What Do You Think of the New Proposed Logos and Slogans for Colorado?

/ Comments (59)

The 12-person collective of creative thinkers working on the initiative created by Gov. John Hickenlooper to help redefine how the world sees and hears about Colorado has released its first output. The Making Colorado Creative Team collaborated over a series of eight weeks to brainstorm concepts for the new Colorado brand, which includes three brand identities and two slogans. The process included analysis of thousands of content submissions from the public, including responses to the question: “What makes Colorado Colorado?” Those concepts and slogans are now available online for your feedback.

For us, we're still struggling to understand how all of this fits within the branding and advertising the state is already doing. Does it replace it or augment it?

Regardless, we'd love to know what you think. The concepts are not final and may not be selected at the culmination of the Making Colorado process. They're being shared to help Making Colorado gather feedback from residents. With public input — essentially thousands of uneducated clients — can this have a happy ending? You can see how each of the three identities gets blown out across other marketing elements here.

UPDATE: For more details on this rollout, check out this post. And for the final selected identity, click this.

Logo Direction 1 - Evan Hecox
The triangle form, representative of the peaks which are such an iconic part of the state, also acts as an upward facing arrow, referencing Colorado's continued ascension in any number of national categories, from business, to innovation, to heath and happiness. The shape can be combined or stacked in infinite ways, and departments, towns or special projects can each have their own triangle, making it a particularly flexible approach.

Logo Direction 2 - Todd Berger
CO is the postal abbreviation for Colorado, so it's already shorthand for the state. But as a prefix, "CO" has a broader cultural meaning. It's about cooperation, collaboration, and community, things that have turned the state into an entrepreneurial powerhouse. The addition of a horizontal bar adds a sense of vertical dimension, and might also be interpreted as a literal raising of the bar.

Logo Direction 3 - Justin Fuller
At first glance, Colorado is just a rectangle. But the actual proportions are almost identical to the "Golden Ratio," a geometric relationship incredibly pleasing and balanced to the human eye. It's also the shape of 5X7 photographs, which our beautiful state is so often the subject of. The rectangular shape is placed to the right and slightly upward in relation to the word, a nod to the exponential progress Colorado has experienced.

Slogan Direction 1 - Rise
Rise not only refers to Colorado's physical altitude, but also positions Colorado as the place where you can raise your personal game—where you'll have an opportunity to become the best version of you. In addition, it encourages, inspires and challenges the reader to do something: to actively participate in Colorado's renaissance, and realize his or her own dreams in the process.

Slogan Direction 2 - Ever Upward
The frontier is no longer North, South, East or West. It's up here in Colorado, perpetual birthplace of the next big idea. A place that is upward geographically (mountains), intellectually (innovation), and emotionally (passion). Ever Upward encompasses it all, from the breathtaking peaks, to the rarified air of great ideas, to the fact that Coloradans never stop striving for more.


CO has the best flag in the Union and, seemingly, it was not used as any sort of inspiration.

There is a huge difference between a flag and a logo.

I like all the logos. My #1 is Todd's.

i dont really like any of them. they look like logos for a product you buy off the shelf. not a state.

I really dig Justin Fuller's logo. Simple, clean.

And, I am for any slogan that makes our state sound like a Batman villain.

Coming from the talent that was selected, these are really disappointing.

It's clear the general direction at the round table was rising with our peaks. That's it? That's all that was taken away from the meeting(s) and given to these fine designers to fondle with? I do admire it's relation to the high peaks and whatnot, but feel there may have been other ideas that were penciled out...

Mr. Hevcox execution seems dated, safe and expected. The type feels inconsistent – note L, R, A.

Sorry Mr Berger, though I admire your work, when Colorado raises the bar she doesn't remain under the waterline. I do respect the color palette.

Mr. Fuller's ID direction seems to stray away from the above said observation. And I like it. I can see how he may have thought about the ID as a whole and the potential dynamic use of it (ie: different photos, colors, etc inside the rectangle). But that corporate company keeps tapping me on the shoulder when I look at it.

I dig "Ever Upward". However, I would still love ot hear what else was discussed.

Don't listen to me. I'm just an Intern.

logo 1 - Feels a little young, teen snowboarder for a state identity

logo 2 - Simple mark, but a bit cold and the colors are kind of circusy

logo 3 - Also clean and simple, but makes me think of national geographic and doesn't embody longevity

slogan 1 - Seems inappropriate given the movie shooting in Colorado at the "Dark Knight Rising"

I'm curious how they came to these options?

Think option 1 is the best so far.. its a bit obvious but let's face it, the mountains are the most iconic part of Colorado and the distinctive aspect of the state. Option 2 looks like someone deleted a bunch of Google's letters and Option 3 is the Nat Geo logo. Overall not super impressed by any but at the same time its a difficult process and for sure going to be hard to please people no matter what.

'Ever Upward' is NY's motto.


I do agree that "we" are a tough crowd to please, but feel these executions deserve a little more thought. I wonder what farmers out in Grand Junction would choose and relate to.

I ran across Jared Rippy's design on dribbble, I think his direction is well thought out and versatile:


I agree. Dribble stuff is way better!

Yep... that one by Jared is pretty damn sweet. Seems like it was actually thought out all the way through and executed well.

I think they are all pretty good.

#1 is cool. It fits.
#2 looks like somebody hijacked Berger's name. This can't really be his work, can it?? It's horrific.
#3 is not bad, but agree that it's a bit corporatey.

These look like they came from a 99designs contest...

http://www.visitutah.com/ < For some inspiration

Rise is the phrase that came from the movie where all the people were shot less than a year ago... in THIS state....

thoughtless and sloppy.

green pot leaf...CO stenciled out of it and new slogan Get Higher... and done!

what about constant elevation

has CO built right into the front of it and talks about progress and mountains.

I have an idea for the logo:


Making Colorado can't get out of its own way. We have one of the most iconic state flags of all the states, it's well-designed, recognized, and sought-after.


These are all okay designs on their own, but in practice for this state they are not just meaningless but in some cases really derivative (sugarloaf ski area, anyone?).

Sadly, the entire exercise reminds me what's wrong when an organization is given too much money to mess with something that nobody wants to change, gathering a lot of talent together--most of whom haven't lived in the dang state for more than a few years.

Slogan? On a plate? How about a sticker so we know what county people are from like the old sequenced green plates did before the State Troopers demanded a plate that they could bounce their radar lasers off of? Perhaps being brand stewards and advising getting rid of the 500 or so vanity plates that not only confuse but are horrendously designed?

(Ok maybe I'm asking too much)

Just to put a finer point on the whole debate--Karsh & Hagan's beautiful "come to life" campaign is essentially a complete rip off of Terence Malik's work. Don't believe me? Look him up. Right down to the soaring copy and orchestral arrangements and flares of sunlight.

Doesn't mean it isn't fantastic. And the tagline is enough to make this spot a winner as it is, even if it's a film ripoff.

The flag actually IS a logo to most people in this state, so to the poster above who wants a bright distinction, I'd ask to know just why this needs to be the case. In fact, I'd ask Making Colorado's staff what the entire point is--can't help but agree with the original post comment wondering essentially why the F the state is doing this and how it fits in with existing brand work...

Oh right, the increased funding from taxpayers, that's why. Carry on!

Growing up in the Denver area and living in Colorado through University, I love and miss the state. Also, being a designer professionally, I have some constructive opinions.

While the designs, in my opinion, are interesting and have good rhetoric. I also feel like something is lacking. Even in the extension or exploration phases.

Simplicity is beautiful. I like that these appear utilitarian and international (in a sense).

1. A little too obvious and could be refined/pushed more – arrow/point up isn't obvious enough I think for the layman. Also, the kerning might need to be dialed back. Really like the logic though.

2. Love the idea of the co-op/play. Conceptually, I'm missing that visually. I think something like shapes built from tangrams (geometrically) could make some nice marks and create visual play/story.

3. The rectangle is clever, but might be mistaken for the silhouette of the state? I struggle with this most. I also like it a lot because of the potential. Motion wise, the rectangle could be interesting in broadcast media and could become a really nice visual cue.

Generally, for 8 weeks, not bad. But these concepts need a lot more time for the designers to ruminate.

Push forward folks – like the directions. Like to see the ideas pushed more though. Hope this helps.


We all love critiquing so hopefully this won't come as harsh...
I'll start with a compliment: All of the marks are super well-designed but they just don't feel "Colorado" - except for #1.

I think these are all a bit too sterile. Colorado is anything but sterile. It's fun, organic, it's outside, it's sunshine, it's fresh air...

Though the "CO" and "Rectangle/5x7" options are nice designs and visually pleasing, I don't think they speak to our state. Are we reinventing the wheel? We clearly have two obvious visuals to focus on in this beautiful state : sun & mountains. Why go away from that?

There is so much underlying disappointment running through the comments, and rightly so.

First, consider that the Egotist audience is always looking to praise the big names in town simply to suck up to them, yet even they can't find anything here to which even they can say "Fuck Yeah".

Second, only Trent Green felt comfortable posting under their own name because this stuff is so meh from a supposed powerhouse group of Colorado creatives. (Yes, I know I am posting as anonymous too, and I know the TG thing was also a subtle [and VERY WELL DONE, SO KUDOS TO THAT POSTER] so no need to point those facts out.)

If this is the best from this elite group of Colorado creatives, I say give the 500 headlines dude a shot. He can't fail any worse than you have.

have to agree with Anonymous (not verified)
July 20th, 2013, 1:37pm

No, generally a flag is not a logo. But in this state's case, ours IS. It is iconic, easily recognizable, and highly co-opted to identify a multitude of things and companies to say CO.

The logos presented are clean and elegant, but so sterile and a little too corporate (esp. 2 and 3). No emotion there whatsoever. Talented guys but no bullseye.

So, again, why? Why do they need a new logo to brand a state that has a built-in logo? Why all this effort? Shouldn't all these brains and energy be focused in another direction?

Eight weeks? It seems like more time was spent writing up the justifications for this crap than was spent on the designs.

And why are the names of the designers included with the logos, is it supposed to influence our opinion of the work?

Terribly disappointed with the efforts of such a large talent pool. I would've killed to be a part of this design team. No one has really captured the essences of Colorado. 2 + 3 seemed to be designing for themselves and not for the state.

Walk outside. Now back to your computer. Do these really say "CO" to you?

#1 Definitely comes the closest. Its a little obvious and seemingly a little young. The typography could use some work.

#2 Lost for words.

#3 I admire your work but your logo was incredibly sterile. The ratio thing is a nice concept but a bit of a stretch for the larger population. I also picked up on the National Geographic thing..


The first one looks like an identity for a kids camp. Actually it already is..


and a ski resort..


Also, showing these marks out of context is pretty amateur and make it impossible to judge the full potential of any of the systems.


Evan's treatment is much more aesthetically pleasing but Todd knocked it out of the fucking park with how his logo and color scheme would be applied.

Justin's, on the other hand, seems more like an afterthought – the kind of work you'd see from a student who forgot the assignment was due the next day type of thing. I want to appreciate it because the creative rational is thought out well enough, but it just isn't "there" for me.

But really, I'm just glad everyone is focusing on the designs themselves and not on the atrocious Making Colorado website...

Sweet lord CO designers.....

You took 6 months to find a "crack team" of designers, and above is where we are at for a new logo?????? I concur with above comment....go outside, look around and breath it in. Come back inside and tell me if you get the same feeling from any of these.
I also like this guys work better, at least it is forward leaning and semi interesting...http://dribbble.com/shots/1159594-Colorado-State-Identity

And our flag is a solid symbol, which appears to have been discarded in all design thought for the work here. At this rate, just create a website with a 1-page brief for a new logo, open it up to every CO-based designer and let’s see what happens.

The work here is making rough, feels like side projects people are not focused enough on.

The flag IS a great (and solid, as you put it) symbol, but why develop a design or concept that uses said symbol when it has already been done to death?

These projects from these designers are refreshing in that they're approaching Colorado's identity with ideas that go beyond having to rely on the tried-and-true flag symbol.

What a bunch of CRAP. Looks like they were ll conceived by "designers" working for Heinrich Marketing.


None of these resonate with me, and I've lived here my entire life.

Somebody above posted the contribution by Jared Rippy, and it's far better than the three given for this article.

Although I hope the mountain background is just there for contrast's sake. It's far too busy for any practical application.


Also, "Rise" is the better of the two slogan options, and those who think it's in any way referencing or equated to the Aurora shootings has their head up their ass. Try and think a little less obtusely. Jesus.

As a native of this fine state, I think they are all exceptional! Great design that doesn't go much below the surface of what Colorado truly is. All the better if that keeps just one more salad tossing Californian or Texan from moving here.

As a designer and a Colorado native, I AM COMPLETELY DISGUSTED BY THE BEHAVIOR ON THIS THREAD! Frankly, I thinks it's frickin cool that these designers stepped up and did something that has never been done before. And they had the balls to put their stuff out there. In a place like Colorado where we work hard to help each other out and help each other succeed, all you guys can do is find pleasure in ripping this stuff to shreds.

I hope it feels good to make someone else feel so bad. I may not know if you're any good at design, but at least I know you're good at that. Well done.

really.. overall its pretty mild for this site at least in terms of bashing and negativity. Okay well it is negative, but that's also peoples' reactions to what they are seeing. As it often is on this site, work that people don't like sees a ton of comments in the thread while work that people do see very little comments but strongly positive ones. Would have to agree that some responses are a bit to far but the old industry adage of "thick skin" comes to mind here. These people were after all, hand picked to represent the design capability of the state and spur the rebranding of a place we all love. Colorado is indeed a very close knit community in design and my guess is that is the reason for even more anon posters than usual. As far as never having been done before, that's not really true. The project is a rebrand of Colorado. This has been done previously and with much stronger results. Not saying that it won't get there, just not there yet.

@adam morgan, i think you're taking this a wee bit personally. quite frankly outside a couple of snarky remarks, there is a lot of constructive criticism here. these designers are well loved in the area, but so is our state and the representation isn't there. for once i was happy to read the comments on one of these threads, until i got to yours.

Hey everyone. I'm responsible for the third direction shown here and thought that I might be able to at least provide some details that could further the conversation a little. As anyone who has presented work to clients (identity, design, advertising, etc) probably knows, a little context is always nice when you know someone is seeing something for the first time. And in this case, everyone here, everyone who lives in the state, everyone that works in state government or runs a business in the state, and everyone who might interact with this project out of state or internationally is not only the audience but the client.

The most important thing to point out—and this should have been made very clear before any of this work was shown publicly—is that this is in no way an effort to replace the equity that the state flag carries or to overlook the pride that the residents of the state take in that iconic symbol. The fact is that the CO state flag is near perfect, and deserves to stay that way. Additionally, since it's in the public domain, it has been co-opted by thousands of small, local businesses and organizations in some way or another as part of their branding. At this point it essentially belongs to the people, which is really cool, and not something that most states can say about their flag. It felt like there was an opportunity to develop something that could function in unison with the flag—not in opposition to, or competition with it.

This project is also not technically a "re-brand" since the only thing that it may potentially be replacing is an existing wordmark that you've probably never seen (or noticed) that is used mostly in inter-government communication:


This brings up the most challenging part of this project. While the identity direction that is finally decided upon should absolutely be something that Coloradans can feel ownership of (sometimes this takes some time and further context), it also needs to function in a way that creates some choesiveness for the 28 or so government entities organized under the state, a huge design challenge that was a critical part of the brief. A quick look at what's currently in place for some of the states top agencies illustrates this point:


A little background on the team and the process: Eight weeks has passed since the team was announced until more or less today. During this time, 12 of us, plus representatives of Made Movement who oversaw the creative process, as well as a few people representing the government were all in the same place twice. Once for a formal dinner, and again for two days in Estes Park at the end of June. From there, we left with a few themes to work with, and were essentially at the mercy of our personal schedules to find time to contribute, which everyone did in their own way. Everyone on the team is busy full time either running their own studio or business, or working hard as part of a larger team somewhere. Combined with our geographical separation (folks from the front range, western slope, etc made up the team), the opportunity to collaborate in the true sense of the word was limited. Work on the three directions you see essentailly ended over three weeks ago, when presentations started being made to government agencies and business leaders. So what has been presented happened in roughly a month, among people spread out and spread thin, but commited to the project.

Somewhat in retrospect, it's *my opinion* that 4-8 weeks is nowhere near enough time to develop and release an identity system on this scale, but more likely enough time to get to a place where you have something to show and get feedback on. What we would all probably typically refer to as Round 1.

I won't go on anymore, but if anyone's read this far, here are a few more links to some of the things I worked through (and some process stuff). The group wanted to explore whether or not the state could own its seemingly generic shape. It's proportions being almost identical to the 5x7 large format negatives that were popular with pioneer photographers who were some of the first people to capture images of the views we all know an love seemed like to nice of a coincidence to not explore.


Thanks for the lively debate.


Everyone better take the time to read that.

^^ cool.. thanks for a look at the process and a bit of the behind the scenes

As a designer, sometimes I really fucking hate other designers. It's okay if you don't like a direction, but stop coming up with metaphors and cracking snarky jokes like you are superior.

Thanks for the insight into the process. Agreed that meeting on two occasions and submitting designs after a few weeks is not much of a process for a branding of this size, and explains why we're not seeing the normal caliper of design from these three. I find it hard to believe that the team couldn't or wasn't willing to get together again. I would be interested in hearing more about the process on how these three concepts were chosen to move forward, I'm sure others on here would as well.

Couple questions:

How did Made Movement get the gig to run this?
Who designed the MakingColorado.gov website?
Why didn't they just crowdsource the whole thing to CO designers if the current design team wasn't getting paid to do it?

Personally, I think option 2 works best when you view it in actual context. The colors are too kid-like for me though.

And here's a link to the context I'm referring to. Well done B&F.


This is rubbish for 8 weeks of work. It's shameful how bad it is.

lets just say I am no where as accomplished as the designers who took this on but my Creative Director would have laughed at my face, then spit in it if this was what i turned in. I understand when you take on a project like this you are really knee deep in design by committee, which brings it's own issues since there will be so many people and factors that go into the decision process. I can tell there have been compromises and solid guidelines that have been taken into consideration for these designs and as simple and direct as the designed have turned out there will have to be some big compromises on the other end of the table as well to get everyone feeling good at the end of the day. I don't mind the approach, but the great "idea" seems to be lacking and not hit yet. We all do good work, but how do you do great work? and will this task prove to be futile in it's efforts if that idea doesn't come through and shine in both the faces of the designers and the clients.

How i rank the situ:
1. back to the drawing board
2. Dribbble - identifies state and its depts best
3. #1 - Execution is lacking, but is approachable
4. #3 - Lacks future thinking style
5. #2 - Too cold

These are all HORRIBLE. I would be absolutely humiliated if any of these were chosen to represent our beautiful state. We have a perfectly good logo that holds meaning and represents how we became a state in the first place. These artists should be ashamed of themselves for passing off this crap with a descriptive paragraph to try to give it meaning. I'm a CO native and none of these reflect what I see or feel when I look outside. The current logo and flag aren't "tired", they are meaningful. Why does everything have to be "new" or "improved"? Fail.

The only reason to rebrand something is to give it a new identity. But why do this, you ask?

"The reason we need to have a coherent brand is we want to attract more like-minded people to Colorado." - Toby Krout, the project director for Brand Colorado.

So, apparently the people the original logo represents (i.e.actual Coloradans, natives, etc.) are not "like-minded" enough for Hickenlooper? Perhaps it is YOU, John, who is not like-minded with the rest of the state and not the other way around!

What sort of Governor just waltzes into a state for a few years, takes a look around and thinks to himself "we need less people like the current citizens of CO, and more people who think like me..." Does that sound like a "representative" to you? Or someone who is spitting on what Colorado is because he doesn't think it fits HIS idea of Colorado?

p.s. Don't these logos look a little...familiar?


National Geographic

And Google

This is so stupid. Our flag is beautiful the way it is. Why would you put "Colorado" on a flag? This is one of the stupidest things ever. I hate hiccenluper. I'm so disappointed in all of these, they most definitely do not stand out, we just need to keep ours.

I tried to go to the MakingColorado.gov website but I could not get it to work in either IE8 or FireFox 23.0.1. In both cases, the site would not load completely.

Additionally what little I could see make it appear as though it requires input/comment posting via the most reviled Facebook - as a web designer, that is a BAD design.

Please tell me we're not actually paying any of these people for any of these 'ideas'.

This is so bad. It's embarrassing enough to cost Hickenlooper reelection. This has to be one of the worst logos I've ever seen proposed for nearly anything and now it's supposed to symbolize a state I love. I absolutely cannot believe they spent money on this. You could have used 99 Designs and gotten a better result. It's surreal that this is happening. Everyone involved at the management level of this project should feel ashamed. I feel sorry for the designers who were caught up in this beurocratic bungle. People are going to be pissed when they roll this turd out. And they should be. Nearly two million came out of the 17 million surplus in tourism to pay for this absolute garbage. What a complete and total waste of resources and what a disservice to the artists and designers involved who would have loved to be directed and cultivated to produce something great. Instead they were mired in mismanagement and this crap is the result. It's an insult to the base intellect of this sensational state. Boycott this crap.

It is simply ridiculous that so much money was spent $2.5 million dollars, by the so called "most creative minds in Colorado" to come up with this kindergarten level logo. I have been a Colorado resident all my life and I am truly embarrassed by this pitiful effort. It displays no pazazz, not one bit of imagination, no interesting features, and honestly does not work at all. I say again...it is pitiful! The majority of Colorado residents with any artistic ability could have designed something better with a budget of $10.

news flash for all the colorado people complaining about this and saying they have the most recognizable flag in the US.

WRONG! i dont live in colorado and have no idea what your flag looks like.

why is it so recognizable? because you see it everyday because you live there?

the CO flag has absolutely no indication or "look & feel" of CO except for the fact that you guys know what your own state flag looks like.

Would have loved to have seen what Rick Griffith and the rest of the MATTER maniacs could have come up with.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Link = <a href="http://url.com">This is your text</a>
  • Image = <img src="http://imageurl.jpg" />
  • Bold = <strong>Your Text</strong>
  • Italic = <em>Your Text</em>
Rocket Fuel