Issaquah unveils salmon-centric city logo

August 21, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The triangle is out. The salmon is in.

Issaquah leaders plan to phase out the longtime city logo — a triangle and stylized As meant to evoke the Issaquah Alps — and use a salmon-centric emblem instead.

Issaquah’s updated city logo (above) replaces 11 former logos used to represent the city, and municipal departments and boards.

The shift comes as the city and a contractor complete a monthslong effort to overhaul the dated municipal website and forge a more modern image for city government.

The streamlined website should debut before year’s end, but in the meantime, city leaders offered a glimpse at the effort to create a brand for Issaquah. The result is defined by a salmon in mid-leap, a grass-green hue and a landscape meant to evoke a cityscape surrounded by mountains and a creek.

City leaders set out to create a logo design “that represents our community’s dedication to sustainability,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. Hence the choice of green as the predominant color.

City Council members authorized up to $125,000 for the website overhaul. Staffers chose CivicPlus, a Kansas-based company behind more than 900 local government websites nationwide, as the contractor for the project.

So far, city officials spent about $50,000 on the redesign, including $7,000 to develop the logo.

The logo total includes development of designs for business cards, envelopes, letterhead and a style guide to instruct staffers on the logo’s proper use.

Autumn Monahan, city communications coordinator and the point person on the redesign, said the timing made sense to update the website and logo simultaneously.

“With the redesign of our website, this was a great time to also get a fresh look for our logo,” she said. “It was important to us that we have the same look and feel on both our website and our logo.”

The mayor unveiled the logo to the council and the public Aug. 6.

What to know

Residents can expect to see existing logos for months and years to come, until current stationery and vehicles need to be replaced.

“This is not something that’s going to happen across the board immediately, but as we use up our old logo stationery, we’ll then be moving on to this,” she said.

In addition to the predominant triangle logo, municipal departments and boards used a mishmash of other emblems. Frisinger and Monahan said the existing array of logos created confusion.

Expect a gradual change

Residents can expect to see the fresh logo soon on utility bills, business cards from city employees and officials, and correspondence from municipal government.

The changeover is projected to occur over several years, as officials make routine replacements of stationery, equipment, vehicles and other supplies.

The process should resemble the transition in King County, as agencies continue to change from the old crown logo to the Martin Luther King Jr. portrait after officials adopted it in 2007.

“We’re not going to be throwing away our existing products,” Monahan said. “We’re not going to be changing over our vehicles right away.”

In the future, for instance, the salmon emblem could adorn the sides of Issaquah Police Department cruisers, municipal snowplows and other vehicles in the city fleet.

The logo change comes as the city embarks on a beefed-up economic development effort and reorganizes City Hall to streamline government operations. The website redesign is meant in part to create a recognizable brand for the city.

Designers chose a curved shape and a swooping Q to suggest a sense of movement in the logo.

“We have Issaquah Creek and its tributaries moving through our community. We have I-90, which is a river of its own sort, moving through the community, and we are a community that is always progressing in very positive ways,” Frisinger said.

Monahan formed a committee and collected ideas in a survey distributed to department chiefs, city employees and elected leaders. The salmon emerged as a favorite symbol early in the process.

“It is a true icon for Issaquah that is easily recognizable, even when the logo is printed small,” Frisinger said. “Shrink this logo down considerably and you can still see that there’s a salmon there.”

Frisinger, a longtime Issaquah Salmon Hatchery docent and president of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, injected some salmon-related humor into the logo unveiling.

“And for those who are following it, this is a naturally spawning salmon,” she said. “It has its adipose fin on it — a big thing for some of us in the community.”

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2 Responses to “Issaquah unveils salmon-centric city logo”

  1. Connie Marsh on August 23rd, 2012 8:03 am

    Well the logo shows the conflict anyway, I-90 (looks oddly like a bare bottom), sprayed on green and then buildings with a fish applied to the surface. We talk about Salmon a lot, but when it come to choosing to protect the habitat and maintain it the political will and funding sort of goes away…just like the logo…a salmon facade.

    Instead we remove funding for transit (200 bus) and support more and wider roads while claiming that we want a different way of life with transit, walking and biking. So I-90 with a paste on fish…is oddly realistic.

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