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Potential town logo designs to include historic font, flame and courthouse

The much discussed flame icon used in proposed Jonesborough tourism logo designs was not extinguished last week, but instead reinvented and again incorporated into revised logo designs presented at the town’s Logo Committee meeting on Jan. 24.
The flame icon logo was rejected at a January Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting, and designer Jane Hillhouse, of Hillhouse Graphic Design, was asked to try again.
BMA members expressed their concerns the flame icon resembled other logos, including the 1996 Olympics flame and a Methodist flame, and was not unique to Jonesborough.
However, Hillhouse reworked the flame and included three stars – the symbol used on the Tennessee state flag – in the heart of the icon.
She presented other designs that had been altered per suggestions from the committee including a more rustic version of one design and a simplified version of a historic font design by Destination Development International.
However, all of the logos presented included the flame icon in some form or fashion and committee member Steve Cook expressed his concerns.
“Although we sort of came to a consensus at the last meeting, we took these to the board and they said that flame thing just doesn’t get it,” he said. “But here we are, looking at that flame in all the designs.”
Hillhouse disagreed.
“They didn’t say the flame doesn’t work,” she said. “They asked if we had looked at anything else.
Saying the Herald & Tribune, in a previous article covering the BMA meeting where the logo was discussed, “may have made it sound” like board members did not like the flame logo, Hillhouse noted she “actually had one of the aldermen come up to me after the meeting and tell me the flame was growing on him.”
“What we need is to put a narrative together explaining why we are using the flame,” she said. “The fire symbolizes the gathering place, when people would sit around the fire and tell stories. That’s like Jonesborough is now – it’s a gathering place.”
Committee member Kathleen Petretta asked if Hillhouse had taken into account the similarity with a number of other flame logos, citing the Better Business Bureau as yet another organization that utilizes a flame logo.
Committee member Marcy Hawley agreed.
“We Googled ‘flame icons’ and there are thousands of them and a lot of them look a lot like this,” she said.
The group discussed the flame’s similarities with not only the BBB’s icon, but with the United Methodist Church and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Jonesborough Marketing and Tourism Director Alicia Phelps asked the group, “Is everyone comfortable with the flame? Does anyone have anything else to put up against it?”
Hawley suggested using the courthouse tower.
“If you go back in there with just the ones with the flame, the BMA isn’t going to see any difference,” she said. “We need something else to present to the board.”
Hillhouse suggested older designs could be utilized, but Moody warned that if other more unsatisfactory logos were presented, there would be a chance one of them would be selected.
Cook persisted.
“The BMA would buck if we go in with only one idea,” he said. “We should offer at least two concepts.”
Hillhouse questioned the group, asking what that second concept should be.
Hawley repeated her suggestion of using the courthouse and Petretta asked why the tourism logo should be different from the town’s logo, which is based on a front porch architectural feature of the Chester Inn.
“We’ve heard how complicated it would be to change the logos on all the town vehicles and signs,” she said. “Why wouldn’t we expand on that?”
Hillhouse argued the front porch image “just doesn’t translate.”
“The first time I saw that logo, I thought it was an owl and I wondered why Jonesborough would have an owl for their logo. I didn’t see the porch,” she said.
Cook argued that the courthouse is even more iconic than the Chester Inn.
“I think we should have designs that use the flame and the courthouse,” he siad. “But the courthouse image doesn’t need to be as graphic as it was shown in earlier designs.”
Petretta once again pointed out that “if we take the courthouse logo to the BMA and they pick it, we can’t dispute it.”
However, Hillhouse expressed concerns that the courthouse idea wouldn’t be a favorite of town administrator and committee member Bob Browning.
“Bob didn’t seem real excited about the courthouse logo,” she said. “I’ll need to run it by him.”
She also noted the cities of Sevierville and and Franklin both have logos incorporating courthouse art.
Hillouse then said she would complete three designs to be taken to the Tennessee tourism meeting in Nashville next week where they can be critiqued by tourism professionals across the state.
Those would include the weathered Gloucester design with a flame logo, the simplified historic script design without any icon and the same design with the newly-designed flame icon, she said.
Once again Cook reminded Hillhouse the designs should include some icon other than the flame.
“We need to offer up new designs – the historic script with the new flame; a flameless historic logo; and a courthouse logo design with a simplified historic font.”
The group agreed and directed Hillhouse to create the designs according to that recommendation.
Those designs will be sent electronically to all committee members so feedback can be gathered before scheduling a presentation at the Feb. 11 meeting of the BMA.