The City of Eagan: An Outlet for Beautiful Community Rebranding
New City of Eagan Logo by Peters Design
The City of Eagan recently completed a year and a half long rebranding process, moving from a stale, 1970s-era visual, to a well-thought-out, comprehensive visual brand that included 7 sub-brands, branded collateral, vehicles, and signage.
Eagan, Minnesota, a suburb just to the south of the Twin Cities, is a community known for its rolling hills, laced with more than 1,200 small lakes, wetlands and ponds. Eagan is also known for its trees. It has been named a “Tree City” by the Arbor Day Foundation for nearly a quarter century. As the home to the Twin Cities Premium Outlets and the summer training camp for the Minnesota Vikings, the previous city logo felt dated, and didn't convey the appeal of the city. As one city leader put it:
"After spending a great deal of time talking about what Eagan is today and the impact the city is making in both the state and region, we all came to an agreement that while the old city logo had served its purpose, a new, fresh look was needed to convey Eagan’s vitality."
Like many families in Northwest Iowa, we occasionally make our way to the Twin Cities and surrounding areas for some time away. Generally, it’s a long-weekend in the summertime to enjoy the offerings of a big city that you can’t easily find in a small town. Some of our favorite destinations include The Minnesota Children’s Museum, The Mall of America, and Como Park Zoo. But one of my wife’s favorite pastimes, no matter where we might be, is exploring a good outlet mall. And the city of Eagan has one of the best.
But wandering aimlessly through disparate offerings of last year’s fashion isn’t really my thing. And, although I love the experience of a pro or big-time college football game, the presence of the Minnesota Vikings training camp still wasn’t enough to entice me to Eagan. However, I love seeing branding done well, so shop on my love, I'll just check out the town.
City of Eagan Logo Before & After
OK, OK suggesting I plan family vacations around a community rebranding may be embellishing a little, but having partnered recently on a few community branding efforts with a colleague’s agency, I find myself paying attention much more closely to how communities view their visual branding. Addressing all the varying different areas of a community’s brand (Tourism, Economic Development, Parks & Rec, etc.) into a single mark can be quite challenging. Some take it very seriously, while many others fail to see the value. Eagan obviously saw the value, and I think they nailed it. Overall, the new branding for Eagan is simple, contemporary, and most of all, easily extendable for multiple applications.
The city of Eagan prides itself on its outdoor space and its trees, so a simple tree icon is perfectly suitable. But one of the first things I couldn't help but notice about the Eagan logo was its similarity to the Timberland logo. Both use simplified trees in a circular presentation. Both represent the ground as stripes of land. And both have branches of uniform thickness. Maybe there was some subconscious connection, considering the previous Eagan logo uses a font born in the era of the Timberland wordmark (Timberland should consider an update). However, in seeing the entire brand roll-out, and realizing a Google search for “tree logo” turned up 500,000,000 results, I realized that the similarities may be coincidental.
Another characteristic that perhaps only typography geeks notice is the subtle rounding of the letterforms in the wordmark. Often, this is done gratuitously, or to "customize" a font. By mirroring the curved crossbar in the “A” of the Eagan logo, the font modification is accentuated and does feel overworked. However, to their credit, Peters (the design firm) seems to have embraced the element and even mimics it on the collateral pieces. The combination of rounded and square corners on each piece is obviously intentionally designed so they become a nice extension of the letterforms.
Room for New Growth
Perhaps most impressive about the rebrand is the way the identity has been developed to allow for so many easy extensions and sub-brands. Navigating the nomenclature and application specifics for a broad range of services, departments, events, etc. can make the creation of a unifying community visual brand quite daunting. While I appreciate the simplicity of the primary logo, I think the secondary “circular crest” mark plays a key role. It completes the circle motif and successfully enables a seamless extension of the brand to the other community logos and applications.
City of Eagan Logo Applications
Finally, I think The branding of the secondary applications was thoughtfully crafted. Too often designers feel obligated to force the primary logo (or secondary logo) into a slightly altered format, with the same color scheme. By designing the application marks as 1-color or reversed out on the brand color palette, and including some consistent elements, there should be very little guesswork when new application marks are required.
So, on your next jaunt to see the Vikes or Twins; to visit Valley Fair or Mall of America; or just escape for some fun in the cities, you’ve got a great reason to stop and check out Eagan, Minnesota - even if you don’t need pants from The Gap.
If you're considering rebranding, contact us. We'd love to talk.