FAIRBORN — City administration has opted to launch a new brand, including a new logo and motto, despite previous citizen and council push back.
In a press release sent earlier this week, the city said it would incorporate a logo that leaders hinted would be used just for economic development as its new symbol.
“A brand is about a feeling,” City Manager Deborah McDonnell said, adding that the old logo has been in place for approximately the last 20 years. “The old logo [inspired people to think of] the parks. We want to be thought of differently.”
The new Fairborn logo includes five converging lines that form what city officials describe as the wings of a soaring bird, which they say is a nod to the community’s history related to flight and ties to aerospace and defense. The new logo includes a “colorful spark” which is said to ignite the others to soar higher, just as city officials feel that it ignites its own community’s growth and future, according to a press release from the City of Fairborn.
Council member Terry Burkert said he has been against changing the logo from the beginning.
“The old one we had best represents Fairborn,” he said. “I don’t think the new one represents Fairborn or [our] community. It looks like the Sprint logo … All the people I’ve talked to about the new logo say it sucks.”
The re-brand conversation dates back to 2012, according to McDonnell, but the prospect of launching a new brand became more prioritized when council joined the conversation during work sessions last fall. The city opted to work with Ohio-based advertising and marketing agency Upward Brand Interactions to develop the new brand, gathering the community’s input via surveys and conversations.
According to the release, city leaders consulted with citizens, business owners and the Fairborn Citizen’s Revitalization Steering Committee as the new brand was developed.
Burkert said the surveys went out to about 400 individuals, who were not presented with an option that indicated satisfaction with the circular logo.
“I’m upset with the way council went about doing it,” said Fairborn citizen Jean Strand. “It was a forced survey that lead citizens to think we had a voice when we really have no voice.”
Strand added that she has a background in research and research methods and asked approximately 90 citizens along Main Street sidewalks if they preferred the new or old logo, which Strand said all but two responded that they preferred the old logo.
Council members began receiving email messages from citizens and some community members started speaking up at council meetings.
However council did not vote on the change. McDonnell said council votes on legislative decisions and said the new brand was not a legislative decision.
The release said that combined with a new slogan, “A City in Motion,” the brand echoes the strong characteristics of Fairborn as a municipality “where growth and opportunities are limitless,” the release said.
However, some community members feel that if something isn’t broken, don’t try and fix it.
“There was nothing wrong with the old logo,” Fairborn citizen Mary Pacinda said. “I think we have better things to spend our money on. Why would you repaint your house when the [current] coat of paint is good to go?”
The former city logo, a circular design featuring trees and a flying plane, will be used in reference to Fairborn’s parks system. Burkert feels that it best represents the community because he said it includes representations of its Wright-Patterson Air Force Base neighbors, the city’s parks system and ties to the Air Force.
But McDonnell said incorporating a new brand means incoming businesses and citizens will realize that Fairborn is moving forward, that it is a different community prospective Fairbornites can feel good about.
“Our growth and improvements in recent years have made a significant impact on our community. This growth, in conjunction with the city’s strategic plan, led us to better define who we are, what our goals are and what we would like to achieve,” McDonnell said in the press release. “We have changed how we do business to attract investment and build our city. This investment will support building a community that allows us to offer new opportunities. We are evolving, and this brand reflects that we have the spark for change and growth.”
But some disagree.
“I don’t think the new logo will have much of an influence on anyone coming to Fairborn,” Burkert said. “People will come in, see our parks and community, and they’ll realize [the circular logo] is accurate. You can understand what it’s saying.”
The new logo will will be painted on the water tower visible from Interstate-675 as well as printed on the city’s letterhead, documents, emails, business cards and marketing items. And as time goes on, the new logo will find places on new city vehicles, signage and uniforms.
The cost of changing to the new logo is currently unknown, but Burkert said he understands that the items utilizing the new logo in the future would have eventually been replaced, therefore implementing a new logo would not pose a big expense.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.