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Town considers logo options

The quest to create a town logo that best represents Jonesborough forged ahead last week during a committee meeting where several concepts were presented.
It is the second time the Town Logo Committee has met, and three potential logos had the group deep in discussion about what exactly defines Tennessee’s oldest town.
“We’re seeking a logo that can represent the many facets of Jonesborough while representing the town’s brand as Storytelling Capital of the World,” said Jane Hillhouse, owner of Hillhouse Graphic Design LLC in Kingsport. “It is a development process.”
Hillhouse presented three major concepts created by designers at her firm, the first of which featured a trio of stars and a figurative storyteller.
The concept quickly got the axe after committee members Marcy Hawley and Steve Cook said the design resembled a “clown face.”
Another concept, one featuring three panels of imagery, seemed initially to catch the eye of many committee members.
The panels above the word Jonesborough featured the bell tower of the Washington County courthouse, a persimmon, and a tent to represent storytelling.
“A new user might not identify the tent as storytelling, but over time that’s what it would become,” Hillhouse said. “(The tents are) the roots of the storytelling movement.”
While committee members agreed the particular design stood out graphically, it seemed to lose appeal when considered in a variety of applications.
“The one with the three images is just too much,” said Bob Browning, town administrator. “I just think the more you try to stick in there, the more complicated it gets and less impact any of it has.”
The third concept featured a flame above the word Jonesborough, meant to denote storytelling as the “central fire concept,” Hillhouse explained.
The design include “a few little sparkles of inspiration” around the central flame, she added.
“To me, that says synergy,” said Claudia Moody, title and committee member. “I think it has the progressive look, but it still looks like Jonesborough. It’s a new-old Jonesborough.”
A fourth possibility emerged when committee members returned to their discussions at the initial town logo meeting in June.
At that meeting, the dominant feeling was that the word ‘Jonesborough’ was strong enough to stand on its own without the use of imagery at all.
Using a font similar to one used in a study done by Ralph Applebaum
of Destination Development, would give the logo a historic feel, members agreed.
Hillhouse said she did not spend much time on that particular idea because she was unsure of whether the town had rights to the suggested logo. Browning accepted blame for not looking into it and said he would find out.
Interestingly, the catch phrase suggested at that initial meeting, “where the story began” was not utilized in any of the proposed designs presented last week. All of them instead reverted back to using the phrase, “The Storytelling Capital of the World.”
In the end, the committee agreed to move two of the concepts forward — the flame concept and the historic font concept.
Some members suggested pulling the idea of a storyteller with open arms from the first concept they rejected into the flame concept. They also said it would be worth considering how to change the “sparkles” of the flame into other meaningful items, such as music notes.
Whether to include the word “historic” in the logo was another point of discussion.
“I think we would cover ourselves if we had historic in there somewhere,” Hawley said. “We have two schools of thought with one being that we’re not just storytelling. We’re historic.”
Some liked the idea of using the actual date the town was created in the logo rather than the word historic.
“Established 1779,” Moody said. “That tells it all right there.”