A rose by any other logo…

The true and correct Shakespeare phrase is, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Likely our fair Juliet did not have in mind the idea of a logo in delivering her metaphor, but the point is the same.  A name is a label, a representation, a symbol to standardize something that we would all recognize through our senses.  The smell of a rose would be the same even if it were called something different.  Okay, here’s the segue that actually makes this relevant…

Logos have become ubiquitous in society as the corporate name in symbol of the service or product provided by their owner. In PAM’s case, you know us to be the nonprofit that provides targeted advocacy and education services to save historic places in Minnesota. I guess you’d say that’s the “smell” of our rose, even though it’s a clunky metaphor ripe with joke potential. Our logo is supposed to be the representation of the service we provide; it should be a distinguishable, definable symbol of what we do. Let’s be honest: our current logo, you know the one–that diamond with the fuzzy symbol that looks like sand dollar, does not easily define who we are as an organization.

PAM Logo (1989-2011)

Take a look. What do you think it looks like or says about PAM? (Maybe we could use our logo as an alternate Rorschach test.) Those of us who have been around for decades know that this is a terra cotta tile on the St. Paul Building in downtown St. Paul; it is the building on which PAM took one of our first preservation easements in 1987. It was symbolic to those of us who knew this history as a representation of our work to save that building. However, we found that the logo had no identifiable meaning to our newer members. In honor of PAM’s 30th anniversary this year, we decided we needed a refresh to show how we’re moving forward while focusing on the past.

We’re excited that the day has finally come after more than a year of branding redesign that we unveil our new logo. TA DA!

Created by graphic artist Diana Quenomoen as a donation to PAM, the new brand visually articulates the organization’s mission to preserve, protect, and promote Minnesota’s historic places.  My first impression was, “Cool.  I like the colors. It reminds me of wallpaper we had in the 1970s.” Little did I know how intentional Diana was in selecting orange to articulate our energy and sense of hope with green for our focus on sustainability and growth. Once I understood the symbol around our name was a shield, it made perfect sense as protection is one of our three core values.

She gave us a few mini-logos, as well, to use in symbolizing the three core values that comprise our mission: to preserve, protect, and promote Minnesota’s historic resources. We each have our favorite here in the office (mine is the “promote” logo as it looks like a pinwheel) and plan to plaster them liberally on t-shirts. We will have a link on the website shortly to Café Press where you can order merchandise of your choosing with the new logo.

I know you’ll like the brand as much as we do when you’ve read the brand statement describing the symbolism behind each element of the brand. Tell us what you think by posting your comments on Facebook at Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. The board and staff thank Diana for the many, many hours she put into developing this new brand for us and we’re eager to use it going forward.

The new logo launch is the kickoff to an exciting future for PAM. We’re looking ahead to our next 30 years and what this organization will become moving forward. I’ll be excited to share the outcome of our next strategic plan, which will be developed at the end of this year.  In between, we have a long list of exciting programs and events to focus on The Best of PAM—30 years of our work saving historic places. As always, I conclude any correspondence about PAM’s work by thanking you: our donors, volunteers, partners, and advocates. You make our work possible and we thank you.

Here’s to another 30 years making preservation work in Minnesota.

Take care,

Bonnie McDonald

Executive Director

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