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Proposed logo, focus on storytelling garner criticism at meeting

A proposed town logo depicting Jonesborough as the storytelling capital of the world has garnered some negative opinions, including those of the town mayor’s teenage daughter.
“When she saw it she said, ‘That logo stinks, dad,’” Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe told people at last week’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.
With recommendations from design firms to focus on storytelling as the town’s brand, town staff recently came up with a logo featuring a silhouetted storyteller telling a tall tale to an audience. They then sent the logo to Jane Hillhouse, of Hillhouse Graphics in Kingsport, to take the rough idea and create a finished product.
Alderman Mary Gearhart brought up the logo at the April 9 BMA meeting, saying she read about it in a recent issue of the Herald & Tribune.
Gearhart questioned the staff’s focus on storytelling for both the town’s brand and its logo.
“I can’t find any place in (past meeting minutes) where the board voted to brand the town anything specific,” Gearhart said.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said a subcommittee of the Tree and Townscape Board that has been working on creating new downtown signage also created the new town logo.
“You want a logo on your signage,” Browning said. “This was to initiate a discussion about logos, especially as it relates to what might be on wayfinding signage. We do not have a tourism logo.”
While emphasizing there is “nothing finalized” at this point, Wolfe said he believed it would be easier for people to decide if they like a brand for the town if they had a complementary logo to review.
“I’m glad the Tree and Townscape Board is discussing this. There’s going to be input from a lot of different sources on this,” he said. “Ultimately, the decision rests with this board. And we have a long way to go before we get there.”