Industrial Heartland Trails Brand

Case Study

Brand Identity, Brand Strategy, Civic Branding, Co-Branding, Parks and Trails, Stakeholder Engagement

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy develops trail networks that enhance the social, environmental, economical and public health of communities. One of its key projects is The Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, the largest proposed trail network in the country, an off-road system of more than 1,450 miles throughout five states, targeted for completion in 2035.


With 1,450 miles of shared-use trails running through 53 counties in five states, the diverse Power of 32 regional collaborative recognized it needed a new name—a true brand—that could unite individual organizations under a single vision and serve as a platform for future growth. With up to 50 stakeholders involved, Guide Studio’s charge was to give voice to each player and to draw connections among them to create a brand for this diverse trail system.

“The branding helped galvanize the Industrial Heartland Trails coalition because Guide Studio led a very inclusive process, talking with our partners in person. The marketing pieces built from the vision, name and logo have been invaluable and are delivering ancillary benefits.”

Eric Oberg,Director of Trail Development, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Industrial Heartland Trails Discovery Session


  • Stakeholder engagement and Discovery workshops brought key organizations and communities together for stakeholders to identify common goals, shared vision and hopes for the future.
  • Guide Studio created a variety of brand name options to unite the trails through 53 counties. “Industrial Heartland Trails” was selected because it speaks to the industrial heritage of the communities involved—the one common thread they all shared. This name allows for creative flexibility with iterations such as I “Heart” Trails, which would be implemented through marketing campaigns.
  • A logo was established to align with the name and serve as a visual mark for communities to embrace. Together, the name and logo provided Industrial Heartland Trails a solid brand platform—a real backbone for growth.

“Ashtabula County had never passed a public parks levy before, but they used the Industrial Heartland Trails name and logo in their marketing campaign to show what the public’s votes would help support. The branding is universally appreciated and gives our partners a platform from which to explain their purpose at a regional and national level.”

Eric Oberg,Director of Trail Development, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

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