction, violin and guitar lessons, and an excellent theater program.


Paintings on display at the Fall Line Artist Guild's rotating monthly display at the Chamber of Commerce

diversity and culture


ashington County has a diverse culture, with over 53% of people being African American and approximately 44% being White. A number of residents also come from outside the United States, many attracted to the kaolin industry. Southern culture is strong here, with friendly people who take the time to check in on each other and say hello. Unlike other small Southern communities, Washington County is unique in its unity—between people of all backgrounds, between schools, between churches, and between the city and county governments.

Washington County residents watch the 2019 Kaolin Parade in downtown Sandersville



o say that Washington County is a friendly place is an understatement, as one can barely walk out the door without a warm greeting from a neighbor passing by. The Southern tradition of grace, hospitality, and friendliness is alive and well here, yet Washington County does not close itself off from newcomers, as many Southern communities sometimes do.


notable people The people in Washington County are certainly some of the most caring and community-minded people one could find. Building a community brand is all about telling the unique story of a place, and the people are what makes that story compelling, entertaining, and special. Here are just some of many of the notable individuals who have helped to write Washington County’s story.


Governors of Georgia: Three Georgia governors came from Washington County, including Jared Irwin (1750—1818), a Revolutionary War soldier who served twice as elected governor; Thomas Hardwick (1872—1944), a United States senator and congressman; and Nathan Deal (1942— ) an attorney who grew up on a farm in Sandersville. He served as governor of Georgia from 2011 to 2019. Dr. William Rawlings, Sr. (1918— 2004) was a native of Sandersville who practiced surgery for almost 50 years. Dr. Rawlings was a part of a long medical tradition in Sandersville. His great grandfather was a Scottish physician who settled in Washington County in the late 1700s. His uncle, world-famous surgeon William Rawlings, founded the “Rawlings Sanitarium" in 1893; that hospital eventually became Washington County Regional Medical Center. He served in the Army as a captain in the Medical Corps., spending much of World War II on hospital ships caring for wounded American troops being transported home from the front lines in Europe and the Pacific. Returning to practice at Rawlings Sanitarium after the war, Dr. Rawlings became known and loved throughout Central Georgia for his surgical skills and especially for his warm bedside manner. Dr. Rawlings was instrumental in the creation of the 750-acre Hamburg State Park in northern Washington County, one of the most scenic parks in Georgia.

Football Legends: Brandon Watts (Minnesota Vikings), Josh Gordy from (Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts), Takeo Spikes (Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers), Terrence Edwards (Atlanta Falcons), Robert Lee Edwards III (New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins), Randy Watts (Dallas Cowboys), and Terry Jones (Green Bay Packers). Dr. Lewis Marcus West, Sr. (1923— 2015) was a pharmacist and the owner of West Drug Store in Sandersville, which was started by his father in 1918 and is still in business today. West Drug recently celebrated its 100th year of business and is the longest standing business in Washington County. Diane Lane (1965— ) is an Academy Award winning actress who lived in Sandersville for a short time during her youth. Elijah Muhammad (1897—1975) was born Elijah Robert Poole in Sandersville, the seventh of 13 children of William Poole, Sr., a Baptist preacher and sharecropper, and Mariah Hall, a homemaker and sharecropper. Muhammad was a religious leader who led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975. He was a mentor to Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, and Muhammad Ali, as well as his own son, Warith Deen Mohammed.


building the washington county brand

notable people continued Pvt. Willie Lee Duckworth, Sr. (1924— 2004) forever changed Army marching drills when he created what is now known as the “Sound Off,” also known as the Duckworth Chant in 1944. Sound Off Cadence:

John McHenry Boatwright (1928—1994) was a famous operatic bass-baritone and singing teacher who was born in Tennille and recently had a street named after him in Tennille.

Ain’t no use in goin’ home Jody’s got your gal and gone Ain’t no use in feelin’ blue Jody’s got your sister too Sound off One-two Sound off Three-four.

Pastor Annie Ruth Gilbert (1939—2016), an African American woman, was first female minister in Washington County, paving the way for other women to follow in her path of religious leadership.

Lewis Cohen (1849-1937) was born in Germany in 1849 and came to America at the age of three. He moved to Tennille in 1877 and later moved to Sandersville, where he became one of Washington County’s most aggressive business leaders. Mike Rogers is a baritone singer and member of the award-winning Southern gospel group “Brian Free and Assurance.” Rogers is a Sandersville native. Marvin Lane (1950— ) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder who played with the Detroit Tigers. He was born in Sandersville. Richard Turner (1928—2007) was a Sandersville native, Civil Rights leader, and founder of the Second Community Baptist Church, where, along with worship services, Civil Rights meetings were held during a time when they were not allowed in other local churches. He risked his life on several occasions to advance the cause of civil liberties.


Charles E. Choate (1865—1929) was a minister and architect who worked in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, and lived in Tennille for 10 years. He designed several of Washington County’s historic buildings, churches, and houses. He also designed Tennille’s iconic water tower, a local landmark. Elaine Burge is an artist and entrepreneur based out of Riddleville, who specializes in fine art, jewelry, plate ware, and live event painting. Burge’s portfolio also includes murals and scenic backdrops. Professor Thomas Jefferson Elder (1869— 1946), founder of the Sandersville High School and Industrial School, was a community leader who paved the way for higher educational opportunities for African Americans in Washington County as well as neighboring rural areas. Professor Elder was buried on the grounds of the high school, which is now the site of the Thomas Jefferson Elder Community Center. The community center hosts an archive and exhibition of local African American history and artifacts.


community differentiation

o take differentiation a step further, the Institute of Government team asked Washington County residents to tell us something unique about the community that they most identify with. For some, this was the community in which they grew up, while for others it was the community in which they have lived longest. Residents determined which unique characteristics, local destinations, or community events were added to the list. The results follow, in order of each community’s founding date.


Deepstep Sandersville Tennille

Davisboro Riddleville

oconee Harrison

Łashingƒon Countȉ 35


warthen est. 1754



arthen was the first settlement established in Washington County and was founded to be the site of the superior courts and the jail for the county, until the seat was transferred to Sandersville in 1794. Needless to say, Warthen, and many of its buildings, have been here a long time. In fact, the entire village of Warthen, including the old jail, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Places to See Georgia’s Oldest Jail: The oldest wooden jail in Georgia is located in Warthen and is probably the unincorporated community’s most recognizable landmark. Built in 1786 of rough hand-hewn logs from local timber, this historical structure has withstood the test of time. In 1804, the jail held Aaron Burr, third vice president of the United States, while on his journey to Richmond for trial for treason. Located today on private property, this structure is nonetheless accessible and widely visited. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. www.exploregeorgia.org/warthen/general/ historic-sites-trails-tours/warthen-old-jail

Washington County’s Oldest Church: Bethlehem Baptist Church, founded in 1790, is the oldest Baptist church in Washington County. https://www.exploregeorgia.org/warthen/general/historic-sites-trails-tours/ bethlehem-baptist-church

Things to Do

Hamburg State Park is less than a 10 minute drive from Warthen. The 741-acre park boasts a 1920s-era gristmill and ginning house, campgrounds, hiking trails, a playground, a boat ramp, a fishing pier, and an agricultural museum. Wildlife enthusiasts can find turtles, raccoons, deer, birds, and alligators, and anglers can enjoy fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream. Water enthusiasts can rent aqua cycles, canoes, and kayaks, and the breathtaking natural beauty is a perfect backdrop for area photographers.

Fun Facts

Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, made his last stop at a campsite in Warthen before being captured by Union soldiers in Irwin County while in route to Mobile, Alabama.



ķandeƉsville est. 1783



andersville was settled in 1783 by Revolutionary War veterans who were awarded grants to Creek and Cherokee lands, actually preceding Washington County’s founding in 1784. Sandersville is the county seat of Washington County as well as the county’s center for commerce and social activity.

Places to See Old City Cemetery is the county’s oldest and most scenic cemetery. The Victorian Era cemetery is the final resting place of missionaries, a Georgia governor, Civil War soldiers, business and county leaders, and prohibitionists. The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. wacohistorical.org/historical-sites/ old-city-cemetery-ca-1831

Things To Do Dairylane is a staple in Middle Georgia and probably one of Washington County’s most recognizable landmarks from outside the county. Serving burgers, milkshakes, and barbeque since 1953, Dairylane is an iconic meet-up spot and tradition for locals and beyond. Old Jail Museum and Genealogy Research Center: This Victorian Era conjoined jail and sheriffs’ home is one of the few known to exist today. Tours are available to view the old jail cells, original locking mechanisms, and graffiti left behind by prisoners. The old gallows yard is adjacent to the jail. The Genealogy Research Center can be found in the home portion of the building. A library filled with historical books on Washington County and adjacent counties and states is available for researchers. The center is also a repository for family books, files, and other Washington County history. The Old Jail is also the home of ghost “Essie,” believed to inhabit the historical home. Researchers will be glad to share their stories about their experiences with this popular ghost. wacohistorical.org/historical-sites/ old-jail-museum-genealogy-research-center-ca-1891


COMMUNITY DIFFERENTIATION The Kaolin Festival started in the fall of 1956, a celebration that has continued today. The annual Kaolin Festival has grown over the years to become a staple of Washington County. Although the festival is held the second weekend in October each year, it has grown to include a plethora of events, beginning as early as the first of September and continuing throughout October. The festival includes a parade, arts and crafts vendors, food, mine tours, a children’s carnival, friendly competition on the events field, live entertainment, and more. www.washingtoncountyga.com/kaolinfestival.html Town Square, located in downtown, is the heart of Sandersville. Visitors can browse through a variety of local shops and restaurants. The annual Christmas lights are a must-see, covering the square in a canopy of festive, sparkly lights. The Brown House Museum is an antebellum house that once served as William T. Sherman’s headquarters during his Civil War March to the Sea campaign. The museum exhibits several pieces of the Brown family's furniture, including the sofa Sherman is said to have napped on, as well as a historical pottery collection.

High School Athletics and Extracurricular Activities: Both of the county’s high schools are located in Sandersville, Washington County High and Brentwood School. Both schools offer a variety of extracurricular and athletic activities that are enjoyed by students and the wider community.

Community Resources Washington County Regional Medical Center, located in Sandersville, is a full-service, 116-bed hospital serving the residents of Washington and surrounding counties since 1961. It has a medical staff of 23 physicians and over 50 nurses and support staff. There are 56 acute care beds within the hospital and a 60-bed extended care facility attached to the hospital. Washington County Regional Medical Center has been accredited by the Joint Commission since 2000. www.wcrmc.com/home The Washington County Senior Center, located in Sandersville, helps give older citizens a great quality of life by providing a place where seniors can participate in organized activities, enjoy hot meals, and make new friends. Oconee Fall Line Technical College, Sandersville Campus: The college’s main campus is located in Sandersville and offers more than 100 associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs, in addition to specialized training through continuing education, contract training, and workshops.


The Thomas Jefferson Elder Community Center is a community center built on the original site of the Elder School, the first institution offering education for Washington County’s African American children. The school was built on the Rosenwald Plan, and African American artifacts, archives, and memorabilia can be seen while touring the museum. Cultural, academic, and special activities are held here for the community. An auditorium with a stage provides space for concerts and other large group activities. The center has one classroom/meeting room, a kitchen, and a computer lab. The center is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fun Facts Georgia Plates and the Transylvania Club: Located on Haynes Street in Sandersville, the Transylvania Club was organized in 1908 by a group of 18 unmarried ladies with a mission to establish a public library. In 1932, member Louise Irwin executed the design of the Georgia Historical Plates as part of the 1933 Bicentennial Celebration of Georgia and the 25th anniversary for the club. Since 1933, all profits from sales of Georgia Plates sold by The Transylvania Club have funded The Rosa M. Tarbutton Memorial Library, which serves Washington County and supports literacy in the region. The Georgia Plates have become a time-honored tradition throughout the state. Silk Stocking Street: North Harris Street was formerly known as “Silk Stocking Street” because affluent ladies would hang their silk stockings over the porch railings advertising their wealth.



Riddlevƀlle est. 1859



n Riddleville, with miles and miles of pine trees, the sun dances through the branches onto fertile ground. The smell of sap in the wind brings a scent that only comes from the freedom of being outside. This largely agricultural community is quiet and peaceful, making it the perfect home for buyers who want to get away from it all. With only about 100 people living within its city limits, Riddleville is a tiny small town. This has its advantages of course—everyone knows everyone, and there is plenty of space between neighbors.

Places to See

Historic Homes and Buildings: Riddleville may be small, but it boasts some of the most beautiful historic homes and commercial buildings in the county. Homes dating back to 1850 are surrounded by mature trees, set in the quiet country where the only sounds are the birds. One such house is the Wecoloski-Jordan House, circa 1850, is a beautiful Greek revival cottage that has been owned by the Jordan family for over 100 years. The 1917 J.Y. Bryan & Sons commercial building still sits at the intersection in Riddleville.

Fun Facts

Coin Toss: Riddleville gets its curious name because of a simple coin toss. Mr. Anderson Riddle and Mr. James Page flipped a penny for its namesake. The town was named Riddleville instead of Pageville when the penny hit the dirt. The Georgia General Assembly incorporated the town in 1859. Historic Mount Vernon Institute: Riddleville is home to one of the four academies of Washington County, the Riddleville Academy, which later became known as the Mount Vernon Institute. Mr. Anderson Riddle, who founded the community, donated 300 acres of land along with Mr. James Page’s contribution of 20 acres (the man who lost the coin toss). All of the land was given to the Mount Vernon Baptist Association, which supervised the institute until 1891. Washington County residents have a long history of valuing education. The original bell and flagpole still stand on the grounds. Home of Elaine Burge, local artist and entrepreneur Local artist Elaine Burge, a Maysville, Georgia native, chose Riddleville as her home and studio. On her website, she describes her home in Riddleville: “She appreciates the bright stars of the night sky, all of the abundant wildlife and the peaceful pace of life that living in the country provides.” www.elaineburge.com/about



ĸennille est. 1875


“No, it’s TEN-NILLE,” is a phrase often politely uttered by Tennille residents to outsiders who don’t know how to pronounce the city’s name (it rhymes with fennel, not chenille). Known for its railroad history and charming homes, Tennille has experienced a recent revival to its downtown with the addition of several new businesses and restaurants. Residents speak of Tennille fondly, smiling as they describe the sound of church bells at six o’clock signaling time for dinner (a sound generously made possible by Dennard Miller’s donation of the bell, and because of his generosity the church plays his wife’s favorite hymns) and reminiscing about train rides on the Nancy Hanks from their youth. There is also a friendly rivalry with neighboring Sandersville that has been passed down through the years that started with athletics but continues for reasons that no one can fully explain.

Places to See UGA Barn Sign: Located on Highway 15 between Tennille and Wrightsville, these two small towns have produced many successful football players for UGA, most notably Hershel Walker. Started in 2000 after the Georgia-Florida game, a local family decided to voice their opinion of the game by painting an old store with a UGA message. The old store soon came to be locally known as the “UGA Barn Sign.” As the family writes on the website, “The first message was such a success that we continued to use the old store to voice our opinions. We always aim to stay positive, though a few messages have voiced frustration. The only ‘non-UGA’ related message was after 9/11. It’s hard to believe how quickly the many messages have come to pass. We plan to continue painting the Barn Sign for years to come." http://www.ugafootballbarnsign.com/about



Things To Do Twin City Country Club boasts a challenging 18-hole golf course in a picturesque setting, perfect for events. Every Kid's Playground at Tennille City Park is an ADA-accessible playground located in the heart of Tennille. Truly a comunity-wide effort, the playground was generously funded by local residents and businesses with big hearts who wanted to ensure that all kids have access to a safe and fun place to play. Tennille BBQ Blast is a two-day event held every September that fills the streets of downtown Tennille with delicious barbeque, great music, and more.

Community Resources Tennille Women's Clubhouse: Built in 1922, this one-story log building was built to serve as a clubhouse for the Tennille Women's Club. Its south room was the founding location of the first public-supported library in Washington County, which later moved. The clubhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as meeting space for a variety of community gatherings. Georgia Department of Transportation District 2 Office is located in Tennille. District 2 employees serve 27 counties in the East Central Georgia region. District 2 performs maintenance, construction, traffic operations and permitting, and staff is on-call during inclement weather. http://www.dot.ga.gov/AboutGDOT/Districts/ District2 Washington County Agriculture Center: The Ag Center is a multipurpose complex specially designed for meetings, conferences, livestock & horse shows, concerts, rodeos, and trade shows. Currently the Ag Center hold two large annual events, the Washington County Ag Center Rodeo and the Washington County Ag & Youth Fair. www.wacoagcenter.com



ome folks say that the Nancy can't run; But stop, let me tell you what the Nancy done: She left Atlanta at half past one And got to Savannah at the settin' of the sun. The Nancy run so fast She burnt the wind and scorcht the grass —Author unknown

Sign advertising Central of Georgia Railway's feature train, The Nancy Hanks II, at the Terminal Station in Atlanta on April 12, 1963. A Roger Puta Photograph.

Fun Facts Tennille water tower: The Tennille Water Tower was constructed in a unique design by architect Charles Choate and remains a landmark and symbol of home for Tennille residents. A Railroad Town: Tennille, the highest point on the Central of Georgia Railroad between Macon and Savannah, was named for a spirited citizen, Mr. Francis Tennille, and was called Station No. 13 for a number of years. The Nancy Hanks was a popular Central of Georgia Railway and later Southern Railway passenger train in

Georgia running between Atlanta and Savannah. It was named after a race horse that was named for Abraham Lincoln's mother. The name is even older than the mid-20th century train, derived from that of a shortlived but famous steam special, the Nancy Hanks. Older Tennille residents remember taking the Nancy Hanks to Atlanta for a day of shopping and enjoying the ride along the way. Tennille remains a train town, with freight trains passing by frequently throughout the day. The sound of the train is engrained in Tennille’s identity. georgiahistory.com/ghmi_marker_updated/tennille/



ijconee est. 1876



aking its name from the nearby Oconee River, Oconee was founded when the railroad was extended in the 1840s and incorporated by the Georgia General Assembly as a town in 1876.

Places to See

Pig Monument: Located off of Georgia State Route 272 near Oconee, a stone monument marks the spot where a group of neighbors banded together amid the trials of the Great Depression to help a farmer rescue his pig from a collapsed dry well. Keep an eye out for a small, simple roadway sign signaling “Pig Monument” and walk about 20 feet into the brush to find this humble reminder of the enduring community spirit amid one of the most trying national hardships. Herb’s Hidden View: Just a short walk behind Herb’s Fish Place, one can see a glorious Washington County view of rolling hills (that almost look like mountains in the middle of Georgia!).

Things To Do

Herb’s Fish Place: This local country restaurant serves some of the best catfish around. It technically has a Tennille address, but Herb’s is more often associated with Oconee because of its closer proximity. Hog Hunting: Oconee, known far and wide as one of the best spots in Georgia for hog hunting, attracts hunters each year. Train Trestle: Visit the famous (or sometimes infamous) train trestle by the Oconee River to watch the trains go by overhead or do a little fishing.



Harrison est. 1886



arrison is full of memories, and much of its history is shared not by the written word but in casual conversation with the right person, in the right rocking chair, on the right front porch. This little rural town is the southernmost town in Washington County and was founded in 1886. The quietness of its streets and quaint neighborhoods is only interrupted occasionally by the sound of trains down the railroad tracks fading in and out of town. Many remember happy childhoods spent at the old Harrison School, an architectural treasure of the past.

Places to Visit Harrison Springs Baptist Church: This church was founded in 1880 and has been an essential part of the Harrison African American community for many years. Sunday mornings are joyful occasions in this small town church. Harrison Springs Baptist Church is located at 127 Mills Street.

Fun Facts Home of Colby Smith: Colby Smith, a Revolutionary War soldier who was prominent in America’s War of Independence settled in the Harrison area in 1798. He, his children, and his grandchildren owned property reaching from Harrison to Irwins Crossroads and were among the founders and leaders of the early churches of this area, throughout Georgia and other adjoining states. He died in 1840 at the age of 85. There is a historical marker placed in his honor at a roadside park on Georgia Highway 15 at Montgomery Road. https://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/topics/historical_ markers/county/washington/colby-smith

Local Landmark:

Harrison Springs Baptist Church ( pictured top) Abandoned cotton gin ( pictured bottom) photos from Brian Brown/Vanishing South Georgia



Dűvisboro est. 1894


Horton, the new owner, purchased the home in hopes of remodeling but ended up with more than he bargained for—a haunted house! Several strange events have occurred since his purchase of the home, and now the home entertains many brave visitors each Halloween season.

“There isn’t anybody in this room who isn’t already in my cell phone.”

Hitchin’ Post Café: On Main Street in Davisboro, the aroma of good Southern cookin’ hovers over the Hitchin’ Post Café, where friends and family enjoy some of the best comfort food in the county. And if you don’t know what lacy cornbread is, come find out about this Southern delicacy.

— Davisboro resident at a branding public input meeting


elieve it or not, Davisboro was once the largest city in Washington County. Though it lost this status a long time ago, many say it does in fact have the largest Fourth of July fireworks show in Central Georgia, an event that attracts people from all over the region. Davisboro residents enjoy a low crime rate and low cost of living, making this safe and affordable community a great place to raise a family. Vacant buildings in the historic downtown offer great opportunities for growth and investment at a good price. Full of nostalgia and promise, Davisboro residents still remember the good times had at music “meetups,” where locals would bring their fiddles and mandolins, and organically come together at the depot to enjoy some music. This loving, close-knit community values the power of prayer and a good laugh with friends.

Things To Do

Davisboro July 4th Festival: Hosted by the Davisboro Fire Department, the Davisboro July 4th Festival features local and regional arts, crafts, vendors, music, and one of the best fireworks shows in Central Georgia. This event is held the Saturday before July 4th each year. Haunted Manor of Davisboro: A two-story 1900s Victorian home is transformed into one of Georgia’s scariest attractions each year for Halloween. William

Community Resources The Washington County Head Start Center is located in Davisboro and is one of two Head Start centers in Washington County. As part of the nonprofit Georgia Head Start Association, Inc., the Davisboro location offers a Georgia 4-year-old pre-K program, that serves children and families who meet certain criteria for eligibility and enrollment. Washington State Prison: Located in Davisboro, this minimum and medium security prison houses over 1,500 male inmates and is a part of the Georgia Department of Corrections. The prison is a key employer for Davisboro.

Fun Facts

Best Water in Georgia: There’s something in the water here! Davisboro residents claim to have the “Best Water in Georgia” in their wells.



Deepstep est. 1901



his little town is in the heart of kaolin mining country and was incorporated by the Georgia General Assembly in 1901. There is some argument about how it got its name, with some saying it was named after Deepstep Creek and others claiming its name came from a local Native American’s description of how his foot sunk in the clay. All can agree that some of the county’s closest and longest standing family ties come from Deepstep, with families who have lived there for generations. “Roots run deep in Deepstep” is a phrase often spoken by folks in Deepstep.

Things To Do Heavenly Softball: Deepstep United Methodist Church and Mount Sinai Baptist Church both have pious congregations; however, they can be downright competitive on the softball field. Deepstep residents have enjoyed a church softball league and rivalry that has been going on for 30 years. This competitive tradition brings the community together year after year.

Places to See The Alonzo G. Veal & Son country store is one of the most famous country stores in Georgia. It was recently renovated by the present owner, Mr. Veal’s daughter.

Fun Facts

Near present-day Deepstep, Confederate troops under General Joseph Wheeler attempted to slow the movements of William T. Sherman’s troops by destroying the bridges over Buffalo Creek. Wheeler’s troops fought the Union soldiers as long as they could, while sending warning to nearby Sandersville of the enemy’s inevitable advance.


target markets


target market approach to branding and marketing Washington County helps narrow down the vast audiences that can be reached and focus in on branding goals. Based on the public input responses, the following target markets were identified as important to reach through brand messaging.

New Residents With a low cost of living and high quality of life, Washington County is poised to attract new residents. This target market includes young families, retirees, and people who are already commuting to work in Washington County but live outside of the county.

Outdoor enthusiasts & eco-tourism Washington County already attracts outdoor enthusiasts and eco-tourists, especially those who come to hunt, fish, compete in disc golf, and visit Hamburg State Park. Further measures should be taken to target this niche group.


industry With a great quality of life, a low cost of living, a strong sense of community, great school choice, available land, a recently updated local airport, and available downtown commercial real estate, Washington County is poised to be the perfect location to fulfill the American Dream. Many of its great entrepreneurs have moved to Washington County to start their businesses, attracted to its rural lifestyle that is still conveniently located for business.

• Burgess Pigment Company, Imerys Kaolin, KaMin Performan Minerals, and Thiele Kaolin Company (kaolin) • Zorlu Manufacturing (textiles) • B-H Transfer and Howard Sheppard Inc. (trucking) • Washington County Machine Shop (Industrial Services) • Sandersville Railroad • The Ginn Technology Group

Washington County has a diverse industrial economy, including:

• Deepstep Minerals

• Meltblown Technologies (containment booms)

• Endurance Poly Producers

• American Industrial Transport (railcar service, repair)

• CVBrookins

• Dura-Line ( pipeline)

• Fowler Flemister Concrete, Inc.

• Trojan Battery (deep-cycle batteries)

• South Eastern Performance Minerals

Healthcare/doctors It is crucial to attract the best and the brightest doctors in this day and age, especially in rural areas such as Washington County. With many rural hospitals closing on a statewide and even national level, Washington County must remain competitive by having quality health care providers and supporting the Washington County Regional Medical Center. The hospital is a selling point in itself, attracting retirees to live in the county.




etting to know a place and its people is essential to creating a brand. All of the information in the previous sections was used to create the brand’s visual identity, which will be discussed in this section. Many of the ideas came straight from Washington County residents. A common misconception is that creating a brand is merely about creating a logo, but there are many pieces to the branding puzzle. While a logo is an important part of a brand since it is the main representation of the brand’s visual identity, a variety of other things must be considered when creating a unified brand, such as color palette, font choice, brand elements, variations of the logo for flexibility, messaging, and photography. All of these have to come together to tell Washington County’s story.


r e h t e g o t Brand Elements: Other supportive graphics besides the logo add to the brand’s character and help tell the story of a community.

Color Palette: A crucial part of branding, the color palette includes the colors chosen to represent your community in its logo, brand elements, website, and more to make sure that the Washington County brand is recognizable.

Fonts: A font is a graphical representation of text. Fonts, like communities, have personalities and convey certain unique characteristics. Selecting the perfect font to represent your brand is as important as any of the other branding pieces. It is important for the font to be memorable, legible, work on every platform, and communicate your brand’s personality. Often a package of fonts will be used to add versatility.

Logo: The logo is one of the most important pieces to the brand. It is simply a design symbolizing the brand’s identity, uniquely designed for recognition.

Logo Variations: There are many types of logos, and communities often have several variations of their logo for use on different platforms. A logo variation is a version of the primary logo, just re-arranged in a different format to allow more versatility. The primary logo should be used most often, but sometimes logo variations may be used and can add visual interest.


Having a stockpile of professional photography is a must in community branding. These images help tell your story and fit within your visual identity through their use of colors, tone, setting, and subject matter. Quality matters, as high-resolution images look much better on websites and printed materials.

Messaging: What you say about your community matters as much as how you look. Brand messaging is the language used in your content and is the value proposition for potential residents, visitors, new businesses, and customers. Your messaging should connect with people on an emotional level, be descriptive, and capture the sense of place in Washington County.


design: brand themes

brand themes: inspiration


The following brand themes were inspired by things found throughout the county and in each of the eight Washington County communities— from the people who shared their stories of growing up here, the county’s history, and colors derived from a diverse landscape to the textures found along the railroad tracks and even in the meticulously decorative shapes found on front porches, windows, and stained glass. Washington County is not lacking for visual inspiration. In fact, the feedback received was so rich with personality, history, and culture that the branding team members were almost overwhelmed with options. After organizing the immense amount of data, images, and public input responses, Institute of Government staff narrowed things down into five brand theme categories of inspiration: Mystery, The American Dream, General George Washington, WACO Southern Culture, and Looking Forward.


The word mystery might be a funny word to describe Washington County at first glance. However, the more stories one hears about this unique place, the more one finds a sense of mystery that could be compared to that of Southern tales such as John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The “Powers of Buffalo Creek” is one such mystery in the county, which describes a specific area near Oconee that has produced several famous people and makes one wonder if something is in the water. Haunting tales surfaced, such as that of Essie the Ghost at the Old Jail in Sandersville and the Haunted House in Davisboro (which also happens to be a popular thrilling attraction during Halloween). Memories of Silk Stocking Street bring a touch of elegance, boasting gorgeous homes that have lasted through Civil War, reminding us all to appreciate life’s finer things. The kaolin pools offer a sense of mystery on their own, with their surprising electric blue popping out from a more humble Georgia landscape. Kaolin is a curious substance, serving as nature’s cure to a variety of ailments such as an upset stomach and dry skin. Walking through Old City Cemetery connects past to present, as Spanish moss gracefully dances over the resting places of famous Georgians. Other places in the county are not so obvious but equally mysterious, such as Herb’s Hidden View, a spot not many know about just behind Herb’s Fish Place, that offers a shockingly beautiful and almost mountainous landscape smack dab in the middle of Georgia. The Pig Monument in Oconee is located off the beaten path and tells another great Washington County story, if you can find this hidden treasure. Early 20th century tonic bottles glisten in the afternoon sunlight on an antique store shelf in Tennille, and the contents they once held were full of promise. The curious quality of the tonic bottles is another tiny example of a patchwork of mysterious details found throughout the county. The many stories told by Washington County pique the interest of the listener, making one wonder what else has happened here?


design: brand themes

the american dream

Named for General George Washington, Washington County was formed in 1794. Many people since then have chosen to call Washington County their home. During public input meetings and interviews, the Institute of Government team met several residents who could trace their family ancestry back to the county’s earliest days, some even preceding the American Revolution. One man mentioned that his family still lives on the plot of land that was granted to his ancestor, an American Revolutionary soldier, by the General Assembly and General George Washington himself—pretty cool! While driving through the county in 2020, one can still see the American Dream is alive and well. With wide open spaces, children play freely in their yards (mostly unattended, too—because the county is known for its low crime rate and watchful neighbors). Mom-and-pop restaurants and local hardware stores remain, and the cost of living is low compared to other places, so many can afford to own their homes. On Sunday mornings, church parking lots are full, and Sunday supper leaves stomachs even fuller.


General George Washington What’s in a name? With a name like Washington County, there’s a lot in a name. “Washington” isn’t a unique name for an American city or county, and rightfully so. There are at least 33 other Washington counties in the United States and too many towns and cities with that name to count. But still, the name Washington holds great meaning to this day, even though the county’s namesake lived over two centuries ago. Since Washington County, Georgia, was the first county in the United States to be named after General, not President, George Washington, why not own it? After looking at the man himself, the branding team found that he had many qualities that also, interestingly enough, paralleled with the qualities of Washington County. It is also important to note that many of the families who live in Washington County today can trace their ancestry back to the American Revolution, when George Washington granted land to American soldiers after the war. Some people in Washington County have that distinct and very direct connection to past, and are not shy about telling their story.


design: brand themes

WACO southern culture Washington County is located in the heart of Georgia, so it’s not surprising that the people and place reflect the traditions of the heart of the South. Washington County, affectionately nicknamed “WACO” (and pronounced just like the City of Waco, Texas), has its own distinct culture within the larger Southern context. Washington County residents are among the friendliest and most welcoming you will find in the South, and unlike some places where people are merely friendly on the surface, WACO residents genuinely care about each other. Countless heartwarming stories were shared throughout public input about the caring nature of the Washington County people, and some of these stories go back for generations: A Sandersville woman found her mailbox broken into pieces on her lawn when she returned home from work. She didn’t consider herself handy but had planned to fix it herself. But before she could even go to the hardware store an anonymous neighbor fixed it for her while she was out. She still doesn’t know who made this kind gesture but would like to thank them. A senior lady from the Midwest was looking for a place to relocate after her retirement. She remembered her grandparents grew up in Washington County and how much she enjoyed visiting them as a child. She picked up and moved to Washington County without knowing much more than her memory of the place. There she found welcoming neighbors who helped her get settled. She said, “I feel more at home here in Washington County than I ever did in my hometown.” A couple who lives in Deepstep went through a hard time when the wife was in the hospital. When they came home, their lawn was mowed, house was cleaned, and the refrigerator was stocked with home-cooked meals from caring neighbors. “We didn’t have to do a thing,” they said.


“Washington County has the best funerals in the state. They really care for you from birth to death.” Not something you hear every day, but several people talked about the level of care and consideration even given by funeral homes in Washington County.

forward thinking While Washington County possesses the typical Southern characteristics that one might find in most areas of the Southeast, such as friendliness, hospitality, good manners, and hearty food, this place possesses traits that might surprise you for a rural county in Georgia. One might not expect a county with such a rich past to be progressive and forward-thinking. While every community faces its own challenges, people here seem to get along and work together better than other places, despite a polarized political climate. From the government level to next-door neighbors, overall people in Washington County treat each other with respect regardless of racial or economic backgrounds—a simple notion, but one that allows them to achieve more together. The county and city governments work well together. This is also a county that values education and personal achievement, which is evident in the leaders that make up its school systems. Washington County has been producing leaders for a long time, and several of these remarkable figures are listed on pages 32-34. While the traditions of the past continue, people refuse to be stuck in it and remain hopeful and optimistic about what is possible. These qualities should be captured in a brand that can honor both past and future. Whatever the secret is in Washington County, it works.


design: brand elements

brand elements


logo alone cannot convey the richness of Washington County’s story; therefore, additional brand elements are used together with the logo, fonts, and color palette to promote the county in an interesting and memorable way. Having brand elements in addition to a primary logo gives a community a fun and versatile branding graphics package with unique talking points. And, since Washington County is full of stories, each brand element should also have a story to tell. The following brand elements were chosen to create a comprehensive branding package with design elements that can be used interchangeably to complement the logo and strengthen the overall visual identity.


Old Georgia Maps Washington County was at one time Georgia’s largest county (and remains in the top 10 for square miles), taking up most of the middle and eastern portions of the state. Of the dozens of historic maps at the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library that show just how big Washington County was, two 18th century maps drawn by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703–1772), chief cartographer to the French navy, stood out among the rest. Notice Map I has a beautifully drawn compass rose, shown on the bottom right. Map II has some beautiful design elements as well. This map shows the large size of Washington County. Drawn with decorative calligraphy elements, Maps 1 and II are carefully crafted with line work that represented the elegance, sophistication, and craftsmanship of their time. Decorative lines reminded the branding team of the many small details found in Washington County where someone took the time to make something a little more fabulous than it had to be — including architectural details, a home-cooked meal, and even in the interaction between strangers.

Map I

Map II 67

design: brand elements

compass rose The compass rose found on Map I became a main source of inspiration for the Washington County brand. Used traditionally as a symbol for navigation, the compass rose has become a meaningful symbol in design representing honoring one’s past but looking forward to where you are going — the bright future that lies ahead. This compass rose was inspired by the one found on a historic Georgia map and has eight points, representing the eight communities of Washington County. Although they are unique and each follows its own path, the eight communities are united. Interestingly, the word “compass” is derived from two Latin words meaning “together” and “way.” Therefore, the compass rose icon became something that could accurately represent Washington County and its eight very different, yet unified communities.

six-pointed star Washington wore six-pointed stars on his shoulders as a general and used them on his personal position flag, which flew over his headquarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. George Washington is also the only six-star general in American history, a unique honor posthumously bestowed upon him at the 1976 United States bicentennial celebration. Washington County is a place of history, tradition, and attention to detail; therefore, the six-pointed star could serve as a fun brand element that captures some of the unique character of both Washington the man and the county. This portrait of General Washington shows six-pointed stars on the general’s shoulder. The branding team liked this interesting shape and decided to use it as inspiration for one of the brand elements in a subtle way to honor the county’s namesake. GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1749-1831 by James Peale, after Charles Willson Peale c. 1787—1790 Oil on canvas. 36 ½ in H x 27 13/16 in W. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.


The Continental Army Uniform George Washington ( yes, back to George again), as general, was given the honor of selecting the standard uniform for his Army in 1789. According to the National Museum of American History, “In order to command effectively, an officer must convey character and leadership through appearance as well as action. As the leader of the Continental army, Washington wanted these troops to present themselves as a professional military organization and a proper uniform was one way of showing a unified front.” He selected the colors of blue and gold (probably to contrast with the British Redcoats). One could say that George Washington created what would be the first “brand” look for the United States! The uniform colors partially inspired the Washington County brand’s color palette, while also taking inspiration from colors found throughout the county. When George Washington was an aide to General Edward Braddock he paid special attention to the way the British general maintained his rank and deportment. Washington believed that in order to command effectively, an officer must convey character and leadership through appearance as well as action. As the leader of the Continental army, Washington wanted these troops to present themselves as a professional military organization and a proper uniform was one way of showing a unified front. In commemoration of Washington’s attention to detail, the colors of blue and buff remained the accepted pattern for US Army uniforms until the beginning of the Civil War.” – National Museum of American History, Smithsonian | www.americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_434863


The Wa shi

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design: brand elements



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Using the names of each community within Washington County (Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Riddleville, Sandersville, Tennille, and Warthen) in a repeating pattern creates a sense of unity. The six-pointed star is used as a subtle detail to separate each name, giving a nod to the county’s namesake General George Washington, a six star general.

It All Happens Here Tagline Graphic For applications in which the message “It All Happens Here” needs to be front and center, this graphic gives that option. This hopeful, positive message is placed on a transparent compass rose backdrop, giving it depth and visual interest.


design: the washington county logo

The Washington County Logo What is a logo? A logo is not a brand (this is a common misconception). It is only one element, albeit a very important element, of a community’s brand identity and helps with recognition, differentiation, and recall. A logo is a graphic symbol that represents a place, and usually includes text and/or images. There are different types of logos; therefore, a community should have a flexible graphics package that includes several types of looks that can be applied in a variety of ways. The following logos contribute to Washington County’s visual identity and are included in the graphics package.


primary logo This is the primary logo for Washington County and should be used wherever possible to maintain brand consistency.


design: the washington county logo

logo variations While consistency is important, so is flexibility. These logo variations and other visual graphics provide a range of design options to allow creative application in marketing and advertising while maintaining the integrity of the Washington County community brand.

Monogram Logo A monogram logo, also known as a lettermark, is a type of logo that is used for simplicity and streamlining, and is especially effective with long names like Washington County. “WC” is a commonly used monogram in Washington County already, with multiple businesses using it as well as Washington County School System. The capital W and C are slightly more streamlined than those in the main logo, but the monogram logo still uses the display header font Sarcastic. Calligraphy lines inspired by historic Georgia maps frame “EST. 1784” and create a decorative motif reminiscent of the county’s rural agriculture above the C. This logo can be used in a variety of ways when the medium is representing Washington County. This logo may be paired with supportive text or graphics to help convey its meaning.


Formal Seal Just like our need to have something a bit fancier in our closets for special events, Washington County needs a “fancy” look as well. This Washington County seal style logo can be applied in more formal settings representing the entire county, such as governmental stationery, vehicles, stamps, employee apparel, and more. This formal seal style logo shows all eight Washington County communities in an oval, surrounded by a border of six-pointed stars. The oval is significant as it allows each community an “equal place at the table,” with no one community having more say than another. Again, the six-pointed stars are a subtle nod to the county’s namesake, General George Washington, the only six star general in US history. The “WC” monogram is centered on top of the eight-pointed compass rose, representing the journey that all eight communities are navigating together.

Casual Seal This casual seal style logo adds greater versatility to the Washington County graphics package. A streamlined version of the formal seal, its simple yet striking design conveys strength and unity. With its easy-to-read bold text and centered monogram, this casual seal can be used on a variety of applications and comes in each of the colors from the county color palette.


community logos


Throughout the public input process, Washington County residents requested an overall unified brand for the county, but they also desired individual graphics for each of the eight communities that were in keeping with the county’s brand while also representing their unique qualities. As one of the largest counties in Georgia, Washington County is diverse, and each community within it is special in its own way. The following graphics were created for each community using the same color palette and fonts as the county brand but allowing for some individuality inside the oval motif. Surrounded by six-pointed stars, the oval frames something unique inside that represents each place.


design: the washington county logo

partner logos Other than the county and community logos, additional governmental entities may benefit from adopting the brand, especially the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Washington County. These two entities are key players in promoting the county, attracting new residents and industry, and building community pride. Because the entities share an office, the logos feature the same handshake icon that is symbolic of the partnership they have with each other and local businesses.

Washington County Chamber of Commerce Logo The Washington County Chamber of Commerce logo is different from the county logo but is similar in design. Using the same colors and fonts, six-pointed star border, and oval design, this logo fits within the overall county brand look but offers a unique visual identity. The organization's mission is to create an environment in which businesses prosper; thus, the Chamber's logo features a simple handshake graphic to symbolize business agreement and success.





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Washington County Challenge Coin Challenge coins are often used by city and county governments as collectibles and gifts. The tradition of the challenge coin originates in the military setting. A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem that is given as a symbol of membership. Historically, challenge coins were presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. Washington County has a great deal of military history, from the American Revolution, the Civil War, even in the parachutes made in Tennille during the World War II effort, and more. This challenge coin graphic can serve not only as another visual option, but could be engraved on collectible challenge coins, t-shirts, memorabilia, tumbler cups, and Christmas ornaments—the possibilities are endless!

Development Authority of Washington County Along with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the Development Authority plays an equally important role in promoting the county to potential businesses, entrepreneurs, developers, and industries. By adopting the Washington County brand look, the Development Authority will have a graphics package consistent with the county, eight communities, and the Chamber. This cohesive brand helps strengthen Washington County’s overall identity and increases recognition outside of the county.


design: the washington county logo

keep it in the family The Washington County Brand Font “Family”

ķarcastic gin

IM Fell Double Pica

Typography Fonts have personality and should reflect the character of a place when used in logos and branding. These fonts were carefully chosen based on what was heard during the public input sessions about how Washington County residents honor their past but also think of themselves as forward thinking.

Georgia and operated by Mattox Shuler. This vintage display typeface was inspired by the likes of old serifs and classic bottles of whiskey and gin. Gin comes in four different styles with oblique counterparts. Features include stylistic alternates and multiple language support. www.fortfoundry.com

Header | Sarcastic: The primary font in the logo

Body Copy | IM Fell Double Pica: The body font

is a primitive script called Sarcastic. Sarcastic is a display font made by hand, inspired by classic posters. Sarcastic comes with uppercase, lowercase, numerals, punctuations, and many variations on each character including OpenType alternates, common ligatures, and additional swashes for customization. www.creativemarket.com/ graptail/1365127-Sarcastic-Typeface-Extras

Subheadline | Gin: The secondary font, Gin, was created in a type design studio based out of Athens,


is IM Fell Double Pica, inspired by the 17th century letterpress types casts left to the University of Oxford by Dr. John Fell. These early letterpress types revolutionized the printing industry of its time but still retain a fresh and relevant look today. This font comes in italic and regular, adding to its versatility. Its serif letters complement the sans serif Sarcastic header and Gin Subheadline. IM Fell Double Pica is a Google font, making it universally accessible. https:// fonts.google.com/specimen/IM+Fell+Double+Pica



c o lor sp e c i f i cat i o n s
















ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRStUVWXYZ Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz Consistency is key.


Don't change element position.

Don't stretch or distort.

Don't change fonts or colors.

c olor sp e c i f i cat i ons primary-use colors



NAVY C100 M66 Y55 K55 Ro G48 B60 PMS 547C | #00303C

C24 M42 Y100 K3 R193 G145 | B45 PMS 7556C | #B68C2D

secondary-use colors


BLUE C85 M65 Y34 K16 R56 G86 B118 PMS 2955C | #385676

FRONT PORCH C30 M14 Y11 K0 R177 G198 B211 PMS 552C | #B1C6D3

KAOLIN WHITE C5 M2 Y2 K0 R239 G242 B244 PMS 656C | #EFF2F4 83



Flourish with Establishment Year Six-Pointed Star





The Washington County brand will come to be recognized by its visual identity. The logo is represented by several elements. The logo, when used in compliance with this guide, will help build brand awareness and recognition.

Knowing the elements, or the construction of the logo, helps identify how each component fits together — just like a puzzle. The logo was built with intention, scale, and proximity in mind. Adhering to this construction will help to preserve the integrity of the brand.

c l ear spac e

Clear Space



The area surrounding the logo (as indicated by the gold perimeter) is referred to as clear space. This margin helps ensure that no other elements interfere with the logo.


The size of this clear space is identified by the height of the “O" in the title, identified by the arrow above and is the ideal margin size for all uses.


The full logo with the tagline should be no smaller than 2.25"x 1.15." Alternate logos and community logos should also meet this size specification.




Sizing & Scaling

Color Usage





Unproportional scaling

Unapproved Color Variation



Unproportional scaling

Unapproved Color Variation

S CAL I N G The logo should always be scaled and sized proportionally. DO NOT attempt to stretch, expand, nudge, squeeze, or misshape the logo. Incorrect scaling negatively impacts the integrity of the brand.

COLO R S Approved colors are outlined on page 83. Using colors other than the approved palette is prohibited.

DERIVAT I V E S Assets outlined in this document were developed specifically for the Washington County brand. Derivatives and modifications of the logo and other assets are prohibited.

Over a l l Gu i de l i n e s For all uses of the Washington County brand assets, you may not:

• Alter the logo in any way • Place a logo too close in proximity to other content • Use the logo in a way that suggests any type of association or partnership with another entity without approval • Use the logo in a way that is harmful, obscene, or damaging • Use the logo in places containing content associated with hate speech, pornography, gambling, or illegal activities


ALTERN AT E - U SE L O GO S Horizontal Logo

Circle Monogram Logo


Monogram Logo

Formal Seal

Black Logo

White Logo

Black logos should be used on documents that do not have color printing capabilities.

White logos are best used on top of dark, solid colors or photographs.

C ommuni t y l o gos Shown in Continental Navy. All color options included in the Washington County graphics package.


brand appȁication


randing is all about keeping a promise about who you are to the people who experience your community. Brand application is simply the consistent, physical representation of the brand on a variety of products and media. This section illustrates some ways in which the Washington County brand can be applied that are in keeping with the lifestyle and culture of the people. There are infinite ways in which a brand can be applied. This section shows a few of those ways. Photography plays a large role in the success of brand application, as it helps capture the essence and mood, allowing the viewer to see themselves using the brand. The following pages show how the Washington County brand can be applied in a variety of ways and is enhanced by good photography.


Stationery featuring the Washington County seal and the Washington County signature pattern gives handwritten notes a special touch.


brand application

Branded t-shirt design possibilities are endless. This option features the monogram logo.


Canvas tote bags can be used weekly at the Washington County Farmer's Market.

Everyone knows that drinks just tastes better in a mason jar. Mason jars are classic, simple, and functional, while capturing a little bit of the Washington County Southern culture.

Car decals are one of the easiest ways to promote Washington County across the state and even the region.


Updating county government or organization business cards is a subtle way to promote the new Washington County brand.

Who doesn't love a good coffee mug? Restaurants throughout the county could serve coffee in branded mugs.


Washington County residents enjoy eating homemade dinners around the family table. Wooden cutting boards proudly displaying the Washington County brand could be an excellent addition to the WACO resident’s kitchen.

Another t-shirt design option could include the compass rose graphic that features the tagline, “It All Happens Here."


brand application

Gateway signage

existing Gateway signage on Highway 15 at the Washington County–Hancock County border will be many visitors' first impression of Washington County. Aluminum signs featuring the old logo are currently located at each end of the county. Simply replacing the aluminum sign with a newly branded sign would prominently showcase the Washington County brand. Existing gateway signage could eventually be replaced with a larger brick structure once funding is secured.

Proposed (short Term)


Proposed (Long Term)


brand application

Updating the Washington County website is an important step to introducing the new brand. See page 122 for website design recommendations.



brand application


Using professional photography when updating the website is key to successfully representing the new Washington County Brand.

One of Washington County's greatest assets is outdoor recreation. This is an example of an advertisement that could be used to promote hunting and fishing opportunities in Washington County.


brand application

Educational opportunities were also included as one of Washington County's greatest assets during the public input process. These are examples of eduction promotions that could be used when trying to attract new residents with families.



brand application

Billboards along Interstate 20, Highway 15, and the Fall Line Freeway could be used to target potential visitors. See page 123 for more billboard recommendations.



brand application

The annual Kaolin Festival is a staple of community life in Washington County. The Kaolin Festival presents many co-branding opportunities. See page 125 for more recommendations.



brand application


The designs above and on the following page use dark colors or textures that speak to the brand theme of “mystery" discussed on page 61. These designs could be used for online or printed advertisements that target visitors or potential residents.


all you need

is a weekend and a dirt road. come be free.


community brand application Eight individual communities make up Washington County and each community possesses its own unique identity. Finding community brand application opportunities is an important step in gaining community-wide support for the new brand.


The grain bins beside the railroad tracks in Harrison present a perfect opportunity to showcase the new community-specific brand.


community brand application


The Fourth of July fireworks in Davisboro draw visitors from across middle Georgia and are quite spectacular! A play on the Washington County tagline “It All Happens Here," this advertisement could be featured online or in a regional publication such as Southern Distinction or 365 Atlanta Traveler.


community brand application Murals that feature the new Washington County brand are a great way to promote the brand and show community pride.


Updating gateway and wayfinding signage in each community should be a priority when launching the new brand. See page 123 for more recommendations.


brand application


ashington County locals often refer to their home county as “Waco” (it’s pronounced just like the City of Waco, Texas). The WACO Life marketing campaign celebrates the Washington County rural lifestyle. Combined with a Washington County, Chamber of Commerce, or Development Authority logo, the WACO Life graphic can enhance lifestyle messaging and can be used in a variety of ways to target certain markets. With versatile messaging, the statement can change as needed, from “Just livin’ that WACO life,” to “Shop the WACO Life,” “Create the WACO Life” and more.




Advertisements are an important part of the WACO Life marketing campaign. Professional lifestyle photography should be featured with supporting graphics. The WACO Life campaign also lends itself to many co-branding opportunities. For further recommendations, please see page 126.


brand launch ƒ hough not an easy task, launching a new community brand is crucial to making it a success. Significant time, effort, and resources have gone into creating the Washington County brand, and more effort will be needed in rolling it out. Brand rollout will take a minimum of one year, though it really never ends. Promoting what Washington County has to offer through a consistent brand message will be an ongoing effort to attract new jobs, residents, and tourists.


Launch Recommendations The following are recommendations for Washington County to undertake over the next two years.

Identify a Brand Manager

Identify a branding point person for the Washington County brand. This person will serve as the gatekeeper for the brand, answer branding questions, and keep track of digital branding files. Note: The Washington County Branding Steering Committee identified the Washington County Chamber of Commerce as the appropriate office to manage the brand.

Branding Budget and Launch Calendar

Launching a brand will cost some money, and the city and county should allocate the funds necessary to launch and continually promote the brand. Plot out each launch deliverable on a launch calendar, identifying the goals that the city and county want to achieve over the next year.

Internal Branding Database

Consider creating an internal folder or database with all branding-related materials and files, including photography, logo files, videos, and messaging and content. The Branding Steering Committee decided that the Washington County Chamber of Commerce will manage the county’s brand and files.

Consistency Is Key

The key to a successful brand is consistency. Washington County, its eight communities, and community partners must be on the same page in using and promoting the brand. With the help of the provided Brand Usage Guide (see page 81), anyone who wants to use the brand should have the tools necessary to correctly display the brand identity. The primary logo with the tagline “It All Happens Here” should be used whenever possible. Logo variations have been provided in case other formats and color options are needed.

Brand Launch Event

Communities often choose to kick off the launch of a new brand by holding an event to build awareness and get the community excited. Plan for a special time when the new Washington County brand can be revealed to the public. This can be incorporated into an existing community event, such as the Kaolin Festival, or held as a separate one, but the key is to spread the word about the new brand and make it fun. Often, “swag” or promotional materials are handed out. Providing food and music is also recommended to attract a big crowd.

Over-Communicate with Your Audiences

Especially at first, the brand is new and unfamiliar. The more the county and eight communities can communicate with target markets using the new brand, the better. People have to see a new brand over and over for it to “stick.”


brand launch

Washington County Brand Champions The Washington County Branding Steering Committee dedicated countless hours and effort to helping gather the community’s ideas to create the brand. Since its creation, the steering committee has been the first group of brand champions, but they cannot do it alone. Brand champions, or those who will promote and support the brand, should be identified throughout the county and in each community. These individuals will be crucial to the successful rollout of the new brand.

Rebranding Washington County’s Online Presence One of the easiest and cheapest places to rebrand is online. While other applications, such as physical signage and stationery, will take more time and funding, changing websites, social media accounts, and digital signage to reflect the new brand can be done almost immediately. • Rebranding Social Media Accounts: Social media pages should be revised to reflect the new brand and should announce key dates for brand launch events. Building anticipation for a brand reveal is important to get people excited and wanting to participate. • Hashtags: Hashtags can be used on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help promote the new brand. Some hashtags that could be used for Washington County include: #itallhappenshere #shopwacofirst


• Social Media Schedule: Social media is only effective if it is used. Create a schedule for when you are going to post on social media, and assign a person who is responsible for keeping up with social media accounts. Make sure to keep content current and post regularly. • Keep it consistent. If one social media account is updated, all the others used to promote the county and communities within should also be updated. The county and eight communities should work together to maintain consistency among all social media accounts. • Rebranding Websites: As Washington County and the eight individual communities within adopt the new brand, their online presence should reflect the new brand messaging, colors, typefaces, and logos. This is one of the fastest and most cost-effective areas in which a new brand can be rolled out. Digital logo files can be made accessible on the website for downloads if the county chooses to do so. Local business owners and organizations could easily access these files and use them on their own materials. • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) : SEO is a tool to improve where your webpage appears in a search result. When someone searches the Internet for Washington County or any of its communities, it is better if the county or community’s website appears toward the top because people are more likely to click on only the first few links. There are many components of SEO, including title tags, keywords, image tags, internal link structure, inbound links, and more.


Rebranding Signage Consistent sign design is one of the most visible indicators that a community has a consistent brand because signs are everywhere! While changing out signage will take some time and money, it is important to have consistency throughout the county. Each community will move at its own pace as funding becomes available. The following are some types of signs that may be considered when rebranding: • Gateway: Gateway signs are road signs that border your community or downtown district and introduce and welcome visitors. They are typically placed at the city or county limits and, more often than not, are in locations that offer a less-than-desirable first impression of the community. Gateway signs are the visitor’s first impression of the community, so they should clearly display the Washington County logo or logo of any of the eight Washington County communities. • Billboards: Roadside billboards have been around for over a century, and there is a good reason why—they work! They are a relatively cheap and efficient way to reach thousands of drivers if designed effectively. Here are five tips for creating an effective billboard to promote your community: • Make it memorable: Tell your story in a simple and compelling way through images and messaging. Humor is always memorable! • Keep it short and sweet: The average driver will have only five seconds to view your billboard, so keep text at a minimum. • Be bold: Images and fonts should be cleanly displayed and large so that drivers can see it. • Be colorful: Use bright colors to grab drivers’ attention. • Location, Location, Location: Be strategic in where you put your billboard, giving drivers enough time to consider your message or informing them of what is ahead. • Directional Signage: Once visitors get to Washington County, they will need to know where to go. Branded directional signage can help lead visitors to local attractions, public restrooms, shops, and restaurants. They can even be installed inside public buildings to help people find their way. Also known as wayfinding signage, exterior directional signs should be large enough for drivers to see going down the road and still be a small enough scale to be used by someone on the sidewalk. Incorporating your logo, color palette, and fonts into a directional sign can help keep the community’s brand consistent in its physical environment. Location is key for these signs, and they should be placed in areas that are easily visible and accessible. They should also be well lit at night. • Organizational Signage: Several organizations and public institutions in Washington County may want to change their physical signage to reflect the new brand, especially if they engage in any promotion of the county as part of their regular business. The following may benefit from changing out old signage as funding becomes available: • Washington County Chamber of Commerce • Development Authority of Washington County • City signage of Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Riddleville, Sandersville, Tennille, and Warthen • Town and City Hall buildings • County Courthouse • County offices


brand launch • Creative Signage: Creative signage adds personality to communities. The following are a few ideas about how to incorporate the Washington County brand creatively. • Murals: Murals are a great way to add character to a community, provide directions, or even offer a unique photo opportunity that people can tag on social media. With the recent trend of going back to hand-painted signs in downtowns, murals have become extremely popular. Commissioning local artists, if possible, is always a plus and contributes to the overall community ownership of the brand. • Sidewalk Signage: Meant for the pedestrian taking a stroll on the sidewalk, sidewalk signage can include markings on the sidewalk itself (either permanently painted or temporary, such as chalk or semi-permanent paint) or even simple sandwich boardstyle signs. • Banners: Banners are a simple and cost-effective way to promote the brand, especially at events, festivals, and for seasonal themes. They are also a great way to try out an idea, such as a mural, before committing to it long term. • Storefront Windows and Hand-Painted Signs: The retro hand-painted signage of our childhoods is making a comeback, as residents and visitors crave a more authentic experience when they choose where to visit and live. Washington County already has plenty of hand-painted signage on its buildings, so adding more that conveys the brand’s messaging just makes sense. • Gateway and Welcome Signage: This signage should reflect the new Washington County brand. Individual communities may also want to change their gateway and welcome signage to reflect the new look. Directional signage, such as signs pointing the way to Washington County, should also display the new logo, colors, and typefaces. Billboards with county and individual community advertisements should be visually consistent with the colors, fonts, and logos created through this community-wide branding process. These projects can be expensive and take time to implement.

Rebranding Printed and Embroidered Materials Washington County promotional materials, such as printed brochures, maps, flyers, and local magazines will also need to be updated with the new Washington County brand. This takes time, so update when budgets allow or when supplies run out. Other items that may be phased out and rebranded are county and city letterhead, stationery, business cards, uniforms, and even city and county vehicle decals. • Merchandise: People enjoy purchasing items from the places they have traveled and lived, especially if they tell a story about that experience. Choosing merchandise that reflects a place’s culture and character is important, helping to differentiate one place from any other. Branded merchandise is also a great way to get the Washington County brand out there for the world to see!


Co-Branding Opportunities Co-branding is a marketing partnership between at least two different brands that are independent providers of goods or services. This collaborative marketing effort is beneficial to both the county and the other entity. Sometimes there may be opportunities for Washington County and its eight communities to co-brand with each other, during an event, or with another organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce. The following are some of the popular Washington County events that could easily incorporate the Washington County brand into their promotional efforts. • Events Downtown Farmer’s Market, Sandersville, May through Thanksgiving Kaolin Festival, Sandersville, October Tennille Barbeque Blast, September City of Davisboro July 4th Festival Haunted Manor of Davisboro, Late September through Halloween Occupation of Sandersville, October Washington County Rodeo, Agriculture Center, Tennille, April Robert Veal Memorial Youth Coon Hunt, Deepstep, January Teen Maze, Washington County Schools, March • Traditions Highway: Washington County is one of five Georgia counties located along Highway 15, or Traditions Highway. The mission of Traditions Highway is “to inspire and encourage travel along beautiful Highway 15, travel from Florida to North Carolina… while visiting quaint Georgia towns and cities…” Washington County could update and strengthen its brand identity on Traditions Highway print and online materials by using its new branding tools outlined in this document.

Marketing and Advertising

Now that Washington County and the eight communities within (Davisboro, Deepstep, Harrison, Oconee, Riddleville, Sandersville, Tennille, and Warthen) have a consistent message and visual identity, the county and individual communities should develop marketing and advertisement campaigns geared toward the target markets they wish to attract. The county should work to identify appropriate outlets such as local and regional magazines, websites, newspapers, and tourist destinations where printed and web-based promotional materials can be placed. • Swag: An acronym for “stuff we all get,” swag is the promotional items on which the new Washington County brand will appear. There are endless possibilities for swag, but items shown in the Brand Application section of this report represent ideas identified during the public input sessions. Swag, or any promotional item, should be chosen carefully to reflect the character of a place if possible, not just generic options that can be found anywhere. Swag can be handed out at special events or at specific locations, used for fundraising, or as a way to thank people. The possibilities are endless! • Videos: Making short videos, no longer than three minutes, can support your marketing plan while telling the story of your community. Be sure that the videos you post look professional and are true to your brand, showcasing your logo, tagline, and other elements of the marketing effort.


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Marketing Campaigns Successful community branding efforts will include several marketing campaigns aimed at attracting certain target markets. Here are a few examples of marketing campaigns that may benefit Washington County: • WACO Life Marketing Campaign: Washington County locals often refer to their home county as “Waco” (it’s pronounced just like the City of Waco, Texas). The WACO Life marketing campaign celebrates the Washington County rural lifestyle. Combined with a Washington County, Chamber of Commerce, or Development Authority logo, the WACO Life graphic can enhance lifestyle messaging and can be used in a variety of ways to target certain markets. With versatile messaging, the statement can change as needed, from “Just livin’ that WACO life,” to “Shop the WACO Life,” and “Create the WACO Life” and more. • Free and Cheap Things to Do: People are always looking for free and low-cost things to do. Adding a section to the Washington County website with a list of fun, family-friendly free things to do throughout the county could help promote the county while being thoughtfully inclusive of people from all income levels. The website could display a top 10 list of free and cheap things to do, along with beautiful photography, much like the City of Augusta. www.visitaugusta.com/things-to-do/free-things-to-do • #ShopWACOFirst Campaign: The #shopWACOfirst campaign is led by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce as an effort to promote Washington County’s local businesses. During the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, supporting local businesses became more important than ever. This marketing campaign can easily be incorporated into the new countywide brand by simply changing the look of #shopWACOfirst materials to match the county’s new brand identity, as well as incorporating some of the new brand messaging.


Signage was distributed throughout Washington County communities in spring 2020 during the #shopWACOfirst campaign.

Evaluate Results • Ask visitors “How did you hear about us?” to gain insight into how effective your marketing efforts have been and what ways they could improve. Find out where people are already visiting from and what they are doing while they are in town. Create a database of information to better understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. • Track “likes” and follows on social media accounts. Make note of who shares your information. • Build on what is already working. If people are already visiting Washington County to fish and hunt, what else would that target market like to do? Ask new residents why they chose Washington County to be their home and protect the assets that draw people here.

Brand Usage Approval Process • Decide who can access brand files and who can use them. Some communities opt to use a brand usage request form that must be approved by the brand manager (in Washington County, the brand manager is the Chamber of Commerce) before brand files may be used. • Enforce brand style guidelines if the logo or other supportive graphics are used incorrectly or in a context not approved by the brand manager (such as hate speech, in a discriminatory manner, or any way that is detrimental to Washington County’s image). • See page 128 for a brand usage approval form template.


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Appro val form for t he us e of WASHINGTON COUNTY LOGOS Organization: ________________________________________________ Contact: _________________________________ Phone Number: (____) ____ - _____


Date: ________________

Title: _______________________________________


Purpose of logo usage:

Logo(s) requested: Are you requesting the Washington County logo(s) for non-profit use?


Are you requesting the Washington County logo(s) for retail or for-profit use?

No Yes



Note: All requests will be submitted to the wAshiNgtoN CouNty ChAmber of CommerCe for review. PleAse seNd ComPleted form ANd ProPosed Artwork, desigN, or exAmPle of iNteNded u s e t o C h A m b e r @ wA s h i N g t o N C o u N t yg A . C o m .



Approved with changes


Comments: __________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ Reviewer’s Signature: ONCE THE REQUEST IS SUBMITTED WE WILL NOTIFY YOU VIA EMAIL WITHIN TWO BUSINESS DAYS.


CONTACTS, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS Washington County Brand Contact For any questions or concerns regarding the Washington County community brand graphics or visual identity, including usage of brand assets, colors, or fonts, please contact: Katie C. Moncus Washington County Chamber of Commerce 603 South Harris Street Sandersville, GA 31082 Phone: 478-552-3288 Fax: 478-552-1449 Email: chamber@washingtoncountyga.com Important Notice Use of this publication is subject to the following terms and conditions (“Terms & Conditions”) and all applicable laws. Terms and Conditions This publication is for the exclusive use by individuals and entities authorized to use the It All Happens Here™ trademarks. The trademarks, wordmark, and slogan (collectively the “Trademarks”) featured in this publication are registered to the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Nothing contained in this publication should be construed as granting by implication, estoppels, or otherwise, any license or right to use any Trademark featured in this publication without the express written permission by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Misuse of this publication or the Trademarks featured herein is strictly prohibited.


There’s a certain mysterious quality about a place that draws you in and keeps you — a place where the past is honored and the future is welcomed with great anticipation. A place where unity and “love for thy neighbor” still exist despite all the odds. It can’t be summed up to any one thing, but instead exists in a patchwork of small details, creating a feeling of belonging as big as the hearts of its people. It happens in Sandersville among the shadows of Spanish moss dancing over Old City Cemetery. It happens in the “white gold” found in the kaolin mines. It happens under the Friday night lights on the football field. It happens when neighbors come together to help a friend in need. It happens in the pews on Sunday morning. It happens every year at the Kaolin Festival, at the Davisboro fireworks show, and in the secret sauce at the Barbeque Blast. It happens over a Dairylane dipped cone on a sweltering summer day. It happens when you hear the train coming in Tennille. It happens in family roots that run generations deep in Deepstep. It happens in the whispering pines of Riddleville, and in the beauty and simplicity of days gone by in Harrison. It happens in the stories passed down about Oconee residents helping a poor farmer save his pig during the hardest of times. It happens when someone simply takes the time to say hello in Warthen. It happens when newcomers instantly feel at home and find themselves with more reasons to stay than go. With a diverse and overlapping history, culture, and local identity, the eight communities that make up this special place come together to chart a new, united direction for the future.


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