Linn County unveils winning design in new logo contest

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Linn County unveiled a new logo on Friday, replacing the image that’s been used as its logo, and on its seal and flag, since the 1990s. The new logo was selected from more than 30 submissions in a county-wide contest launched last October.

“The multicolored logo signifies Linn County’s diversity in livelihoods including farms, businesses (large and small), agribusiness, education and nonprofit organizations,” said a press release from the county. The new logo was designed by Mark Mathis, chief creative and strategy officer of Amperage Marketing and Fundraising.

Linn County logo, adopted July 2018.

Amperage also created a style guide for the new logo, so it can be used “to project a focused, customer-centered and approachable brand experience,” the guide explains. According to the guide, the colors of the logo — green, blue, red and orange — are essential to that experience. “Logo colors must not be changed,” the guide warns.

The colors are meant to represent various aspects of Linn County. The meanings of the green and blue are obvious — green for the county’s lands, blue for its water resources. Red, traditionally associated with alarm (red alert, in the red, etc.), stands for a more benign version of excitement: “the excitement and energy you naturally sense or feel in Linn County.” Orange is supposed to stand for “quality of life,” according to the guide.

The county’s previous logo was designed by Cedar Rapids artist Horace Wilson to echo the work of Linn County’s most famous artist, Grant Wood. The son of Bahamian immigrants, Wilson was born in Vinton, Iowa (“We were like the first black family born in Virginia Gay Hospital,” he told KGAN in 2017), but his family moved to Cedar Rapids when he was 3, and he grew up going to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, where he began to absorb the influence of Wood and the other artists on display.

The current Linn County logo — courtesy of Linn County

The change-over to the new logo won’t happen immediately, Linn County Communications Director Joi Alexander told Little Village. It will be gradual, and the county will continue to use some items with the previous logo, such as stationery, until their supplies are exhausted.

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