If I told you this morning I laced up my “Swoosh” sneakers and drove my “Bug” to grab a coffee at the “Golden Arches,” would you know what I’m wearing, driving and where I’m getting my java? Of course you would.
Branding is all around us and we pick up on it, even those of us who aren’t marketing professionals. From fast-food restaurants to our favorite sports gear and auto makers, logos can take on lives of their own. Sure, we all recognize large, international corporations like Nike, Volkswagen and McDonald’s, but even local branding can grow legs and earn some loyalty.
We’ve had a few local entities walk through identity changes in the past few years. For example, Colorado Springs rebranded as “Olympic City USA,” the new logo a fresh play on Pikes Peak in Olympic colors, debuting the city’s new look just a few years ahead of our new Olympic Museum opening downtown. Most recently, after 31 years, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox minor league baseball team is departing the area, leaving the Rocky Mountain Vibes in its place. The new team unveiled its name in the fall, along with its new logo — a “cool guy” marshmallow in sunglasses. The Vibes is in the process of updating its branding en masse, just in time for this year’s season at the former Security Service Field, which is also in the process of being rebranded (to what, we’re not yet sure, announcement coming any day, I’ve heard.)
Now, the Colorado state logo is getting a facelift.
On March 26, Gov. Jared Polis unveiled a new state emblem, saying it will eventually find its way to all relevant signs and documents state-wide, replacing the old one — a green peak that I definitely find iconic at this point — as agencies go about the normal process of changing out signs, websites and letterhead.
The new logo features evergreen trees and mountain peaks, joined by a large letter C, which Polis explained stands for “Colorado’s outdoor spirit and our natural resources.” The letter’s red color represents the state’s soil and rocks.
“The yellow represents the state’s abundant sunshine and the wheat of the Great Plains,” the governor added. “... The rich blue base, of course, represents our water, which is absolutely critical to our state.”
Perhaps the best part of the new logo is did not cost us a bunch of tax dollars. Polis did not spend any state money for the logo update. The image had already been developed and was being used on various items by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. Previous Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration raised $2.6 million in private donations and pro bono work around the new branding.
Polis explained the reason for choosing to rebrand: “In an effort to promote all (that) Colorado has and using the tools we have in the state, we wanted to provide a fresh representation of the state brand,” Polis said. I can certainly get behind this. I know branding is not the most necessary area of focus for state government, but I do think it does more than we give it credit for. A fresh logo communicates we care about our state, about promoting ourselves and touting our strengths and resources. It lets outsiders know we are inspired and inspiring; we are confident and growing, changing and becoming the best Colorado we can be. Kudos to our leaders for taking a bold — if simple — step to let us know they’re paying attention to the message we’re sending to the country, and to ourselves. Sure, it doesn’t essentially change who we are, but it helps solidify our identity and step into the future.
I’ve heard mixed reviews about the logo, and change is always hard. But I think this is a smart move for our growing state. I look forward to seeing it slowly trickle onto road signs, documents, letterheads and websites throughout the state.
What do you think of the new logo? Love it? Hate it? Let me know!
Hannah Maginot has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years and enjoys exploring the many neighborhood haunts and side streets of northern Colorado Springs. Send your feedback and column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.