Five-colored swirl by Portland designer to be rolled out gradually

Those bothered by changes to the status quo may want to avert their eyes from Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation signs, trucks and building fronts in the coming months.

It seems park district officials are armed with a new logo, and they're not afraid to use it.

Designed by David Karstad of Frank Creative/Frank's Garage, a Portland brand marketing and design group, the five-colored, rough egg-shaped swirl of colors encircled with the district's name replaces the locally iconic logo — a blue circle of multicolored geometric shapes shadowed by evergreens and mountains — that's represented the district since its formation in 1955. by: SUBMITTED ART: THPRD - A newly adopted Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District logo will gradually adorn all the districts vehicles, signs and buildings.

The district's management team received proposals from several artists, ultimately selecting Frank Creative for the job. Karstad developed several designs for review, and the park district's management team chose a finalist. The five board members unanimously adopted the new logo at its Monday night meeting.

"This depicts a sense of motion. I like what it says," said board President Joe Blowers. "We offer an awful lot of things to an awful lot of people, and this shows that."

District officials will roll out the logo replacement, the centerpiece of a comprehensive rebranding plan, through a variety of public communications, said Bob Wayt, the district's communications director. Rebranding of materials such as building, vehicle and park signage will be phased in over the next few years.

"Because of all the ways our logo is used and the need to control costs, full implementation will take years," Wayt said. "Some applications, such as online media and certain print products, will be converted pretty quickly. Vehicles will be relatively easy and inexpensive because we can place stickers over the existing logo. Other tools, such as signs in the parks and on buildings, will be done more gradually."

The district has largely held back on its signage master plan implementation until the logo decision was finalized.

"One benefit of changing the logo now is that most of the signage conversion costs will be covered by money that is already set aside for implementation of our signage master plan," he noted. "That plan was developed to incorporate new design, materials and specifications into our signs throughout the district. Implementation of the plan has started and will take a few years to complete."

Wayt said involving Karstad, who formerly served the district as a tennis coach, adds a certain serendipity to the project.

"David was a tennis instructor for THPRD in the early '90s, but his true calling was in the creative world, and he left us to pursue that dream. Not only is he a branding expert, his company specializes in clients like us that serve active recreational users," he said. "And because he used to work here, he was able to bring unique knowledge and perspective to the task. So in a sense, he has come full circle with us."

A 1988 graduate of Hillsboro High School, Karstad formed Frank Creative in 2000 and Frank's Garage in 2012. The Southwest Portland resident started working with district officials on the colorful logo design about six months ago.

"We chose an organic shape that conveys both a solid foundation and dynamic movement," he said. "Some see the five colors as leaves or petals, others see a flame. The fact the mark is open to interpretation is intentional and a good thing."

Karstad admitted he felt the pressure of coming up with a logo to replace a symbol that's so ingrained in local residents' consciousness, but is pleased that his design captured district leaders' imaginations.

"The THPRD logo has a lot of history and is a well-known entity around the area, so that definitely adds to the pressure," he said. "THPRD is a valuable part of people's daily lives, and the logo represents this. It's truly a personal honor to be involved in this project."

Altered only once

Karstad's copywriting and creative design career includes stints with sportswear giants Adidas and Vans as well as logo designs for Portland Farmers Market and Clean Energy Works Oregon. He believes his design is as relevant to today's park district as the 58-year-old design was to the when it was introduced.

"When the old THRPD logo was created 58 years ago, it was a highly progressive example of mid-century, modern design," he observed. "I can only imagine the discussions about its abstract use of shapes. Our new mark is also an abstract representation that, I can only hope, captures the essence of the district equally as well."

The old logo, which is often accompanied by the slogan, "Connecting People, Parks & Nature," was notably altered only once, when four evergreens and a blue, stream-like line were added to the background 10 years ago.

"The existing logo served us well," Wayt said, "but after nearly six decades, it is out of date, especially in a world where logos get more exposure than ever before and organizations go to great lengths to ensure their logo speaks well to their various audiences."

Blowers admitted he's ready to embrace a new symbolic era.

"While the old logo was near and dear to a lot of people's hearts, it's busy, really busy," he said. "This logo is simple enough that people can get it in one glimpse."

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