Our view: State's logo needs time to catch on
Herald editorial board Let's start by saying we neither strongly dislike nor rousingly applaud the new state logo and slogan being used by the North Dakota Tourism Division. The logo was unveiled late last year and replaces the longtime "North Da...
Herald editorial board
Let's start by saying we neither strongly dislike nor rousingly applaud the new state logo and slogan being used by the North Dakota Tourism Division.
The logo was unveiled late last year and replaces the longtime "North Dakota Legendary" logo. Designers didn't veer too far from the first version; the new logo simply says "North Dakota. Be Legendary."
The message may be similar, but the look is a bit different: It is simply those four words, written in basic script that varies in size, with "Dakota" being the largest.
Evidently, the new logo isn't sitting well with some in the state, including state Rep. Marvin Nelson, D-Rolla, who said "everyone I talk to absolutely hates the current logo."
"This is supposed to brand our state for the next decade or so, and I think our tourism industry's too important to have this out there as the image of North Dakota," he said in a recent Bismarck Tribune report.
Nelson has introduced a bill that would direct the state Department of Commerce - which oversees the Tourism Division - to open a contest for entrants to create a new logo. The bill mandates the new logo be ready in time for the state's 2020 travel guide.
House Bill 1457 would appropriate $90,000 to reward contest winners, including $50,000 for first place.
Nelson said the new logo looks like someone created it with a basic computer program on a standard business card. That's a bit harsh.
Sometimes, simplicity is the design and we believe that's what the designer - and therefore the Tourism Division - was seeking with the new logo. The new brand was created by an outside consultant for $10,000 and is the result of the division wanting a "refreshed" brand, according to Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman.
Dissatisfaction with a new state slogan and logo isn't unique to North Dakota. Last year, an uproar arose when Nebraska unveiled its new slogan: "Nebraska. Honestly, it's not for everyone." That slogan causes a wince at first, but it was created in a self-deprecating style, and when seen in practice - people hiking, rafting and so forth - it's actually quite catchy. And since The Washington Post ranked Nebraska last in a survey of states travelers are least likely to visit, the Nebraska Tourism Department didn't have much to lose.
We tend to agree with former Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad, who said in 2016 that a slogan doesn't make a state.
North Dakota's new logo and slogan are basic, but to the point. We don't believe it ranks with "Explore Minnesota" or South Dakota's "Great Faces, Great Places" slogans, but it's not too bad, either.
Since it only cost the state $10,000 and since it's already in place, we suggest holding on to it for a while, saving the $90,000 and waiting to see if it catches on. Also, $50,000 for the winning design in a state-sponsored contest seems too high.
However, Nelson's idea about opening a contest and awarding modest prize money is a good one - for next time.