Joe Weber and his team at F8 Creative knew they weren’t going to make everyone happy with the new logo they designed for the city.
However, Weber explained at Monday’s Spencer City Council meeting their process does its best to base their work on objective input from diverse sources.
“We don’t ever expect to be able to please everybody,” Weber said. “And certainly that’s why we follow the process that we do and we’re very careful and strategic about the way that we approach it. We are very careful to rule out some of those sort of personal opinions that might come into play when we sit down as artists to collaborate on a project and go back to the objectives at hand and the task that we’ve been given. And we take that very seriously.”
With a 6-1 vote, the council approved F8 Creative’s work, allowing the city to begin implementing the new logo. Ward 3 Council Member Steve Bomgaars was the only vote opposed, though he did so more to reflect comments he had received than as an expression of his own opinion.
“I think if I had time to explain to them all the symbolism involved, they’d get it,” Bomgaars said. “But I have received a lot of negative feedback.”
Bomgaars noted that the new logo is a significant change.
“It’s fresh, it’s different,” Bomgaars said. “It’s a lot different from where we’re coming from. But I want you to know that there are a lot of people out there who are not enthusiastic about this.”
Other city council members spoke highly of the new logo.
Ward 4 Council Member Leann Jacobsen said she appreciated F8 Creative’s thoughtfulness and collaboration throughout the project.
“I think this is something we can be very proud of,” she said. “It’s fresh and as we compete with the world for people and families, I think it really represents so many of the things you spoke of.”
Symbolism and an Easter egg
Weber delivered a presentation to the council on Monday that dove into the creative details and symbolism of the new logo.
The process, he said, involved meetings with city staff, the city council, the Grow Spencer Commission and other community members.
“Business owners, members of organizations, long-time citizens, new residents to the community, some younger families and older folks,” Weber said. “What we tried to do is have a very diverse representation of the community.”
All the notes from those meetings and F8 Creative’s own research pointed to keywords that made their way into the logo’s final design. Some of those top keywords included community, hub, welcoming, historic and culture.
Most prominent element in the mark is the monument from the Grand Avenue bridge.
“The lines and shapes of the monument itself are honoring the Art Deco architecture and we see a lot of those in our architecture down Grand Avenue, as well,” Weber said.
The logo draws imagery from the Grand Avenue bridge, too. Also found in the logo are elements suggestive of the trails and river near the bridge.
Weber said another term that came up in their research and interviews a lot was “gateway.” The Grand Avenue bridge is symbolic of that term.
“It’s a gateway to the lakes area, again it’s a regional hub,” Weber said. “And so the bridge together with the monument seemed like a very fitting representation of a lot of those main ideas.”
F8 chose shades of blue, green and purple that Weber said connected to Spencer’s identity. The blues represents the rivers, while the greens point to strong agricultural ties.
The tones are also fairly bright or “feel-good,” as Weber put it.
“We’ve chosen colors and hues of colors that are very vibrant, energetic and, in addition, they’re very welcoming,” he said.
There’s an Easter egg, or a hidden element, located at the bottom of the logo. The white space there creates a hidden “S.” The pointed bottom of the logo is also similar to Spencer Community Schools’ shield logo.
“It’s not an overt thing,” Weber said. “It’s sort of that hidden Easter egg there that gives us a little bit of an identity.”
As for the logo’s shape, Weber explained that its appearance of a map pin suggests a “point of interest.”
“We’re sort of stating here that Spencer is the place, Spencer’s where you want to be, Spencer’s where things happen,” Weber said.
Weber said one of the primary objectives F8 Creative looked at when they began the process was the “need for Spencer to participate actively with a brand in the process of promoting ourselves as a community as a marketing effort.”
The city’s marketing effort, Weber suggested, attracts new businesses, retains businesses and helps grow the community.
“That overall rounded marketing effort is a very important aspect of the work we undertake,” Weber said.
Council votes to approve, implement logo
After a motion was made to approve the logo, Bomgaars motioned to table the decision to allow the city to post the video F8 Creative put together explaining the logo to its website.
He said that may give people time to understand the logo’s design better.
But council members Bill Orrison and George Moriarty both said they did not receive any negative feedback.
“I’m totally opposed to tabling it,” Moriarty said. “We’ve done a lot of work on it. Spring starts in two days. What a wonderful thing to do is a have a new logo for spring. So I’m voting for it.”
Orrison said that the Grow Spencer Commission and F8 Creative have gone through a good process for redesigning the logo.
“Everyone likes progress, nobody likes change,” Orrison said of those who will inevitably voice their displeasure with change. “I think that’s one of the issues.”
Bomgaars’s motion to table was defeated 5 opposed and 2 in favor. Council member Tom Nelson joined Bomgaars by voting in favor of tabling.
Nelson then joined the rest of the city council in voting ot approve and implement the logo.
New logo implementation will be gradual
City Manager Amanda Mack was asked how the logo will be implemented.
She said it will first appear on city social media accounts, the new website that’s in development and the printed materials that were part of the agreement with F8. Broader implementation, such as on vehicles and signage, will happen more gradually.
“It’ll be not an immediate full rollout, but we have some things in place that’ll happen pretty quickly,” Mack said.
Orrison asked that city staff come back to the council with an implementation plan and some cost estimates.
Feature image: The new logo for the City of Spencer as designed by F8 Creative.