Since the 1990s, the city of Farmington has been represented by a logo featuring a bridge straddling the Vermillion River, with a couple pines in the background and the slogan “A proud past — A promising future.”
Now city officials are considering a 21st-century update.
“I just want it to be a little more simple,” said Mayor Todd Larson. “I want it … to show that we’re willing to grow.”
City officials had heard from a marketing firm that the bridge-and-pines emblem was too busy, he said.
The city is in the early phases of the project. An attempt at rebranding in 2015 resulted in options no one liked; officials weren’t convinced that any of the images presented embodied the growing city of 23,000.
And a City Council work session earlier this month failed to come up with a design preference.
Lauren Siebenaler, the city’s communications specialist, sketched out six concepts for discussion at the May 7 session. Two featured prominent letter Fs for Farmington, two showed farm silos and two featured abstract shapes, including a blue wave.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t really like any of them,” Siebenaler said. “I went out on a limb with a silo — it didn’t go over that well.”
Council members decided they preferred something “simple and flowy,” Siebenaler said. She said she will come back with modified designs this summer, when the council revisits the topic.
Council Member Katie Bernhjelm said that while she supports refreshing the logo, adopting a new design is “a huge project that requires a lot of time and thought.”
If city officials decide to move forward, they would likely hire a graphic designer to perfect a concept they agreed on. The project isn’t included in the city’s 2018-19 budget, Bernhjelm said.
Council members took a look at logos recently adopted by other metro suburbs. They agreed that St. Louis Park’s logo, showing a trio of upright blue waves, was a model, Siebenaler said. Hastings’ logo, with its outline of a historic building, an orange arch and blue waves below, also interested them.
Eagan officials last fall unveiled a new logo for their city: a simplified deciduous tree with prominent branches and leaves, enclosed in a circle. The cost was $75,000, city staffers said.
It replaced the city’s previous logo, also a tree (though some residents said it looked more like a broccoli stalk). In fact, four consecutive Eagan logos have featured what the city website calls “a strong, independent tree.”
Allan Peters, a nationally known graphic designer who lives in Eagan, created the newest image after conducting several focus groups. He tried to combine concepts that participants mentioned as essential to Eagan — growth, cul-de-sacs, hills, technology, diversity. The tree represents an actual oak tree that once stood at Lone Oak Road and Hwy. 55, he said.
Peters urged cities seeking new logos to spend time in the development phase of the process, engaging residents and determining what makes the community unique.
“In the end, the logo is a visual representation of the culture of its inhabitants,” he said. “It is important that it be able to stand the test of time and be easily recognizable.”
Brooklyn Center debuted a new logo last summer as part of a rebranding effort to improve the city’s image. It shows roadways emanating from a line of houses and the slogan, “At the center,” which according to city officials is intended to emphasize Brooklyn Center’s location and accessibility in the metro area.
Farmington city officials aren’t entirely convinced a new logo is needed. Council Member Robyn Craig said that there’s no timetable for the project and added it was possible that the logo won’t change at all.
Larson said that he doesn’t think a city’s logo is all that important compared with other issues in city government. He also said that he’s run into older Farmington residents who don’t want the current logo to change.
“I find it interesting that they care that much,” he said.
But Siebenaler said she believes that logos matter.
“It all plays into the relationship people have with their city,” she said.