By Kevin Boneske
DE PERE – Despite the objections of one alderman, the city of De Pere is going ahead with brand imagery that includes a new logo.
Council members voted Tuesday, Aug. 21, in favor of the strategic vision and branding initiative with Alderman Jonathon Hansen casting the lone dissenting vote.
Kimberly Flom, economic development and planning director, outlined the process leading up to the initiative being recommended Aug. 14 by the Finance and Personnel Committee.
“A brand, as we’ve discussed numerous times through this process that has taken about nine months now, is a lot more than just a picture and a logo…,” Flom said. “What we’re aiming for in De Pere is sort of a living brand. It’s something that is framed by a vision for the future, a mission for the community, and essentially tells the story of who we are (and) helps us communicate our story to the outside world.”
To go along with De Pere being presented as having a brand personality that is genuine, down to earth, forward thinking and rooted in strong values, Flom said the tagline for the city’s strategic visioning and branding will be “De Pere Runs Deeper.”
“How we communicate that is in a number of ways,” she said.
Flom presented some examples to advertise or market De Pere, such as with the farmers market, the Fox River, St. Norbert College, community events and seasons of the years.
She said the new logo “represents the community, the river, the architecture, the Fox River Trail, as well as our strong open spaces.”
In addition to the logo being used by city government, Flom said it could also be taken advantage of by other partner organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s designed in a way to be very flexible,” she said.
Hansen, who thanked Flom and the steering committee involved in the process to put together the strategic visioning and branding initiative, said he had mixed feelings about the logo.
After posting the logo on his official alderman Facebook page before the Aug. 21 council meeting, Hansen said all but three of the more than 30 responses he received were negative.
‘One person said, ‘Graphics very busy, very cluttered, it seems to indicate De Pere being a farming community with the fence and what feels more like wheat to me than water,’ referring to the blue part,” Hansen said. “Another person said, ‘If I didn’t live in De Pere, my impression would be it’s a rural farming village….’”
Hansen questioned whether the river portion of the logo could be altered with the lines that run through it.
“We are spending $100,000 on this rebranding initiative, and I know the logo is just a part of it and I think it is very important that we keep that in mind,” he said. “A lot of the other feedback that we’ve got – about what’s De Pere’s values, what kind of message we want to send to other people – all of that’s very helpful. But I think we really need to get this logo right, because over the next few decades we’re going to be spending tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands (of dollars), to implement this logo…”
Mayor Michael Walsh said changing the new logo put together as part of the initiative would be the wrong thing to do.
“There was a lot of public opinion put in, not necessarily on the logo, but the entire process,” Walsh said. “To go back and try and get more just doesn’t seem to be the right thing to me because you’re never going to please everyone.”
Walsh said use of the new logo is contingent upon city officials supporting it.
“This is something that’s going to last for a long time,” he said.
City Administrator Larry Delo said the city holds the copyright to the logo and plans to launch its use in November with the initiative being implemented incrementally.