Visalia’s new logo: what the public told the Visalia City Council

The Visalia City Council moved quickly to get the issue of the city’s maligned new logo back on the agenda, allowing a community discussion regarding how to move forward.

Though this is an evolving issue, residents are ready to jettison the new logo while the city council is suggesting the possibility that the new logo can be “updated.”

City officials unveiled the new logo on May 7, and after receiving a barrage of negative comments on social media, the council voted at their May 20 meeting to put the issue back on their regular agenda.

“Logo discussion and potential direction regarding the new City of Visalia logo” was the last agenda item on the June 3 council meeting held at the Visalia Convention Center.

Mayor Brian Poochigian apologized for the late night – the discussion went from 9:15pm to 10:30pm – but he said he didn’t want to put the issue off any longer.

City council listening – but everyone is not on the same page

Though the city council listened intently to the 20 residents who spoke during public comment, what the council voted on – and what the public wanted – were two different things.

Three consistent themes ran through public comment: the new logo is geographically incorrect, ugly and needs to be discarded; the council should solicit local artists to design a new logo that has the essence of the old one; and, residents felt the council didn’t do a good enough job of communicating with the public.

Julia Jump Doyal said her dad, Hugh Jump, was a fireman and on his downtime at the station he would draw. He drew the Visalia logo that was adopted in 1960, she said.

Her dad’s logo was the second of six that has been adopted by the city since 1948. But he was never given credit because he designed it on city time.

“I think he would be turning over in his grave if he saw the logo today. It’s cold, it’s sterile. It does not capture Visalia,” said Doyal.

Doyal said the city needs to keep the design of the new logo local so another family can feel the pride she has for her dad.

April Lancaster suggested that the city revert back to the old logo adopted in 1998 for the time being while launching a local campaign to design the new logo.

Rita Verde suggested the city have the Arts Consortium organize the effort to design a new logo and wondered why the city didn’t contact them in the first place.

Of the three marketing companies that submitted a bid, We The Creative (WTC), Topograph, and Archer & Hound, Visalia resident James Alves thought it ironic that Topograph, Visalia’ small business of the year last year, came in a close second to WTC an Irvine company, but still wasn’t chosen.

“I don’t think the community knew what was going on,” he said.

“So many of us missed what was happening. We did not get a chance to give our input,” Ila Benedict said. “It (the new logo) doesn’t even say Visalia.

While each council member expressed how they “missed the mark,” they didn’t seem ready to let go of the new logo.

Council member Emmanuel Soto suggested the city ask the Arts Consortium to help organize an effort to “modify the new logo.”

Council member Steve Nelsen said that “we need to take it from a one to a five” by making the new logo correctly depict the area’s agriculture and the Fox Theater.

“The new logo wasn’t perfect but we just need to adjust it more and find a happy medium,” Poochigian said.

Residents by far preferred the logo adopted in 1998 but understood its drawbacks. Commenters floated the idea of the old logo becoming the city seal but were not sold on the idea that Visalia needed two logos — though the idea seemed to resonate with the council.

Nelsen said that his business had two logos and city staff pointed out that Fresno along with other cities had two logos. All the council members expressed a desire to explore the idea of having a legacy logo in addition to a modern, easy to reproduce new logo.

Nelsen made a motion to approve Option #3 and Option #5 as presented by the city staff. His motion carried 5-0. They were:

#3. Retain or modify the current logo to be used when the medium being utilized warrants it, and retain the previous logo as a Legacy Logo that would be utilized in situations where it can be appropriately displayed and its detail clearly denoted.

#5. Open the brand refresh logo design process again and create a process wherein local artists/graphic designers can submit designs, (that align with the requirements of a scope of work/design), have those designs reviewed by a panel of local graphic and marketing professionals, with a selection of final logos presented to the community to be voted on via community meetings or digital voting methods. The Council could then consider the results and make a final selection.

The next step is for the city staff to collate everything discussed during public comment and by the city council members and bring it to a future meeting.

“Now we need to make a plan,” said City Clerk Michelle Nicholson.

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