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County Board Directs Manager to Consider More Logo Designs

The County Board appears to be listening to what locals had to say about the five finalists for the new Arlington County logo.

During the County Board’s recessed meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Board members directed County Manager Mark Schwartz to arrange more opportunities to submit logo ideas, while considering rejected designs.

“I do like the idea of looking at a few additional logos,” Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. “Providing this one additional short opportunity might give us broader ownership of this decision.”

Schwartz said the community will have an update on what this extension will look like “later this week.” The Board vote on approving a new logo will likely be pushed from June to September, he said.

“I recommend we extend the time for citizen submissions and ask our group to pore over those,” he said. “Let’s see if there are any new nuggets or old ones that we can send back to the Board for further work.”

Arlington is developing a new logo to do away with the illustration of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s plantation house atop a hill on what is now Arlington National Cemetery. The county called for logo ideas in February and a community panel winnowed down more than a hundred submissions to five finalists.

Locals had until May 26 to weigh in on the five nominated designs, ahead of County Board consideration in June.

So far, a plurality of people — on some social media channels and according to an unscientific ARLnow poll — have rejected all five logos and asked the county to “go back to the drawing board.”

During the meeting, Board members praised the panel’s leadership for thorough work but indicated they are open to taking extra time to explore more logo options.

Board member Libby Garvey said the county does a good job communicating what it is up to but people tend to get involved when the Board prepares for a vote.

“It’s not until something is actually there before us, or it gets in ARLnow, that a lot of people pay attention,” she said. “You still won’t get everyone but it’s another moment to give it another chance, now that there are a lot more people paying attention.”

Logo Review Panel co-chair Minneh Kane said the meeting was a good time to address some of the questions members received about why more federal monuments and iconic Arlington buildings did not make it into the top five.

“The feeling was that we wanted to brand Arlington in a distinctive way as more than just D.C.’s little sister,” she said.

Choosing one military monument could open Arlington up to criticism for not choosing others while including more than one would be too busy, she said. Iconic buildings, meanwhile don’t represent the full community, Kane asserted.

Staff members on the call said part of the reason why the process took shape the way it did was that they were trying to meet the summer deadline set by the County Board.

Although the Board is requesting to extend the deadline, de Ferranti still emphasized proceeding quickly and reminding the community a new logo will be chosen at the end of the process.

“The letters we’re signing right now have no logos on them,” he said.

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