No action taken on new city logo; councilors still looking for input

Published 7:15 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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The Albert Lea City Council did not take any action Monday night about changing the city’s logo and is encouraging residents to continue reaching out with their opinions over the next two weeks.

Discussion about the logo has been met with differing opinions thus far, and the city last week hosted a public meeting about the issue to explain it in further detail.

Third Ward Councilor Jason Howland said not many people attended, but those who would like to watch the meeting can find it on the city’s YouTube channel.

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The current logo was adopted by the city in 1977 and was created by Marv Wangen, a former Albert Lea mayor and councilor, who was a professional graphic artist and owner of an advertising firm.

The idea came up as the council considers what to paint on the new downtown water tower.

The city had previously asked artists to submit ideas for the tower but found that the designs were all too detailed. The discussion then turned to whether to use the logo on the tower, and then former Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. brought up the idea of a new logo.

City staff worked with a marketing firm to generate concepts for a new logo and convened focus groups to review the concepts. A majority favored a completely new logo, though city councilors and city leaders favored an update or refresh, rather than a whole new logo.

City staff have stated the new logo has to provide a brand identity and be simple enough to use in a broad range of sizes, including as small as on business cards and uniform patches on up to city vehicles, equipment and water towers. City staff want to retain some elements of the current logo to avoid invalidating the logo throughout the community on other water towers and on metal work in places such as Fountain Lake Park and downtown.

City Manager Ian Rigg said the city has only spent less than $3,000 on the logos so far and expected to only spend another about $750 once approved.

The logos would be updated immediately on things such as the city’s website, social media and the city seal in the Council Chambers, but would otherwise be gradually replaced over time when new orders are placed for supplies, vehicle signs and uniforms, as well as facility signs and equipment.

Rigg said discussions have come up about the colors of the proposed logos. He said the saturation of the existing colors has been turned down to see if would make the logo warmer, but he said some have commented that it makes it look fuzzy.

There are still several things that need to be discussed, he said.

Sixth Ward Councilor Brian Anderson said he had heard from a handful of people on the issue but would still like to learn more.

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker encouraged people to speak up and tell the councilors what they think.

Fourth Ward Councilor Sherri Rasmussen during the workshop before the meeting said she has received numerous contacts from people about the logo. She questioned the tagline “Lake.Land.Life” that is in both of the proposals and said it reminded her of the film, “Eat Pray Love” with Julia Roberts.

She said she wanted to make sure there was enough of an update instead of going simply from a 1970s design to one from the 1980s.

Rigg said the council needs to make its decision at the March 13 meeting as that is when the choice has to be made on what is going to be painted on the new downtown water tower. He said if a decision is not made at that time, the city will move forward with having the existing logo painted on the tower and then the issue might as well be put aside.