When we discussed the Making Colorado project a few weeks back, we weren’t too impressed with the logo decisions. Now, one of the three has finally been chosen – and people aren’t nearly as happy with it as they could be.
A Mountain or a Street Sign?
Our initial reaction to this logo, designed by Evan Hecox, was that it looked too much like a road sign. Colorado isn’t all about the road construction, but this logo certainly seems to make it look that way. A few Facebook users felt the same way – but then again, they didn’t really like any of the other logos better.
The main problem a lot of Coloradans seem to have with the logo is it’s simplicity. As Businessweek put it, this looks like an $800,000 piece of clip art. It’s not that it’s bad, or even a mismatch for our state – the color green and the snow are reminiscent of our license plates – and, of course, our iconic range of mountains. But the logo itself doesn’t have a lot of originality, and doesn’t describe the countless things that mean Colorado.
Why the Flag Lost Out
The protests against our lovely new triangle have one thing in common: that we should be sticking to the flag. So why didn’t we stick to it? Two words: brand recognition. A poll showed that most US citizens thought the Colorado flag actually belonged to Chicago. That simple “C” needed some extra kick to help it stand out. And now it’s a triangle.
If your brand isn’t being recognized, something needs to change. Sometimes, that just means adopting a new marketing strategy. Sometimes, you need an entire re-branding, complete with a logo and slogan. (Our new slogan appears to be “It’s Our Nature.”) It’s pretty easy to agree that Colorado needs an updated image, but not so easy to decide what that entails.
The positive side to this new logo is that we aren’t abandoning our old image entirely. Those green, snow-capped license plates are, in some cases, the most Colorado-themed branding anyone outside of the state has seen. Our new triangle brings the license plates to mind, making it easier for those outside of the state to recognize.
In the end, this branding process wasn’t really for the citizens of Colorado; it was for the rest of the country. It’s simple and iconic enough that even someone outside the state could recognize it. We know who we are, but other Americans might not. So while the logo isn’t perfect, it just might be able to do it’s job.
As a side note: designer Andy Moore pointed out that the triangle looks an awful lot like the Sugarloaf logo. It’s scary close, isn’t it?