Eau Claire city logo

Eau Claire city logo (2020-present)

We’ve all seen cringe-worthy logos for businesses or organizations that make us scratch our heads instead of drawing us into a product or service.

Some are too vague, some are too busy and some unwittingly send an unintended message (google “worst logos” for some hilarious examples).

The newly crafted logo for the city of Eau Claire is not among this group. Last week local officials announced a new logo that’s simple, colorful, timely and welcoming.

“We like to think of our revitalized logo as a reflection of our history blended with the achievements of today and the vibrancy of our future,” read a news release from the city.

We share that sentiment. A somewhat recent Forbes story addressed the importance of having the right logo.

“The right logo says everything without saying a word,” it reads. “It connotes feelings of honor, trust, pride, excellence and integrity. It conveys a series of virtues and a set of values without pages of copy and a team of copywriters. It evokes a sense of connection between a brand and consumers.”

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The new logo for Eau Claire emphasizes the city’s natural beauty (rivers and trees), while also showing the urban aspect of the community with silhouettes of tall buildings and a new downtown pedestrian bridge that spans the Eau Claire River.

“It looks sharp, it’s colorful and I think it’s reflective of the changes we’ve seen in Eau Claire the last couple of decades,” Dale Peters, city manager, said in a Leader-Telegram story by Andrew Dowd.

Kudos to the late Brian Amundson, who worked for the city for 25 years and designed the previous logo, which had a remarkable run of around two decades.

RT Vrieze of Knorth Studios, who fine-tuned his skills at UW-Stout, designed the new logo, for which the city allocated $8,000, according to Dowd’s story.

It was money well spent.

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A strong logo is an important aspect of a city, business or organization’s branding efforts.

Many of us can envision the bar-and-shield logo for Harley-Davidson. Insider, an online media company, deemed the motorcycle maker as the most iconic brand in Wisconsin. An extended list of such noteworthy brands might also include Eau Claire-based retailer Menards.

On the national and international levels, Inc. magazine listed the top 10 “most memorable logos.” Setting the pace in the rankings was Nike, followed by Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, Pepsi, Amazon, Target and Starbucks.

Knorth Studios, a business just over 5 years old, has provided design services for local clients such as musical group Bon Iver and The Brewing Projekt. Vrieze’s work for the city of Eau Claire won’t get the same level of exposure as Inc.’s aforementioned top 10, but it’s certainly successful in depicting a commercially evolving Eau Claire without ignoring one of its greatest strengths — its natural resources.

Liam Marlaire, assistant editor