A design challenge to increase vibrancy and expand opportunity in growing business districts.


Project: CoSign
Year: 2012
Cincinnati, OH
CoSign Cincy


CoSign is a creative placemaking toolkit for people-led neighborhood regeneration.

In 2012, the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation was searching for a platform to enhance economic activity and vibrancy in Greater Cincinnati neighborhood business districts, while leveraging the creative talent and resources of individuals from within the community. The foundation was also looking for a way to work with the American Sign Museum to expand their outreach into neighborhoods, and to create an infrastructure to train the next generation of local signmakers.

CoSign paired local business owners with local artists/designers and local sign fabricators to design and install a critical mass of unique, hand-crafted storefront signage in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood, an area seeing significant reinvestment and growth. Over the course of five months, CoSign engaged 52 local artists/designers in the development of 144 unique sign proposals for 19 Northside businesses. CoSign awarded 11 artists with a monetary stipend, educated them on the process of sign design, permitting, fabrication, and installation and provided the opportunity for their work to be displayed in a prominent public space.

The CoSign program was successfully piloted three times in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky business districts. In the fall of 2016, CoSign launched it's national pilot program. Two communities successfully completed the program in the fall of 2017: Iowa City, IA and Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines, IA.

Partners: The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation; The American Sign Museum; Alias Imaging; ArtWorks Cincinnati; City of Cincinnati

Team (Inaugural): Eric Avner, Josh McManus, Adrienne Cowden, Jim Guthrie, Tod Swormstedt, Leslie Alexander, James Heller-Jackson, Jeni Jenkins, Michael Stout