We love our hometown, but the City of Aspen had been living with a cacophony of logos and branding for what felt like decades. So when the the City expressed interest in rebranding we were ecstatic!
The history of the old logo is a bit mysterious, there are rumors that Herbert Bayer helped to create it but we haven’t found any direct proof that he created it for the city.
There is some resemblance to the aspen leaf and snow flake he created for the Aspen Skiiing Company, but the city logo definitely wasn't living up to the standard of design quality established by Herbert Bayer and his peers. This legacy of good design was one of the many challenges we faced on this project.
Herbert Bayer lived and worked in Aspen, designing posters and promotional materials for the Aspen Chamber of Commerce and the Aspen Institute.
Photo: Aspen Historic Society
Among the other challenges of rebranding for our hometown was the desire to stay away from the cliché of the aspen leaf. So we made sketch after sketch, exploring great ideas about the community provided by local stakeholders. We worked with representing the landscape, the architecture, simple abstract shapes. There were a lot of great logos in those early sketches, but none of them felt just right, especially for our hometown.
One of the reasons that we love living in Aspen is that there are infinite ways to get outside and leave the daily grind behind. For all of us getting out into nature helps us gain some perspective. Usually it feels a little like you’re slacking off, but in this case it could just be chalked up to research.
This idea helped to inform the logo itself, but also the application to the rest of the branding. Using a watercolor helped to give it the extra punch that suggests the sense of place that Aspen imparts on all of us. In Aspen we are part of a larger network, not just of the people and organizations that support one another, but part of the larger natural ecosystem.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple hike to see the forest for the trees.