State Democrats shot down a Republican proposal that would have let voters decide the fate of Colorado’s new logo, a green triangular mountain that encompasses the letters “CO,” on Feb. 4. It was a victory for Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose office has raised $1.5 million in creating the “byColorado” logo.
The day before the House hearing, Hickenlooper announced that 250 Colorado companies had registered to attach the logo to their products. Companies participating in the program include Crocs, located in Niwot, Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing Company and Boulder’s GoLite, which opened an Aspen location this fall.
Carbondale’s Republican state representative Bob Rankin, who proposed the vote, has likened the new logo to a carbon-monoxide symbol. Other critics have expressed disappointment that the state flag wasn’t considered. According to Hickenlooper’s staff, the state flag wasn’t in the running because the “C” is easily confused with California and Chicago logos. Additionally, the flag’s frequent use in the public domain weakens its effect.
Colorado’s Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Kennedy, who Hickenlooper hired to lead the campaign, said the rebranding is a global effort to attract talent, trade and tourism to the state, uniting agencies and companies under one graphic identity. More than 20 state government departments now are using the logo, in addition to the 250 private companies that have signed on.
“This logo is not meant to supplant or replace the Colorado flag,” said GoLite co-founder Kim Coupounas, whose company opened its Cooper Street mall location in November. “The green mountain is meant to help Colorado companies distinguish themselves or differentiate themselves as a Colorado brand.”
She said her company has used, and will continue to use, the state flag on its merchandise and T-shirts. The byColorado logo, which she said is a separate thing, will be displayed as a 6- to 10-inch sticker in GoLite storefront windows.
There are a number of sticker options, including the phrases “Colorado Made,” “Colorado Grown,” “Colorado Designed,” “Colorado Company” or “Colorado Employer.” The official slogan “It’s Our Nature” is reserved for trade-show events and the like, according to the logo’s website brandcolorado.gov.
“When you have a logo, you’re guaranteed to have a certain number of people who hate it,” Coupounas said. “It’s only over time that people start loving it because they see it in places that mean something to them.”
She said if people knew the time and effort that has gone into creating the logo, they would buy into it. The campaign began in 2011, when Hickenlooper announced his plan to bolster Colorado’s economy, which included the goal of rebranding Colorado. In creating the logo, Kennedy, the founder of Broomfield-based Noodles & Company, gathered input from a council of advisors, a group of creative designers around the state and thousands of residents.
“I’ve been in business for 25 years, and I’ve never seen an effort that was that comprehensive in its desire and actually in engaging the full set of stakeholders that would want an opinion on it,” Coupounas said.
Kennedy’s goal is to have 1,000 companies participating by the end of the year.