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Given the amount of controversial legislation rushing through the state Capitol these days, you might have thought a relatively innocuous rebranding would go unnoticed—or even be a welcome reprieve—when Governor Jared Polis unveiled Colorado’s new logo on Tuesday. But if that’s what you were thinking, you don’t understand how prideful Coloradans are about their brand—and how willing they are to sound off on social media.
Shortly after Polis revealed the colorful new logo at a press conference, he posted it on social media, explaining: “The green tree represents Colorado’s natural resources and spirit, the red represents the red soil and rocks, the yellow represents the state’s abundant sunshine and wheat of the Great Plains, the blue represent water, the lifeblood of our state, and the two peaks represents our many mountains.”
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But his announcement of the rebrand, which replaces the green triangle that’s served as the logo for the past six years, drove Coloradans to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere to offer their feedback. Some people love the new logo. Some people hate it. Some people appreciate the effort but think the design is critically lacking. To get a better sense of the reception, we polled our social media audiences and asked our in-house design team for their reaction to the hip new logo.
The majority of our respondents on Instagram, 56 percent, actually voted that they “Love” the logo, while 44 percent said they “Hate” it (those were the only two options). On Twitter, we gave our followers four options: Love It (33 percent), Hate It (15 percent), It’s Fine (39 percent), and *Insert California Joke* (13 percent).
When we asked our followers to comment on the logo, we received a variety of responses ranging from the heart emoji to the toilet emoji. Many people expressed general apathy, noting the old logo never bothered them and they don’t necessarily understand why a rebrand was even necessary. “Honestly, I don’t care,” wrote Jo Sears on Instagram.
However, most people who criticized the logo zeroed in on the tree in particular. “The tree looks out of place. Good otherwise,” wrote Justin Kieth. “Tree looks like an afterthought,” wrote a user named @m5280m. On Twitter, Jim Licko asked the following: “Why’s that clip art tree lurking behind my printer’s color calibration?”
To get expert analysis, we also turned to our in-house art department. Associate art director Sean Parsons, a Colorado native, noted that the tree looks like a felt Christmas cut-out and that some of the color swatches used for the rest of the C and mountains are default in Adobe Illustrator.
Dave McKenna, 5280′s art director, noted that while the tree feels tacked on, it’s also not integrated with the flag C or fractal mountain shapes, and that it would look cleaner if the bottom angle of the C was at the same angle as the mountains. Amanda Croy, associate art director, pointed out that while the logo works as a standalone piece of art, it doesn’t pass the two basic logo tests: Can it be reproduced well in black and white? And can it be reproduced at .5 x .5 inches (the size logos frequently run)?
One upside of the new logo, though, is that it replaces something that wasn’t widely revered. The green triangle was often compared to a hazmat or recycling sign. However, the green logo integrated nicely with other triangle-shaped logos used for various state agencies. Shelby Wieman, deputy press secretary for the state, says new agency-specific icons are also being developed and should be completed in the coming months. Meantime, the rollout of the new logo will be gradual. The old logo will be updated (on trailhead signs, etc.) on an as-needed basis through normal replacement cycles, Wieman says.
Moreover, according to Wieman, the new logo was originally developed for the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office during the Hickenlooper administration, so it only required minor tweaks to update it—a process she says took about a month. Because it was developed by state employees, there was no additional costs to taxpayers, and additional printing costs are expected to be minimal because state printer lockups are already multicolored and a single-color version of the logo is being developed, as well.