I Dig Elgin header

I Dig Elgin Construction Poster Campaign

I Dig Elgin Construction Poster Campaign

Encouraging pedestrian traffic to a retail zone under construction

Encouraging pedestrian traffic to a retail zone under construction

Encouraging pedestrian traffic to a retail zone under construction

Elgin Street, one of downtown Ottawa's main thoroughfares, is undergoing a major construction project set to last 18 months. In preparation for the project, many of the street's small business owners got together and formed the 'I Dig Elgin' campaign with the aim to keep a fun, positive and inviting atmosphere throughout construction time.

As construction fences went up, I worked with the great campaign team to create a set of cheerful posters to brighten the construction landscape. 


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The main goal was to let pedestrians know that the street's shops, restaurants and cafes are still open while adding a touch of humour to the situation. The team was inspired by a construction campaign created by the Hartford, CT BIA, who gave them kind encouragement to create a similar campaign. The I Dig Elgin team came up with the copy - song lyrics and puns that related to the street or to construction - which became the main focus of the posters. 

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I started the design process by taking a long walk up and down Elgin with my camera to find any standout buildings or details that could be symbolic of the street. I was immediately drawn to the many churches on the street, the beautiful little details on the heritage buildings, and how the street is generally full of 2-story boxy buildings. 

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We decided to put all of the street's details together and create a little streetscape made of line art. The goal of the illustration was to be simple without showing any specific businesses, but immediately recognizable as Elgin Street. We used a bright yellow background to give the posters as much visibility as possible in various weather conditions and both day and night-time. We also used big, bold typography to keep the main focus on the copy and make sure it could be read from close and far.

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The campaign received overwhelmingly positive responses from the public, by word of mouth and social media. Some people's Facebook posts were re-shared over 1,000 times, and business owners reported having visitors who had come from Toronto or Hamilton just to see the posters.

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Client: I Dig Elgin, idigelgin.ca
Design & Photography: Barbara Kowalski
Printing: Katari Imaging



Layout Design, Illustration


Packaging Design, Illustration, Concept



Best Packaging Thesis: George Brown College

Student Competition Silver (Graphic Design): Advertising and Design Club of Canada

Merit Award: Graphis


Barbara Kowalski
Currently based in Ottawa, ON


Brand and Logo Design
Website Design
Ebook Design
Print and Layout Design

Packaging Design
Marketing Collateral


© Barbara Kowalski 2019