Improving Community Engagement Through Design

Even with happy, healthy communities, fostering sustained engagement from residents and visitors takes work. Strategic planning plus good design — that’s the ticket! Good thing those just happen to be two things we love working on with clients. Let’s take a look at some ideas.

Show off

Let your community know that you want to engage with them everywhere they look. We recently heard about the idea of decorative crosswalks and couldn’t be bigger fans. It adds an artistic touch to an otherwise pedestrian street (pun intended) and lets people know that this city values their walkers.

Creative signage is also a great way to achieve this. The most effective signage clearly informs but also grabs attention. Our City of Round Rock clients created signs such as the below to let people know about construction happening around the city.

Something big

We’re always up for a celebration, and nothing brings people together more than a party. Sponsored events show your community that you care. Most people (especially those with kids) look for things to do on holidays and appreciate having a place to congregate and celebrate, whether it’s a parade, concert or fireworks show. Plus, these community gatherings offer plenty of opportunities to get a message across or tell people about your organization (more on that below).

Another idea is storytelling. Though some of the most engaging stories are small in scale, getting them out to your community can have a big impact. One of our clients did this on their recent website relaunch.

Constant reminders & calls-to-action

Events offer an important opportunity for engagement in the form of takeaways or collateral at a time when you know you have an attentive audience. Planning a new citywide initiative? Have collateral on hand so people can become more informed, but don’t forget the fun stuff, too. Here are a few ideas of branded items so people leave a celebration with a lasting impression: aprons, bag clips, bottle stoppers, playing cards, whistles, hangers, crayons or holiday decorations.


Its own form of engagement, a community’s online environment serves an important purpose. As we’ve pointed out with the other community-engagement activities, anything posted on social is most useful when it’s easily understood — good design and a strategic approach keeps this working for you.