Iowa City Municipal Airport
Brand Strategy / Brand Identity / Brand Expression / Web Design / Events
Retaking Flight
The Brief
Can a brand refresh renew a historic airport’s connection to the community?
The Opportunity

Iowa City is home to one of the busiest municipal airports in the state. Despite this, too many people in town were unaware of the airport’s storied history and the amazing things that have occurred there. And even less about its economic impact. FUEL got to work to ensure this storied past was not forgotten while inspiring the next generation of fliers.

Brand Strategy

FUEL helped the client refine a core purpose around the airport’s economic, educational, healthcare, cultural, and recreational opportunities throughout the area. This would provide the blueprint for the airport going forward by defining vital attributes of the brand as well as key drivers of future success while maintaining connection to the past.

Brand Identity

First up: creating a new logo for the airport. The FUEL team designed a mark that would feel at home in the modern world yet gave a credence to the airport’s history.
IOW logo logo clearspace requirements
IOW brand colors

Brand Expression

Next came the building out of a cohesive brand expression, including color palette and typography. Since the original building featured Art-Deco architecture, FUEL selected fonts with a timeless quality that still give a nod to that era.
IOW flight training iconography
IOW iconography details
The style established in the logo was carried over into a set of icons that speak to the airport’s offerings. These gave guests a quick read into the range of services you could expect to find there.
IOW custom iconography symbol set
To help generate excitement, FUEL knew that Voice and Tone would bring personality to the airport’s communications. Yes, there’s compulsory ways of communicating the necessities required by travelers and pilots. But there’s also ways of going about piquing interest and encouraging people to take another look.
Aviation is a fascinating field. And what better way to inspire and kindle new dreams and ideas than with breathtaking imagery?
Airport photography examples

Web Design

For years, the airport relied on a single page on the city hall website. FUEL helped the airport build a standalone site that was both highly useful to pilots and visitors to Iowa City, but also to solidify the airport’s position as an economic engine for the area.


In an effort to build closer ties to the Iowa City community, a new viewing area gives visitors the opportunity to experience the airport firsthand. We developed a welcome sign for the entrance to this area where flyers can be posted to inform the community about upcoming events. Infographic panels posted around the viewing deck provide educational and historical information about the airport, the community, and aircraft you might see from the viewing area. 

IOW Community brochure


Want to rally support? Throw a party. The team created IOW 100: Celebrating the First Century of Firsts. This event would open the airport to the public and let people explore the depth of offerings on their own terms. Marketing the event took on a multi-faceted approach.
IOW T-shirt front and back

The new branding featured prominently on apparel Introduced at the event. It is still available for purchase in the airport for those visiting or traveling through.

IOW promotional poster displayed
FUEL extended the campaign’s reach into the streets of Downtown Iowa City with engaging Out of Home advertising. This utilized interesting placements near areas with high foot traffic, as well as banners to capture the attention of commuters.
IOW 100th Anniversary banner
A social media campaign helped raise awareness of the 100 Year celebration while helping to grow the base of followers on the airport’s social platforms. This is how you create connections that last.

To create a historical artifact for years to come, FUEL published a hard-bound book commemorating the 100-year milestone that chronicled the historic feats that had taken place at the airport as well as imagery preserving moments from the IOW 100 event.

IOW Anniversary celebration book


Iowa City Airport ADAI awards

Best of Category | Logo Design

American Advertising Awards

Excellence Award | Online / Interactive

ADAI 64th Annual Design Exhibition

“The team at FUEL was exceptionally easy to work with. They listened to our objectives and developed a strategy for achieving them. Traffic at the airport has continued to increase.”
— Michael Tharp
Bill Bollman
Creative Director

Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.

Hometown: West Union, Iowa
Involved in Design and Marketing since 1988
Interests: Fitness, Travel, Movies