New TN logo draws national attention, critical petition

Tennessee’s new logo, developed for the Haslam administration at a cost of $46,000, has drawn the attention of a national advertising publication as well as a petition urging the governor to cancel it.

The headline on an AdWeek article says “Tennessee Wanted Consistency but Elicited Mockery With Its New Logo.” The story notes that Twitter commenters within the state have been generally critical of the logo, but includes this favorable commentary from a “branding expert:”

“I like it,” said Greg Klassen, principal at Twenty31 Tourism Consulting and a former top official with the Canadian Tourism Commission. “It feels very future-oriented. As my daughter would say, it’s got the abbrevs.”

Klassen gives Tennessee officials credit for “thinking differently about how the want to be perceived,” noting the effective regional branding is important for not just tourism but also investment and employment. But he also suggests the process should have been more inclusive, so people weren’t surprised by the new logo.

“A logo means nothing unless it’s backed up by emotion, by research,” he said. “I would hope for $46,000 a lot of that science went into this.”

The Change.org petition urging Haslam to abandon the new logo was initiated by Taylor Prince of Knoxville, according to Nashville’s WKRN-TV. The petition cites the “Tri-Star” logo now used by some state agencies, which depicts the three stars of the state flag and credits a Tennessee National Guard officer with developing it.

Says the petition, in part:

“The new logo will cost taxpayers $46,000 and will require more time and money to implement. Furthermore, the governor’s office should have reached out to state schools and colleges for the design change. This would have been undoubtedly less expensive and provided students and opportunity to influence their government. Please do not waste any more money on this poorly-designed logo.”

As of Monday, about 22,100 persons had signed the petition.)

Note: See also updated post on joke alternatives to the new logo, HERE.