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Arlington County logo on basketball court in Waverly Hills

After its first set of finalists to replace the current county logo fizzled, Arlington officials went back to the drawing board and asked for more design submissions.

Now the county is seeking feedback on 10 proposed logo designs, eight of which are new and two of which are holdovers from the first iteration of the process.

Arlington is asking locals to vote for up to three logos as part of its feedback process, but we wanted to get a sense of which of the designs ARLnow readers like the best. Weigh in on your favorite below.

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Arlington County has reopened community voting on a new logo, and this round features eight new designs.

Voters can choose their top three from the expanded list of 10, which includes two finalists from the first round of voting. A Logo Review Panel tasked with soliciting and vetting submissions, refining a handful of designs and recommending one final look to the County Board will use voting results to make their final recommendation this September.

This is the second chance that community members have to vote on a design that would be emblazoned on everything from documents to vehicles to County Board members’ pins.

The first voting period this spring elicited some strong, negative feedback about the top designs. After hearing of the dissatisfaction, County Board asked the group tasked with refining designs and making recommendations to try again.

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

In June, the county called for new submissions. Notably, the Logo Review Panel asked aspiring logo designers to avoid referencing Arlington’s well-known monuments — such as the Air Force Memorial, Netherlands Carillon, Tomb of Unknown Soldier, and the Pentagon — or state symbols like the dogwood flower and “Virginia is for Lovers” icon.

“Arlington is a special and unique place that encompasses more than federal presence,” said guidance from the panel on the submission page. “We want our logo to convey what’s distinctive about Arlington on its own merits.”

Of state symbols, the guidance added: “These are not unique to Arlington and are used in commonly used in many other places.”

The new logo options include visual references to the county’s skyline, its geographic shape, and the Key Bridge.

Around this time last year, the Arlington branch of the NAACP called on the county to change its current logo — depicting Arlington House, also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial — amid a national discourse on current and historical racism in the U.S. In December, the County Board voted to kick off a process for choosing a new logo.

Eager to see the logo changed, Board members agreed to speed up the timeline by one month.

In May, when the deadline was extended, staff members said part of the reason why the process took shape the way it did was that they were trying to meet the initial deadline set by the County Board.

Despite the change in timing, de Ferranti said in May that a new logo will be chosen at the end of this latest feedback process.

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

Hat tip to Smiley456

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Arlington County is once more accepting new logo designs through June 17 — with more explicit guidelines about what the design should omit.

The county has reopened submissions and pushed back the timeline for choosing a logo in response to dissatisfaction in some corners about the five finalists (below) that were originally put to the community for a vote in May.

County Board members, who were scheduled to make a decision in June, appeared to take what people said online seriously. During a recessed meeting of the County Board last month, Board members directed County Manager Mark Schwartz to arrange more opportunities to submit logo ideas and possibly consider rejected designs.

“Providing this one additional short opportunity might give us broader ownership of this decision,” Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said during the meeting.

Those who already submitted a logo idea in the first round need not re-submit, according to the submission webpage. But designers who have since changed a design they already submitted are invited to send in the altered design as a new entry.

After the submission window closes at midnight on Friday, June 18, a Logo Review Panel will look over the new submissions and work with a design firm to refine the designs. The community is slated to vote on the new finalists in late July and the panel is scheduled to make a final recommendation to the County Board in September.

This time around, the Logo Review Panel is asking designers to avoid referencing Arlington’s well-known monuments — such as the Air Force Memorial, Netherlands Carillon, Tomb of Unknown Soldier, and the Pentagon — or state symbols like the dogwood flower and “Virginia is for Lovers” icon.

“Arlington is a special and unique place that encompasses more than federal presence,” said guidance from the panel on the submission page. “We want our logo to convey what’s distinctive about Arlington on its own merits.”

Of state symbols, the guidance added: “These are not unique to Arlington and are used in commonly used in many other places.”

The logo guidance encourages designers to consider what is special about the county that “best represents all residents and stakeholders” and “won’t go out of style quickly.”

County spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith said it is “too early to know” if the first five finalists (below) could resurface during the decision-making process.

All designs have to be original and new, the county says, and and individuals can submit up to three concepts. The logo should “look good” whether large or small, in color or black and white and in various media.

The new logo will replace an existing design featuring a stylized representation of Arlington House, the plantation house of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Arlington National Cemetery. The Arlington branch of the NAACP criticized it last summer as “divisive and racist.”

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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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Not everybody is a fan of the five finalists for the new Arlington County logo.

“There seems to be a LOT of dissatisfaction with the new county logos,” one reader said, in an email to ARLnow.

Locals are being asked to weigh in on the proposed logo designs by May 26, ahead of County Board consideration in June. But a plurality seem to be calling for more choices.

In an unscientific ARLnow poll this week, about 46% of more than 3,000 respondents said the county should “go back to the drawing board.” The most popular choice — the fifth logo above, on the far right-hand side — was the preference of 24% of respondents.

The dissatisfaction is more stark on some social media channels.

“I’ve noticed that the five new Arlington County logos that residents have been asked to vote on are being universally panned on both Nextdoor and Facebook,” another ARLnow reader said in an email. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a single positive comment out of scores. My Nextdoor group in North Arlington had more than 25 comments and not a single one positive.”

“Sure hope the County is listening,” the reader added. “Time for them to go back to the drawing board.”

Perhaps it’s not necessary to solicit new designs. As pointed out by a local resident on Twitter, the original call for design ideas from the county yielded dozens of notable submissions that were ultimately rejected.

The new logo is needed in order to do away with the illustration of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s plantation house — a prominent Arlington landmark — in the current logo, but the call for logo ideas in February specifically asked submitters to “think about the images, symbols and feelings unique to Arlington and shared by people across neighborhoods.”

The finalists seem to be more abstract in nature than many of the discarded designs that include the shapes of specific landmarks, buildings or geographical borders, however.

Part of that may be a function of the requirement for a logo that works in numerous visual settings and contexts. The new logo should “look good” in black and white and in color, and when it is printed on something as small as a pen and as large as a billboard, the county said in February.

Asked this morning whether the five finalists may be revisited and other logos considered, given the reaction so far, Arlington County spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith said only that the county is seeking more feedback.

“Engaging and involving the community is central to the process of developing a new logo — and that process is ongoing,” Smith told ARLnow. “We want as many people as possible to weigh in on the final design options. The Logo Review Panel will use the voting results to offer a recommendation to the Arlington County Board in June. To date, well over 9,000 people have voted on the new logo — and we’re looking for many more.”

Smith said a robust community process led to the five current logo finalists.

“A 14-member Logo Review Panel was appointed by the County Manager in late January of this year, following a communitywide call for applications,” she explained. “This is a diverse group representing different ages, ethnicities/races, neighborhoods, and backgrounds. Community members also were asked to submit their ideas and concepts over a series of week earlier this year — and we received about 250. Then, over the last several months, the Logo Review Panel has worked hard to further define the considerations as well as further develop the ideas submitted by the community, in collaboration with a design firm.”

The current county seal and logo — which both feature a representation of Lee’s Arlington House — were first adopted in 1983 and 2004, respectively.

The logo panel’s charge, from its first meeting: “Replace existing logo and County seal with new logo as soon as practicable.”

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Arlington County yesterday revealed the five finalists for the new county logo.

Aiming to replace the current logo that depicts Arlington House, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s former mansion, the county asked community members for design suggestions in February. Those were narrowed down with the help of a design firm and a Logo Review Panel, which met on April 15 to discuss the designs.

The county is now asking the public to vote on which of the colorful logo designs they like best. The Board is expected to hear a final recommendation from the Logo Review Panel in June.

The logos have some detractors, even among those who agree that the old county logo needs to change. What do you think of the designs?

Images via Arlington County. Note that ARLnow’s poll is unscientific, unofficial and not intended as a replacement for the county’s survey about the logo designs.

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Arlington County has revealed the five finalists for its new logo, and they’re decidedly more colorful than the current iteration.

The county is asking members of the public to vote online for their top two favorite logo concepts, which were selected by a Logo Review Panel.

Based on the vote, the panel will make a final recommendation to the County Board in June. Voting closes on May 26.

The new logo will replace the existing county logo, featuring a stylized representation of Arlington House, the plantation house of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Arlington National Cemetery. The logo has been criticized by the Arlington branch of the NAACP as “divisive and racist.”

Despite the forthcoming updated logo, the name “Arlington County” seems unlikely to change anytime soon, based on a recent discussion held by the Arlington Committee of 100.

“I believe changing the name of a county is a pretty heavy lift,” said local NAACP President Julius “JD” Spain, Sr.

The county press release about the logo finalists is below.

The search for the new Arlington County logo has been narrowed to five options by a panel of community members. Now, it is time for the greater Arlington community to weigh in.

Everyone who lives, works or plays in Arlington is invited to select their two favorite logo options from the top five. The voting webpage is available in English and Spanish.

The last day to vote is May 26.

The Logo Review Panel will use the voting results to offer a final recommendation to the County Board in June.

Last year, the Arlington County Board approved a process to replace the current County logo and seal, which depict Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. For many Arlington County residents, the Arlington House symbol represents one of the darkest chapters our nation’s history: slavery.

Community members of all ages submitted more than 250 ideas for Arlington County’s new logo. Over the past several months, the Logo Review Panel narrowed the options and further developed the logo concepts submitted by the community.

Image (top) via Arlington County

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This is set to be a pivotal year for how Arlington County represents itself in its logo and its infrastructure.

At the close of 2020, Arlington County kickstarted the process of updating its logo — a process that will soon be inviting public input — and this fall, County Board members expect to review a new framework for considering the possibility of new names for things like parks, streets and building.

Board member Christian Dorsey and NAACP President Julius “JD” Spain, Sr. previewed these upcoming changes during a recent discussion on renaming hosted by the Arlington Committee of 100, a group that talks about local issues.

Meanwhile, Marymount University assistant professor Cassandra Good shed light on the history of Arlington’s street naming and made recommendations for a new approach.

Spurred by a national discussion of systemic racism and police violence in 2019 and 2020, Arlington County is re-examining its logo, which depicts Arlington House: The Robert E. Lee Memorial, the former plantation home of the Confederate general and descendants of George Washington. The county is also reconsidering the names of various roads, parks and local landmarks named for Confederate generals and soldiers, slaveholders, plantations, and historic figures known for their racism.

That work is ongoing. A county logo review panel has received more than 250 submissions to consider and narrow down to five for the community to rank in May, Spain said. The County Board will select a new logo in June.

Meanwhile, county staff members are hammering out a formal process for naming and renaming places in Arlington going forward, to bring a systematic approach to what has so far been a case-by-case process.

“We expect that during the fall of this year, we will have a proposal from our county manager for how we ought to think about the renaming issue,” Dorsey said. “There’s going to be a lot more that comes with that, I expect.”

Some Committee of 100 members wondered whether the panelists think the county ought to change its name, too, given that the county is named after the plantation house that’s being removed from the logo.

Panelists said such a conversation could take place but changing the name Arlington would not only pose an extreme logistical challenge but may also not reflect a nuanced view of renaming.

“When we’re talking about changing the name of Arlington, it may come a time when we need to have that conversation,” Spain said. “But Arlington — I believe changing the name of a county is a pretty heavy lift.”

Dorsey said he is not in favor of throwing out everything that was the product of a certain time in history as “the poisonous fruit of a poisonous tree.”

A recurring question for officials tasked with renaming has been whether to swap one historical figure with another. The community could choose a person whose character could come into question later on, they said.

Good, the Marymount professor, said while her preference is not to use names of historical figures, there ought to be a few new historical figures featured.

“There need to be some names for people,” she said, otherwise, “the names that remain will mostly white people.”

Dorsey added that while the county can think beyond individuals, there will be some figures who community members will want to honor.

“I would hate to lose that entirely,” he said.

Good said Arlington first formalized a naming process for streets in 1932, when a commission of, as far as she can tell, all-white Arlington residents finalized the names for the county’s streets. Several — including Lafayette, Hamilton and Pocahontas Streets — were renamed at that time, she said.

Going forward, she recommended that all renaming decisions include those who have been excluded and involve a professional historian. Renaming should be considered if the current name was originally chosen to honor somebody for reasons that are at odds with the community’s values, she said.

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Morning Notes

APS to Fully Return to Classrooms in Fall — “Arlington Public Schools will bring all students who choose it back for five days of in-person learning every week starting in the fall, Superintendent Francisco Durán told the school board Thursday.
He emphasized that any families… who want to stay virtual-only will be able to do so, and noted that staffers have already begun to plot out what the remote option will look like.” [Washington Post]

County Still Seeking New Logo Ideas — “Calling all artists, and artists-at-heart! The County will choose a new logo this year that better represents our Arlington community, and we need your help… Submit your logo concept/art by March 14.” [Arlington County]

Fire Breaks Out in Route 1 Median — From Dave Statter: “Watch your cigarettes, matches & ashes. Dry & breezy. A small brush fire on Rt 1 south of 23rd St briefly blocked traffic. @Reagan_Airport MWAA Engine 301 handled it.” [Twitter]

Brooks Basking in the Sunlight — From the Arlington County Police Department yesterday afternoon: “It’s a pawsitively beautiful day in Arlington County! FRK9 Brooks hopes you get out and enjoy the weather!” [Twitter]

Va. Booze Sales Soar During Pandemic — “Virginians bought considerably more liquor in the second half of 2020 than they did during the same period of 2019. That’s according to figures Washingtonian obtained from the commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, which show statewide sales of spirits were up 15 percent over 2019 from July to December of the worst year in recent history.” [Washingtonian]

State Tax Revenue Higher Than Expected — “On a year-to-date basis, collections of payroll withholding taxes — 61 percent of General Fund revenues — increased 1.1 percent, behind the annual forecast of 2.7 percent growth. Sales tax collections — 17 percent of General Fund revenues — increased 6.7 percent through February, ahead of the annual forecast calling for a 4.8 percent increase. Recordation taxes advanced 38.3 percent on a fiscal year basis, ahead of the 24.4 percent annual forecast. Total revenues rose 8.0 percent through February, ahead of the revised annual forecast of 3.0 percent growth.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]

Reminder: Spring Forward This Weekend — “The second Sunday in March is when Daylight Saving Time begins in most areas of the U.S., so in 2021 we’ll ‘spring forward’ one hour and on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 2 a.m. Be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour before bed on Saturday night!” [Farmers’ Almanac]

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The county is calling on the community to submit their ideas for a new county logo and seal.

The logo will phase out the depiction of Arlington House, also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial, on all county communications and materials starting this summer. Over time, the new logo will appear on signage for county amenities such as parks, community centers and buildings, the submissions webpage said.

“We are writing a brighter chapter in Arlington’s story, one that aligns with the County’s important focus on racial equity,” the website said. Submissions are due by Sunday, March 14.

According to submission guidelines, artists only can submit one idea and it must be new and original. The art should “look good” in black and white and in color, and when it is printed on something as small as a pen and as large as a billboard. Designs in any media — from digital to crayon — are accepted.

Proposed design ideas have included dogwood trees, the Potomac River, the Rosslyn skyline, and the Pentagon, as well as abstract concepts like peace and diversity.

“As you create your design, think about the images, symbols and feelings unique to Arlington and shared by people across neighborhoods,” the county website said.

A submission form is available on the county website. It asks people to submit a .jpg, .png or .pdf version of their design, to share whether they are a current or former resident or have some “other” affiliation with Arlington, and to briefly describe the art and what it depicts or represents.

The move to update the emblem began with a push from the Arlington branch of the NAACP last summer, which decried the current logo as a “racist plantation symbol” that honors a slave-owning Confederate general. County Board members expressed their support in September and approved a process for replacing it in December.

County Manager Mark Schwartz previously told the board that the earliest instance of the logo’s use by the county was in 1974.

When the March deadline passes, a panel of community members picked by Schwartz will choose three to five top contenders. A professional graphic designer will further develop the concepts through April. The community will then rank their picks in May and the County Board is expected to choose one in June.

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A new logo and seal for Arlington County could be chosen from community submissions in June of 2021.

Members of the County Board gave the go-ahead to a logo-change process during their recessed meeting Tuesday evening. Before doing so, Board members agreed to shorten the process by one month and asked county staff to come back in June with a timeline estimating how long it will take to phase out the logo.

“We’ve had this discussion since July,” Takis Karantonis said. “This logo is offensive, therefore we are really in a hurry to retire it and make it disappear from our official documents, etc.”

County Manager Mark Schwartz promised to come back with a timeline next summer, anticipating it will take a while to figure out everywhere the logo pops up.

“I will not begin to even guess the number of places the symbol appears on the sides of vehicles and things,” he said.

Board Chair Libby Garvey, who said she no longer wears a pin with the county seal, predicted that “it’s going to take us a little while” to completely phase out the use of Arlington House — also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial.

The County Board agreed to embark on a plan to change the logo this September, after the Arlington branch of the NAACP said it is time to remove the “divisive and racist” Arlington House, “a symbol of a slave labor camp,” from the County logo and seal.

With the Board’s blessing, Schwartz will start advertising a logo review panel. It will be filled with nine to 11 community members representing a range of races and ethnicities, ages and abilities, who hail from different neighborhoods and business communities. Schwartz will ultimately pick the panelists.

The County would ask for submissions in February. The panel will narrow them down to five at most and have the top contenders developed by a professional graphic designer in March and April. In May, the community would rank their picks and in June, the County Board will make the final choice.

The new design, whatever it is, will be used both as a seal and a logo.

Proposed design ideas have included dogwood trees, the Potomac River, the Rosslyn skyline, and the Pentagon, as well as abstract concepts like peace and diversity.

The history of the logo is fairly recent, according to Schwartz.

The first instance of the Arlington House on an official county document that the County could find was in 1974. In 1983, the County adopted the house to adorn the County flag, and in 2004, the symbol in use now was adopted as the logo. Today, the County has a separate seal and logo, both of which feature the house.

In 1972, Congress renamed the Arlington House as “Arlington House: the Robert E. Lee Memorial,” in honor of the Confederate general, who once lived in the historic mansion on the grounds of the future Arlington National Cemetery. In 1861, after Virginia seceded, the Lees fled the home and in 1864, the federal government seized the property because the Lees owed taxes on it.

The redesign joins a growing list of public spaces that have been or are being renamed. A renaming process for Lee Highway (Route 29) has recommended “Loving Avenue” as a new name for the commercial corridor and commuter route. On Saturday, the County Board approved a new name for Henry Clay Park: Zitkala-Sa, after an Indigenous writer and activist who lived in the area.

Previously, Washington-Lee High School was renamed Washington-Liberty and Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) was renamed Richmond Highway.

To streamline the renaming and naming parks, streets and buildings — which involves multiple departments — the County also approved on Tuesday a new process that includes the formation of a group that would review every proposed name or name change.

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