Mixed Emotions Over Proposed Austin City Logo

Created: 03/31/2014 5:58 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- If you had to sum up your community with an image and a couple of words, what would it look like?

A task force in Austin is in the middle of that process right now … and the results are mixed.

"What we were looking for was branding, and branding is a specialized area of community design," said director Laura Helle of the Vision 2020 project in Austin.

When a community task force went looking for a logo that told the story of Austin, the result was a stylized rectangle over the words “talent packed”

“We wanted something clean and simple, we wanted something that looked toward the future, not the past," Laura Helle explained.

It's the creation of a Twin Cities consulting firm, with local input.

"We really wanted to see something that many community organizations could embrace. The city of Austin, CVB, DCA, chamber and so forth," Laura Helle told us.

But when we asked on our Facebook page what you think of the proposed design, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative, with comments like boring, too plain and "waste of money". And many people raised concerns about the shape of the logo itself ... a top-down view of a SPAM can.

"And it's so subjective that 50 percent will probably like it, and 50 probably won't," Austin city council member Steve King told us.

But while the Facebook posts were against the new logo, the people who agreed to talk to us on camera saw the logo differently:

"We can be glad we have a growing corporation in our city. A lot of cities don't have this."
“So this would be a good choice for the logo."
“This is what Austin is noted for."

"We need to acknowledge Hormel because it's so deeply tied to our history, it's so important to so many individuals here," Vision 2020s Laura Helle said.

And Hormel has already been acknowledged in the community, from Holton intermediate school to the Hormel historic home, the Spamtown belle and elsewhere. And when the consultant looked at Austin's strengths, it found that *talent* went beyond actors and musicians.

"It's chefs, entrepreneurs, yoga instructors, librarians," Laura Helle said.

“In the end I think if it wasn't for Hormel I don't think we'd be the city we are," city council member Steve King said.

And that’s something unique to Austin, Minnesota.

"We knew it wasn't something that Austin, Texas could adopt or any other community could adopt because it's so specific to us," Laura Helle said.

The Austin city council still needs to sign-off on the adoption of the proposed new logo.