Pr. William board isn’t sold on new logo

Prince William County's new two-blue-square logo is being removed from county letterhead and signs, county clothes and county vehicles after the Board of County Supervisors decided Tuesday that it wasn't ready for prime time.

Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco) said the public hadn't had a chance to weigh in on the logo, and “I didn't want to see us bring some kind of logo out here that had no meaning to the people of Prince William County.”

Supervisor Peter Candland (R-Gainesville) said the logo should express the identity of the county, not just be a symbol. “This logo was meant to mean something,” Candland said.

So the board, in addition to issuing a “cease, desist and rescind” directive to the county staff, ordered up a work session for July 16 to decide the next step in rebranding the county.

Jason Grant, the county communications director, said the logo was developed as part of a process to unify Prince William’s marketing. The logo was intended to replace individual agency logos with one countywide logo.


This new logo for Prince William County, Virginia was shelved. (Prince William County)

A design firm in Michigan — one familiar to Brent Heavner, a county economic development official who previously worked in Michigan — was enlisted to come up with a design and agreed to do it for $750, Grant said.

On Tuesday, board members wondered why a local company couldn’t have been involved.

Grant said that the design was shown to all the supervisors except Jenkins and that most approved.

But Jenkins said the board should have voted on it and should have allowed the public to participate in the selection process. He said he was surprised to see the logo starting to turn up across the county without a board vote or a public hearing.

“The approval process,” Jenkins said, “just bothers the dickens out of me.”

Jenkins, who wrote the supervisors’ directive to suspend the logo, said the decision was based in part on the public’s “overall dislike for the design.” He cited a Washington Post online poll in which 70 percent of the more than 400 people participating picked the response: “It's bad. Start over.” Seventeen percent picked: “It's OK”; and 13 percent: “I like it. It's a keeper.”

The poll is a nonscientific survey in which the results cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post readers as a group or the general population.

Candland said the logo’s purpose was to represent Prince William County to the world.

“We spent $750,” Candland said, “to develop a logo that represents, hopefully, hundreds of millions of dollars in Prince William County. I think we're selling ourselves short.”

Candland said that county uniforms and decals were being changed and that it was “a much broader change than was ever portrayed to me.”

I don't think the logo was properly vetted,” Candland said. “For a Michigan firm to develop the face of our economic development department is troubling to me.”

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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