Welcome to Monday. The one sentence that everyone dreads hearing, yet they tell themselves regardless every week at their 7:00am alarm. This week at my own welcome to Monday pep talk I made a choice to do something creative. I live in, as I define, one of the greatest places on earth. One of the greatest places on earth that no one knows about I should add. And we face an issue that was brought to my attention a few months back. The issue is that it's hard to attract young professionals to a town like Houghton, which has no real branding outside of generics like “outdoor activities” and “historic” which are real gripping if you’ve never been anywhere else. I found it to be odd that a city like Houghton wouldn't value their own branding despite their dependence on tourism.
It is time that Houghton got a rework. Houghton is a town that deserves to be shared with the world and wasn’t being represented as the place it has the capacity to be. It gets a lot of flack for being too small town, too remote, and too long of winters. Which is not only tough for the town and the people in it such as the two universities, Michigan Tech and Finlandia, which almost double the population when in session, but also to recruit anyone to come here, live here, and work here. The town itself in order to run has to be attractive to everyone. College students who are spending their best 4 years of life here, young professionals who want to raise families, and tourists, for Houghton to thrive to its full capacity. I'm solving the problem of representing this place the way it deserves. A way that showcases what it is and why it's worth being a part of it.
So I started my research to find what makes this place special. I started by reflecting on what this place really is. Then move to pairing what Houghton had to offer, and matching it with the interests of college students and young professionals. The more data I gathered the more I realized there wasn't a story there. There were facts, and correlations, but there wasn't a story.
I threw out everything and started from the ground. I approached all of the young professionals ages 20-40 that I knew who either left and came back, or were a full remote transfer and asked them what the attracting points of this place were and why they landed back in God’s country. What I was upset to find at first is that nothing changed. They still listed the same things that I already knew. They liked the area because of all the outdoor activities and the ease of life. It’s Houghton, what did I expect? But that isn't enough to justify a move. Plenty of places have opportunities to explore a breadth of hobbies…. Where was my story?!
Then I found it.
It isn't about the things, the activities, or the places… It’s about the LIFESTYLE. Not only the available activities, but the availability of the activities. It’s that while every other man and woman in a suit from Wall Street to the Golden Gate is working for the clock to turn to 5 p.m. on a Friday, you can be on a boat, a bike, or in the backwoods on your skis after a 12 hour work day on a Tuesday. It’s that simple mentality switch of working for the clock vs the clock working for you and in Houghton the story is simple.
We don’t wait for the weekend.
It’s not about Houghton being just a vacation, because anyone who lives here knows you put in a 4 hour work day just to get your car out of the driveway in February. It’s about the people who live here and the lifestyle they have being one that doesn’t rely on waiting for them to do what they want to do. They go from the campsite to the office, and from the office to the boat or ski hill. They legitimately don't wait for the weekend to have a life, because it exists around them 24/7.
The Welcome to Monday project is simple. If you don’t like the conversation, then change what the people are saying. Where most people would fear the idea of being associated with the Monday morning grind, we welcome it. Because Monday represents one activity the way Tuesday will represent the next. Welcoming yourself to Monday is welcoming yourself to do whatever you want on that day because it's available. Welcome to Monday is the excitement in the week , and not the drag to Friday. Don’t get me wrong, we live it up on the weekends too… we just don’t wait for them.
In Collaboration with the project I worked with Elle Rowe and Marcus Smalls for the logo development and some idea generation. The goal of this project was to represent the town as a place that is not only modern and growing with our amazing community of young professionals, but also a place that is forever timeless and not just historic. The icon of the bridge that is centered is Houghton’s greatest landmark and in every way makes you feel at home as you first see it again after being gone for any period of time. We wanted to develop a logo that could really show off what Houghton represents. As much as we would like to bring Houghton to the modern ages, we could not ignore the years of history that this place carries with it. We added copper tones to the arms of the clock that reads 9:06 to represent the years of mining that have taken place. Then played around with the rest of the colors and fonts until we found something that was timeless, modern, and most importantly… Houghton.