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Vision 2020/city leaders: Thanks for feedback on logo

By Janet Anderson, City Council; Judy Enright, City Council; Laura Helle, Vision 2020; Kelly Lady, Austin Utilities; Stephnee Leathers, Vision 2020 volunteer; Jeanne Wilkinson, City of Austin staff

The Community Branding Task Force, an ad-hoc group created in 2013 by volunteers and leaders in the community, wishes to thank Austin residents for the feedback on the proposed Talent Packed community brand.Austin-logo

Since the design was revealed on March 17, there has been a tremendous level of input from the community. Austin is a place where people are engaged and invested in their community and the response we’ve seen proves that.

We want to take this opportunity to share the background of the project. In early 2013, it became clear that the city of Austin and Vision 2020 would be investing in many items that would be highly visible both inside and outside our community for years to come including the city of Austin web site, bike trail signage and visitor navigation signage. In addition, Austin’s community presence on the internet was perceived by potential employees and residents as disjointed and uncoordinated. With the ‘Growing Together’ tree logo and SPAMtown USA materials now over twenty years old, the time was right to adopt a fresh brand.

Community leaders discussed the situation and agreed that a coordinated approach to create an umbrella brand to unite and serve the City of Austin, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Development Corporation of Austin was needed. Funds were contributed by the Hormel Foundation, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Austin and Main Street Project.

Rather than designing a logo just for the city, we sought a complete brand for the whole community. The brand would reflect Austin’s history, point of differentiation and strategic position in the region.

We sought a firm with experience in branding — a specialized area of communication design. After a competitive search, we contracted with Haberman of Minneapolis who also had experience with this type of project. While we recognize the many talented graphic artists in Austin and Mower County, the scope of this project went beyond just designing a logo. We were looking for a complete branding system that included a brand platform with written content, multiple identities for different organizations, the logo, color palette, fonts and usage guidelines that contained co-branding recommendations.

We sought community input in the process with the My Three Words survey which was open to the public and promoted from May to July 2013. The project was kicked off with community meetings on Aug.7 and 8, 2013. More than 100 residents attended three meetings held over those two days. The Haberman team interviewed about 50 people they met on the street or in the course of touring our community and attending the Riverland Community College production of SPAM-a-Lot.

The result of this community input was a set of criteria for the brand: clean/clear/simple, flexible/useful, differentiating and modern. The task force worked with Haberman to design and select an identity system that met those criteria. We delivered that system, known as ‘Talent Packed’ and represented by the blue can-top logo to the City Council as requested.

We look forward to speaking with Mayor Stiehm and the City Council to discuss the next steps in the community branding project. Thanks to Austin residents, our city leaders have a good picture of how the project has been received in the community and are prepared to act accordingly.