proposed redesign of the Hamilton County courthouse logo by Dustin Teachnor - Hamilton County Highway Department

Current Hamilton County logo

How does it stack up?

The Good

- Functions well as an "unofficial logo" for use on all types of stationary and documents -

- Simple design, easy to read and discern what it represents -

- The focus of the graphic is the historic courthouse, which is both recognizable and conveys a sense of history & stability -

The Bad

- The design is outdated and the courthouse appears photocopied / busy / messy -

- No longer represents the true character of Hamilton County as a modern, top-tier municipality -

- "Eagle & Shield" is typically associated with the executive branch of the federal government -

- Impossible to embroider or engrave on to any medium (too busy, always needs to be simplified) -

- Several different versions are floating around and being used by different departments -

a few examples of the different county logos in use

why do we need to redesign the county courthouse logo?

- We need to Act the part... Update the design to better represent the County. -

Hamilton County has the reputation of being a well-run municipality that has garnered national attention as one of the best places to raise a family and ranks high in quality of life. Much is expected of how we present and conduct ourselves; Our brand image should give credence to that notion.

- Uniformity. Get everyone on the same page. -

Institute the use of a style guide (example below) for departments to follow in regards to how the county logo is to be used on all forms of correspondence, informational handouts, internet applications, signage and vehicles.

sample style guide - instructs on correct & incorrect branding practices

Reasons for a new design continued. . .

- Boost morale among county staff. -

Though subtle, a change in something as simple as a logo can affect the "pride in ownership" that employees should take in making sure they are serving the public to the best of their ability. A new look may give employees something to be proud of.

- An updated design will give us the ability to embroider / imprint the county logo on all types of apparel, branded items, signage, etc. -

Currently, departments obtain county-branded apparel / items on their own. From department to department, the resulting look is different depending on what business they used to "simplify" the design for embroidery. An updated county seal with an accompanying style guide will enable us as a county to coordinate the production and purchase of county-branded apparel / items while at the same time allowing for each department or employee to pay for the items themselves. (See below)

Lands' End corporate identity solutions
Screenbroidery, a local company - eCommerce corporate storefront solution

what are the characteristics we're looking for in a new county logo?

- It needs to be simple & modern. We want people to look at our logo and know it's Hamilton County at a quick glance. Busy does not equal good design. -

- Recognizable. We still want to use the Historic County Courthouse as the main element in the county logo. The Historic Courthouse is iconic and lends itself to the idea of stability. -

- The redesigned logo must be versatile. Specifically, the Historic Courthouse element needs to be simplified and cleaned-up in order to be used on different mediums and applications. The design should be constructed using a vector-based based software that will enable maximum flexibility for exporting to different formats depending on need. -

- Timeless. Will the new design stand the test of time, or will we err in making it too trendy? -

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the new proposed county seal

Same elements, different layout depending on the use
image courtesy of Byron Settles

Background of the design

The Historic Courthouse was digitized by hand using an image taken by Byron Settles of the Planning Department (picture above). Byron is an experienced photographer, and did a nice job capturing the Courthouse in the correct light and at an angle suitable for this use. The fact that the logo is based on an image taken by a county employee is both meaningful and prudent. No one will be able to step forward and claim that the graphic was based on an image that they produced.

The design was produced using Adobe Illustrator CC graphic design software. This is important to note because it means the graphic was constructed using a vector-based format which will allow for infinite scaling without loss of detail or pixelation.

No loss of detail - a huge upgrade from the current seal

Because the native format of the new design is vector (line) based, we can export to any format that is needed depending on the application. The current logo is raster (pixel) based, which hinders its usefulness for several applications.

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The new design incorporates the existing font and form of the header found on the Hamilton County website. (Montserrat font - a free font type from Google)
a sample updated header for the Hamilton County Twitter page
a sample updated header for the Hamilton County Facebook page
sample letterhead
Sample Business Card
Logos from other municipalities in the county. With exception to the City of Carmel, the cities have modernized their brand in the last few years.
Proposed new Hamilton County Seal

My hope is that this proposal goes a long way toward upgrading the county's image and brand.

Here are just a few more final thoughts to think about regarding the re-branding process...

  • First and foremost would be cost. Once a design is agreed upon, how would we move forward in implementing a new county logo on everything from stationary to vehicles? Would it be a slow phase-in or a more aggressive move toward a new look? An inventory would need to be conducted before those questions could be addressed.
  • Department cooperation. Would the departments be willing to adhere to a style guide for the sake of cohesion and uniformity?
  • Who would oversee the implementation of the new seal throughout all the departments? Who would coordinate and streamline the process for purchasing county-branded materials?

These are just a few of the questions that would need to be answered if we are going to be successful at adopting an updated county logo.

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- for taking the time to consider this proposal -

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Questions or further discussion? Please feel free to contact me:

Dustin Teachnor - Asset Manager

Hamilton County Highway Department

317.770.4481 (direct office line)

Created By
Dustin Teachnor

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