City of Noblesville updated logo greeted with public outcry

Mayor Chris Jensen said the square design is symbolic of the downtown square, and the star brick pattern is a historical marker. The blue tones represent the White River and Morse Reservoir. (Submitted image)

The City of Noblesville opted to change its logo, a decision that was met with an onslaught of negative social media comments.

Mayor Chris Jensen said the city originally began discussing changing the logo last year when he took office in January.

“We have a lot of opportunities for branding coming forth with the State Road 37 overpasses and different infrastructure projects, so we wanted to take a step back and look at how our logo representation was,” Jensen said.

Jensen said the current logo, an image of the historic courthouse in downtown Noblesville, had been the logo since 2011. Prior to that, the city seal was used as the city’s trademark.

“We wanted something we felt was scalable, and people ask what that means, and that’s something that looks good on business cards and letterheads but also on bigger items such as infrastructure projects,” Jensen said. “Oftentimes, in the marketing world, if you use a building or a structure (as a logo), it’s hard to scale.”

The city presented several options for residents to choose between and offer suggestions.

“We had five options to give us guidance on what direction to take, and back in October, there were a lot of opinions about logos and suggested paths,” Jensen said. “Overwhelmingly, the feedback we got was they wanted the most simplistic design. The community wanted a simpler design, so we took all that feedback and went back to the design table.”

Some of the Facebook comments about the new logo stated that the new logo wasn’t one of the options the residents had the opportunity to vote on, and Jensen said that was because the city took the public’s suggestions and added them to the most popular design. The most popular design had a circular aspect to it, and so the city took the public’s suggestions and transformed it into a square to represent the city’s downtown square. The city worked with the Noblesville Preservation Alliance, the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, Nickel Plate Arts and Noblesville Mainstreet to come up with the final design.

“We felt the square design was symbolic of our downtown square, and then we also felt like there needed to be that historical marker on the logo, and that’s where the star brick pattern on the top came from,” Jensen said. “There’s two tones of blue because a lot of folks had opinions about water with the White River and Morse Reservoir.”

The city hired Hirons, an Indianapolis-based advertising agency, to design the logo after meeting with three design firms in the summer of 2020. After evaluating the firms, Jensen said the city opted for Hirons, which designed the logo and provided a marketing package for $20,000, a cost that had already been budgeted into the 2020 budget.

“We felt Hirons had the most municipal and agency experience,” Jensen said. “They do quite a bit of work in that space and we felt comfortable with their background.”

Jensen said the city also chose Hirons because the other firms had a larger rebranding focus, and he said the city wasn’t ready to hire a company for a full-blown marketing strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jensen said the $20,000 price tag is well below the average rebranding prices. When the city rebranded previously in 2011, that cost was $70,000, although the 2011 rebrand did have more components to it.

Jensen said originally, the city wasn’t planning a major reveal for the logo. The city already showed the logo to several local groups and had even printed it on the materials for the March 20 Hoops at the Hill NCAA watch party. However, at a recent Hamilton Southeastern School Board meeting, Jensen presented the logo to the school board and Noblesville residents expressed outrage about how they weren’t first to see the logo. However, Jensen said the City of Noblesville was already presenting at the HSE board meeting since Noblesville residents living in Wayne Township attend HSE schools.

“We had been invited to the HSE school board to present to them because there’s a lot of students attending HSE schools that are Noblesville residents, and a lot of our growth potential is in Wayne Township where Noblesville residents are HSE students,” Jensen said. “We were talking about the future and I made a quick comment about our overall changes going forward and that we had changed the logo. I did make the comment that they were one of the first in-person groups I presented it to simply because I haven’t presented it in front of a group. By no means did we go to Fishers to unveil the logo at an HSE school board meeting. Our intent was never to do a big unveiling, rather a slow rollout.”

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