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Chatham premieres new logo

Posted Monday, December 4, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - After getting input from more than 100 residents and employees, Chatham County has developed a new logo as the first step in revamping its county website, but the logo will eventually be used on other county materials. While the logo is complete, the website’s redevelopment is just getting underway.

Chatham County, NC logo

“The main reason for doing this is that we have not had one consistent graphic image to represent Chatham County, even though both a detailed drawing of the historic Superior Courthouse and the county seal have been used most often,” said County Manager Charlie Horne.

“The extensive details in the courthouse drawing make it very hard to use on a small scale and the seal looks a great deal like other seals used across the state, including the State of North Carolina seal.”

Another issue is that the county’s name also has been produced in various colors and font types over the years, with limited consistency, Horne added. “As we were preparing for a major website redesign in 2007, we suspected that we needed a more distinct, updated graphic image that would identify the county more easily.”

Residents and employees involved in the project echoed the need for real logo, said Debra Henzey, director of Special Projects in the County Manager’s Office. Henzey worked with Michael Bradley in the county’s Management and Information Systems Department to convene input sessions of residents and employees this summer. Another 76 people provided input through surveys.

“Surprisingly, both groups generally agreed on colors and themes for the logo. Blue and green were the runaway favorites for colors. Earthy colors, such as orange or brown, also surfaced as a strong recommendation. These colors are consistent with the new county welcome signs and people believe they represent the importance of farms, rivers and lakes in Chatham County.”

As to themes for the images, the historic courthouse, rivers, lakes, agriculture and rural life surfaced as the top recommendations, Henzey said. ”No matter where people lived in the county, the majority felt that the courthouse in Pittsboro was an important image for the county.”

However, people also made it clear that they “wanted a modern, clean look to convey these images, not an old-fashioned scene,” Henzey added.

The county provided this input to a graphic design vendor selected through a proposal selection process. The selected vendor, webslingerz, Inc. based in Carrboro, worked with a small hard-working team over several weeks to develop a logo that met considered this feedback as well as other criteria related how well it could be adapted for various uses.

Henzey said that “after talking with other local governments that already have been through the logo design process, we realized that we would be lucky to end up with a logo that a majority of people would like, if not love. Any logo and its colors are such subjective choices and evoke different impressions from each viewer.”

The selected logo includes “a somewhat abstract rendering of the cupola of the historic Superior Courthouse, a prominent placement of the county’s name and a series of wavy lines in colors that represent the waters, greenery and soils of the county,” Henzey said. We have an option of using a version with “North Carolina” in it to avoid confusion with other Chatham counties across the nation.”

In the end, the colors used and the overall style is consistent with the welcome signs, which were actually designed several years ago, Henzey said. “But, the selected design is more suited for use as a logo. It also is easily translated into a version for black ink only.”

Horne concluded that “we know that not everyone will love the logo and some will still wonder why we really needed one. That is an understandable reaction. But, we do hope that most folks will like it and that it will start to become a faster way for residents to identify their county government.”

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