By Vonnai Phair
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington State Parks recently unveiled a new logo inspired by thousands of local residents.
The parks system, which saw a record number of visitors during the pandemic — 43,840,590 overall in 2021, a 14% increase from 2019 — wanted to capture the reconnection with the state’s green spaces through a new visual identity.
The new logo will be gradually implemented across park signage, vehicles, uniforms, brochures, merchandise and digital platforms, according to People People, the Seattle-based creative agency tasked with creating it. Signage and uniforms will not be replaced ahead of the normal replacement schedule, the parks system said.
The parks system teamed up with People People to survey more than 6,000 Washingtonians on what should shape the new logo. The agency said it wanted to understand and prioritize emotional themes that connect people to Washington state parks.
The survey asked people about their most memorable experience in Washington state parks (or in the outdoors, if they had not been to a state park). It also asked respondents if they would like to share a photo of the outdoors that holds meaning to them and how they felt when looking at the old logo.
The shield from the original logo is maintained in the new logo, but the design agency added a curved shape within its form. The agency also added text and a small “1913” to represent the year parks system was founded. (People People)
The shield from the original logo is maintained in the new logo, but the design agency added a curved shape within its form. The agency also added text and a small… (People People)More
Respondents revealed they “deeply value the natural beauty of the state and appreciate the classic look and feel of the original logo,” People People said. Respondents also highlighted their deep emotional connections to Washington’s parks.
“Many respondents wrote movingly — vividly — about what it feels like to experience big feelings and big life events within the natural beauty that everyone values,” said Shannon Palmer, the creative director at People People.
The parks system manages more than 100 Washington parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres of long-distance trails, winter recreation and more.
Washington state parks are places where people get married; where they spread loved ones’ ashes; where they turn for healing after a divorce; where they decide to move to Washington because of the beauty they’ve seen here, according to survey responses.
But the parks also represent simple fun: an everyday hike, a favorite campsite, a familiar bike ride, Palmer said.
Every component of the resulting logo was inspired by a real place, either in or viewable from a specific state park. The logo combines elements from across the state, like Mount Spokane, columnar basalt formations, picturesque coastlines and the official state tree, the western hemlock.
Every component of the new logo was inspired by a real place, either in or viewable from a specific state park. It combines elements from across Washington, like Mount Spokane, columnar basalt formations, picturesque coastlines and the official state tree, the Western hemlock. (People People)
Every component of the new logo was inspired by a real place, either in or viewable from a specific state park. It combines elements from across Washington, like Mount… (People People)More
People People maintained the shield from the original logo but added a curved shape within its form, as well as text and a small “1913,” the year the parks system was founded.
People People also made modifications to the layout and typography and updated the color palette with brighter, warmer tones to better represent parks across the whole state, Palmer said.
“Whereas Western Washington is known for its greens and blues — which were of course retained — in Eastern Washington we see more golden tones in its landscape,” she said.
People People also gave careful consideration to the font selection, with GT Walsheim chosen for its “readability and subtle nostalgic nods,” the agency said.
The rebrand cost the parks system $52,500, and was paid for using funds in its creative services budget, according to Washington State Parks.
The cost included hiring People People and compensating focus group participants, according to the parks system.
“Instead of spending money on advertising and fancy billboards, we decided to invest in ourselves,” said Stephanie McDermott, the parks system’s brand and creative marketing manager.
“Our new brand is rooted in our past, has a solid foundation in the present and will lead us into our next chapter,” McDermott said. “The adjustments to our logo — evolving landforms, broadening our color palette, unifying our text — signify this new era.”
meet the team
We’re inspired by diverse design perspectives, innovation, technology, art, and the world around us. We live for the chance to create and disperse powerful, genuine messages that resonate.
Growing up in Seattle, Amy was always exploring the great outdoors but she found a particular thrill in traveling. During a visit to New York City at age 10, she knew that was where she wanted to live. After high school she left her home in the Pacific Northwest behind for the great unknown to attend Fordham University in the Bronx. Upon graduation, Amy received a phone call from CNN offering a job opportunity of a lifetime working in television ad sales at Manhattan's Time Warner Center. When a job opportunity in Los Angeles opened up a few years later, Amy couldn't say no to a new adventure back on the west coast. But Seattle eventually called her back home and Amy returned to pursue a Master's degree in Business Administration with the hopes of learning the skills she needed to feed her entrepreneurial spirit. Before graduating, Amy co-founded Paxson Fay with Tessa Andrews in 2015. Amy focuses on marketing strategy, public relations, social media, and partnerships.
Tessa graduated from Fordham University in New York with a dual bachelor's degree in Communications and Political Science. During her time at Fordham, she worked for an interior designer and at NBC News where she developed her love for both design and communications. After graduating, Tessa managed marketing at 3form, a pioneer in the sustainable building products industry. During her tenure, 3form was repeatedly named one of the most recognized manufacturers in the design industry among architects and designers, and the company won multiple awards for its innovative product launches. After 3form, Tessa consulted on marketing efforts with leading product manufacturers in architecture and design before starting Paxson Fay with Amy.
After graduating from Fordham University in New York City with a major in Communications and Media Studies and a handful of marketing and PR internships, Colby moved to Boston to manage marketing for a small, women-owned, creative consulting agency. While in that role, Colby managed public relations and marketing efforts for some of Boston's most prominent events and public art initiatives, including the Boston Pickle Fair and The Bulfinch Crossing Projections in downtown Boston. Colby gained experience crafting brand stories and identities through social media marketing and creative copywriting, seen through the successful launch of a premier Massachusetts adult-use dispensary and the revamp of her agency's own website. After two years, Colby decided it was time to figure out what the West Coast was all about. Looking to blend her marketing experience with her passion for design and architecture, Colby found Paxson Fay, where she focuses on social media strategy and management and public relations.
Originally from Spokane, Washington, Stasha relocated to Seattle after completing her studies in communications at Eastern Washington University. Over the past seven years, she has held various communication roles at Amazon, specializing in crisis communication and brand reputation. In June of 2023, Stasha joined Paxson Fay as a Communications Specialist, providing her with the opportunity to blend her communications expertise with her passion for design. Stasha focuses on PR efforts for a variety of clients at Paxson Fay.
We are looking for a star communications specialist to join our team, leading creative brands in their communications efforts across platforms. Click here to read more.
what we do
We are a communications firm founded in our passion for good design. Our unique approach to marketing and public relations in the architecture and design community has elevated our clients work to the next level. We’re backed by a talented community of creatives. From copywriters to social media experts, we provide a complete package of customized services. We strive to create a personal experience with each client, integrating teams and tackling your biggest marketing and public relations challenges from a high level. Then we help execute those plans ensuring lots of reporting along the way, with lots of coffee breaks in between because we’re from Seattle and that’s what we do.
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Here is a little taste of who we love to work with and what we love to do.