By Juanice Gray
There is more to it than what you see in a first glance.
Phase 1 of the Natchitoches branding initiative is complete. The new logo was unveiled April 5 by Wynne Waltman, account supervisor with the marketing and advertising company, Graham Group. The purpose of a new brand for the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase was to take the best of history and incorporate the possibilities of the future. By encompassing all entities and areas of the City of Natchitoches into one cohesive brand, including the new logo, visitors and potential businesses can see what we have to offer, including where to go, what to do, who to see and what is available.
Now take that closer look. See the logo and free your imagination.
Do you see the motion of the letters? Think Cane River, Chaplin’s Lake, Red River and Sibley Lake.
The fleur de lis is ingrained in the City, on architecture, in literature, in history and in the fencing and ironwork throughout the area. Heck, it’s even in the Natchitoches Times masthead.
The letters. Do they remind you of the wrought iron everywhere? Maybe just a little bit?
What do you see when you see the “I” in the center? Possibly a column, like Northwestern’s columns?
The colors were chosen with a specific purpose as well. Pantone 275C (Natchitoches) is a blue/purple blend to represent warmth and welcome. Pantone 383C is a color of nature, trees, grass and the outdoors, also representing the landscape of Natchitoches. These colors were also the most compatible with complimentary colors of orange, mauve, yellow, red and cyan that will be incorporated in logos and materials adapted to City affiliates, the Chamber of Commerce and other businesses.
The Nike check. The Golden Arches. That red bullseye.
Yep, you saw all three companies in your mind didn’t you? It was instant and ingrained. That is what a logo can also do for a City.
Look back at the logo once more. Notice the curvature of the wording. Does it resemble an embrace? Through surveys, the branding committee found the most important draw to Natchitoches is what everyone has always known, it’s the people, the hospitality and the southern welcome they remember most. So why shouldn’t the logo represent a welcoming embrace? It’s what we do best.
Historically Brighter. What does that mean?
“Natchitoches is known as Louisiana’s oldest settlement and embodies the spirit of southern hospitality beginning with its brick-lined main street and the picturesque Cane River. For many our name brings to mind meat pies and Christmas lights but we are so much more. We are building and thriving, engaging with our citizens to create new opportunities and experiences for them and those who come to visit. We’re Natchitoches, Historically Brighter,” said Main Street Manager Janna Jenkins.
When residents or visitors think of this area, the key attributes include the Christmas Festival (think lights, think bright), historic area, food, beauty, meat pies, Steel Magnolias, friendly, plantations, oldest settlement, brick streets, Cane River and Northwestern. Read those again. What stands out? Rich history, bright lights and a bright future. Historically Brighter!
The second phase of the branding endeavor is to launch a comprehensive website. Waltman said the brand promise, which will be the focus of promotional materials, is “Natchitoches, Louisiana’s oldest settlement, will surprise with unexpected experiences and celebrations of the life while providing a vibrant mix of historical sites and new attractions.” The logo and brand did not come about quickly or on a whim. Extensive research, strategy and planning went into the project.
Now, with the unveiling of the logo, it is up to the community to pull together as a group to be our own advocates for progress according to committee member Rebecca Blankenbaker. Salespersons, servers, media outlets and business owners are the front line for promotion Waltman said.
Committee chair Van Erickson said, “We want people to know Natchitoches, what it is, what is offers. When they see the brand, they will be able to spot it and recognize it as uniquely Natchitoches, a historic, but progressive town.”