New Community-Designed Banners Adorning Baltimore Avenue

New Baltimore Avenue banners displayed on light poles.
Aug 16, 2022 21 months ago

Have you noticed new pops of color along Baltimore Avenue? This past week we installed 70 new banners promoting the commercial corridor between 45th and 50th. The banner design was selected as the winner of a contest we held in the spring of 2020, but fabrication and installation were delayed due to the pandemic. Finally, after over two years, they’ve found their homes flying above the avenue.

We developed the banner competition in partnership with members of the Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA) back in February of 2020. The previous banners, also the result of a design competition, had faded and needed a refresh. Early in March of 2020, we put out calls for submissions for new designs and formed a committee consisting of members of BABA and UCD staff members. We were looking for submissions that captured Baltimore Avenue's spirit and rich culture.

We received over a dozen great submissions from local designers and artists, each with a unique vision for how to represent the vibrancy of Baltimore Avenue. We set up a blind voting process for judges to rank each submission on the visuals, colors, and connection to the neighborhood. Ultimately, the design (pictured to the left) from Emily Frank, a graphic designer who lives in Cedar Park, emerged as the clear favorite.

Emily and her husband, who has done work with both the University of the Sciences and the University of Penn, moved to West Philadelphia in 2019 shortly after getting married. She credits a friend who lived here and would frequently describe her home as "West Philly Best Philly." After arriving in the neighborhood, Emily could see the appeal. "We love it," she says. "I love the look and feel of this place. I love that you're in the city, but it's definitely a neighborhood feel too. I love Clark Park and the trolley line. There really are so many special things about this area."

When Emily (pictured right beneath one of the newly installed banners) saw a post online about the banner competition she decided to submit a design. Her goal was to deliver something colorful that reflected the look and feel of the homes and storefronts along Baltimore Avenue. She studied the finer details of the buildings so she could reflect the unique architecture in her design. "I liked having a multi-color approach because I feel like this community is diverse and interesting, especially along Baltimore Ave. It's businesses, it's residences, restaurants--there's something for everyone." 

We'd like to thank the designers who submitted their concepts to the contest, and to the members of BABA for their assistance along the way. See the new banners, produced by Swirling Silks, for yourself along Baltimore Avenue!