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By URIAH KISER
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Virginia is for Lovers, so what’s Prince William’s marketing tagline?
It’s actually a new logo complete with two blue boxes and the words Prince William County, Virginia, in all capital letters. The new design, which cost $750 to come up with, is popping up on street signs, office letterhead, trade magazines, and on county computers. It’s much different from the recognizable County Seal that includes tobacco leaves, a weight and measure, and the hand of some random person.
The new logo comes after a taskforce seeking to rebrand the county formed in 2010. Officials thought a new look would attract new interest, business, and tourism to Prince William County.
At a recent meeting of county officials, Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins said he doesn’t understand the message.
“This new logo, it’s an empty box, it has no message. People who look at it from outside the county, from Fairfax County, from Loudoun County, really don’t understand what it’s all about,” said Jenkins in an interview with Potomac Local News.
Jenkins, who has become the unofficial defender of the County Seal, during the public Board meeting denounced the new logo after it popped up on his office computer screen. He demanded a work session so the Board members could be briefed on the new design, which he’ll get at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on May 21.
“This is an effort by staff members, under the direction of the County Executive, to try to establish a new identity, perhaps for the economic develop activities. I certainly believe that if something is not broke, you don’t fix it,” said Jenkins in an interview.
The logo will be used to attract new businesses to the area, and it’ll also be used at parks, for tourism purposes, and at official functions. The Seal will remain on the sides of police cars, fire trucks, government buildings, and will continue to be seen on all things that denote official county government, enforcement, or business correspondence.
Prince William County Economic Development Director Jeffrey A. Kaczmarek said while the logo will help to identify the county to new businesses, it doesn’t represent the entire brand of the county.
“A logo is not a brand, it is a symbol of a brand. A brand is the level of service we provide to our customers,” said Kaczmarek. “Our brand will take time to build, but now we have a symbol that can be used, and when working with businesses, and after having had put this logo in front of them for many years, they will have associated Prince William as a great county do business with in Northern Virginia.”
The new logo will also go a long way to help unify different offices and departments in the county like information technology and parks and recreation which, up until now, all had unique logos.
Those who work under the Seal in the government offices are still developing guidelines on exactly when and where the new logo will appear, and if a decision is made to replace the Seal now used on county vehicles, officials said that process will happen over time as new vehicles are purchased.
The county’s logo isn’t the only symbol that has changed in recent years. Earlier this year, Prince William’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was renamed Discover Prince William / Manassas, and quasi-government organization got a new logo and website.
After the merger of two chambers of commerce happened in 2010 to form the Prince William Chamber, they two used a blue box to identify themselves as the largest Chamber in the state.
Prince William Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May says it’s OK to have different logos for different things.
“I think it’s a good logo that will hopefully attract new businesses to the area. And when you think about it, Virginia doesn’t always use their Seal with ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis’ on it when they’re trying to market the state,” said May.
State officials traded the image of a sword-wielding woman standing atop a dead king for a much kinder, simpler, “Virginia is for Lovers” for their website and tourism efforts. The “lovers” slogan was first unveiled in 1969 marketing campaign.
But for the lovers of Prince William’s County Seal, Jenkins said he wants the Board to hold a public hearing and to ultimately approve the new logo before it’s used anywhere else.
*This story has been corrected. The Virginia State Flag features a woman holding a sword on the Seal, not a man.