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Colorado College, wanting to better tell its story, has a new logo

February 9, 2016 Updated: February 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm
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The new Colorado College logo shown Tuesday, February 9, 2016, on banners hung near Cutler Hall on the CC campus. The banners hang along Cascade Avenue and Nevada Avenue near the campus. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Banners flashing a new institutional logo for Colorado College have appeared on poles along Uintah, Cascade and Nevada avenues in recent weeks.

"We felt like we could develop a mark that could better tell our story," said Jane Turnis, vice president for communications at CC, a liberal arts college north of downtown Colorado Springs.

A square, a triangle and a circle are incorporated in the updated look. The square represents CC's block plan, the academic schedule in which students take only one class every three-and-a-half weeks. The triangle symbolizes CC's place in the Rocky Mountain west, and the circle points to the fullness of the student body and staff.

After getting input from students, faculty, staff, alumni and board members, the college hired Studio/lab, a Chicago-based design consulting company, to create the final concept. The three geometric shapes appear in a subtle way against a gradated light-gold background and two letter Cs.

"You don't go, 'Oh my God' because it's sort of like 'Of course' in some ways. It seems to make sense, which is what you want," Jill Tiefenthaler, CC's president, says in a video about the new logo.

The Tiger mascot used for the college's athletic programs is not changing.

The new logo is part of a $300,000 communications plan and "identity project" that started one and a half years ago, Turnis said.

Along with developing the logo, the push to improve communications has included redesigning the alumni magazine, updating the website, organizing the college's brands and working with consultants.

Turnis would not say how much the logo itself cost, nor what it will cost to replace signs around campus. Although CC is a nonprofit organization, it is classified as a private nonprofit and does not disclose how much it pays contractors, she said. The school hired two marketing firms; the first, Victors and Spoils out of Boulder, assisted with the research phase.

The last time the college had the logo redesigned was in 1998, when it bore two script letter C's with the year of its founding, 1874, beneath them.

"It was hard to reproduce and read the icon," Turnis said of that image.

In 2011, the slogan, "A unique intellectual adventure" was eliminated, and the logo was pared down to just square-block lettering forming the name of the school.

Signs on buildings around campus bearing the old logo will be prioritized for replacement during this calendar year, Turnis said, and business cards, letterhead and other materials are adopting the new look.

The school's board of trustees gave preliminary approval in November and final approval in January, by an email vote, Turnis said.

"We have not done a really excellent job communicating about our uniqueness," board member Brian Thomson says in the video.

The new logo will help not only attract students but also donors, according to the video.

Another local educational institution, Falcon School District 49, redesigned its logo last year to represent a new direction in developing "49 Pathways" for students to graduate.

"Brand identity can be an expensive endeavor," said D-49 spokesman Matt Meister.

D-49 spent less than $1,000 on its new logo, he said, as it was part of a contract the school district had with its website vendor. Sign replacement will be a slow, gradual process, he said, depending on when signs age.

People like it for the most part, he said.

"Any time you change something, there are some people who won't like it," Meister said. "I think it represents where we are as a district and where we're going in a more modern way," he said of the image, which also features a mountain silhouette.

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