The City of Aspen is proud to announce that it has developed a new brand and logo for the organization. The goal of the new design is to create more cohesion within the government and to communicate a united visual message to Aspen’s residents, visitors, and businesses.
“The City of Aspen delivers unparalleled services to our community,” says Sara Ott, Assistant City Manager. “It’s important that both our residents and visitors know that those are government services that their tax dollars are supporting. Having a consistent identity through our logo and branding helps people recognize the value they’re receiving for their tax dollars here in our community.”
The roots of the project began in 2013 after Steve Skadron was elected mayor and noticed the City did not have a unified graphic look and no written guidelines for use of its visual materials. In 2016 the rebranding effort got underway with a series of internal and external stakeholder interviews, and included members of the community, members of the City’s boards and commissions, City Council members and staff. This phase was conducted by Barnhart Communications, a national branding firm.
“The City of Aspen has nearly 20 departments offering unique and valuable services, but when I opened the newspaper and saw ads for all that we do as a City, no two ads looked alike. There were separate logos, separate looks and it was confusing,” said Steve Skadron, Mayor of Aspen. “We need to communicate to the community all that we do and make it clear what the City is offering and how much value we provide to residents and guests. An identifiable symbol expresses our values and is a more professional approach. It was time to both refresh our look and create more standards about how we communicate that look going forward. The City is of course a strong community, but also needs a strong brand.”
Through stakeholder engagement the values that came to the forefront included: progressiveness, community, leadership, environmental stewardship, respect for the past and vision for the future. With these concepts prioritized, KissaneViola Design of Aspen, set to embody them in a new design.
While the City chose to pay homage to the history and iconography of the leaf, the idea was also to move forward and add more complexity to the design, visually and conceptually. The notion of incorporating a forest into the design was a priority, as an aspen grove represents community, as the roots are one system but each individual tree represents its own unique strength and personality.
“Our team really kept in mind the values that the stakeholders shared with us,” says Katie Viola, designer and partner of Kissane Viola. “We wanted to incorporate a grove in the graphic to represent the interconnected community that Aspen is. One department in the City can’t work without another, it’s the same as a community. So, we have the past represented in the leaf but there is also a modernism to the look for our vision of the future and a nod to the Bauhaus tradition. It also speaks to Aspen as being an artistic and creative place.”
Michael Stout, a designer at KVD, tapped his experience in community engagement in working on the logo. “Designing for a large and diverse public audience means seeing things from different perspectives and attempting to embody the sometimes conflicting values the public represents. Our challenge was to create a logo that embodies the public’s input and values in a way that will be meaningful today and well into the future.”
“I wanted the logo to be simple and timeless and I think we captured that. It’s really hard to create a logo that embodies your values and still have it be simple. It’s intricate and delicate and strong and beautiful, too,” says Skadron.
From now on, the City will be using the new logo, with specific logos for each department, for all its branded materials and present a more unified look and visual message to the community.