County to launch new brand January 1

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The new year will see Benton County launch a new brand and visual identity. On January 1, 2021, the County will begin to shift its current branding theme to one that is modernized, dynamic and built around the community it serves.

The new brand will include an updated logo, color palette and consistent fonts. The updated colors come together to create an all-seasons palette that will allow departments artistic license while remaining aligned with the overall brand aesthetic.

Following the brand launch on January 1, the County website will have a new look and feel, but the content and layout of the site will remain the same. A video previewing the brand, and the geography that inspired it, can be viewed on Youtube. A new video featuring the full County logo will launch on January 1.

New to this branding effort, the County has launched a brand liaison program to train County staff from across all departments on topics like brand identity and how to use branding elements. These brand liaisons will have a key understanding of branding components as well as a practical understanding of how the brand will work for their own departments.

“Having a consistent, professional and polished visual aesthetic can help advance the reputation of the services we provide,” said Joe Kerby, Benton County Administrator. “The County logo has not been refined or even altered in over thirty years, so we decided to look at our entire brand and bring it in alignment with our communities’ values and vision.”

The current County logo was launched in 1988 as part of the centennial celebration.

 

Background

Seeing the repeated need for a modernized, more dynamic brand, Benton County began the process of redesigning the Benton County logo and establishing a brand and visual identity in early summer 2019.

Madison Avenue Collective (MAC), the contracted branding and design firm, began the project by performing a regional competitive audit, reviewing historical internal documents and strategic planning research and reports, and gathering stakeholder input. MAC conducted numerous interviews with County leadership, employees and members of community-based groups/organizations. An intentional component of the stakeholder input process was capturing historically underrepresented voices and perspectives by strategically and intentionally selecting community-based organizations, including but not limited to the Linn-Benton Health Equity Alliance, Casa Latinos Unidos, and the Benton County Mental Health, Addictions, Developmental Diversity Advisory Committee.

The first phase findings were reported to the Board of Commissioners at their October 2019 Goal Setting meeting. The three key findings of this phase included:

  • Be cognizant of and consider avoiding symbols that disenfranchise historically marginalized communities.
  • Focus on imagery and messaging that is both aspirational and authentic to the experience of residents and visitors.
  • Explore an updated, modern image of the courthouse and imagery that represents the natural areas and/or people of Benton County.

From there, Benton County and MAC began the iterative design process. This process began with the presentation of mood boards incorporating examples of style, color, and font type to establish a preliminary direction for initial logo concepts. Based on input from the Board of Commissioners, MAC  developed six initial logo concepts. The Board selected four concepts to advance to stakeholders for input.

MAC conducted stakeholder interviews on the final four concepts. Based upon this stakeholder input, MAC refined two final concepts for the Board of Commissioners to review and discuss at the February 2020 Goal Setting meeting.

The Board advanced one concept for refinement and finalization, and MAC presented the final concept to the Board of Commissioners during a Board meeting at the end of February 2020.

Following the Board’s approval of the Benton County logo in February 2020, the new County brand and visual identity was scheduled to launch June 1, 2020. However, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic that entered Oregon in February 2020, the County determined to delay its branding and visual identity launch until January 1, 2021.