March 29, 2017
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Courtesy Santa Fe County

3 Questions

with Maggie Macnab

December 14, 2016, 12:00 am

Santa Fe County wants to rebrand. On the left is our current logo, and your local government budgeted about $99,000 to develop the design on the right, outsourcing the work to GumCo, a marketing company in Utah. On top of the designs, GumCo suggested two new taglines. For marketing: “Step Outside the Limits.” For government: “Stand on Higher Ground.” County commissioners will have the final say on the new art. We asked Maggie Macnab, a local designer who offers consulting on logos, what she thinks.

What are your initial impressions of these logos?
On the plus side, the current logo carries visual content specific to the Santa Fe area in both historic and current contexts. Relevance creates meaning, essential to establish a relationship with the audience. However, the current design contains a disjointed group of elements that don’t communicate effectively as a whole. No one should have to interpret a logo. A good logo creates an immediate impression with simplicity and depth. A great logo amalgamates a few essential elements that are integrated seamlessly and specifically to the client. Without doubt, the proposed logo is universal—so much so it is almost completely devoid of meaning. It could represent a healthcare or sports organization, a restaurant, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, the Dakotas ... almost anything, anywhere in the world. It is akin to clip art and a waste of the client’s investment. Part of the problem was the Committee’s decision to send this design out of New Mexico.

Which do you prefer?
I would stick with what we have, which has more pluses than minuses compared to the proposed logo design, but this design is also lacking.

What are your initial impressions of the proposed taglines?
‘Step Outside the Limits’ would not be reassuring to some and I don’t feel this message communicates in a positive enough way. I like ‘Stand On Higher Ground,’ as it contains the double entendre of literally describing our elevation and implies the figurative ethical association as the governmental seat of the state.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the designer's last name. It's Macnab, not McNab.

 

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