Many of those who are familiar with Lethbridge — the third-largest city in Alberta — will recognize its long-standing crest: a neutral-colored image, showing a crown atop a coat of arms.
It includes images symbolizing important aspects of the area, including agriculture, coal mining and settlement.
But after 114 years, city officials have revealed a new, fresh image to associate with the city.
“The challenge I think we’ve had when we’ve shown our crest to people, is people are not impressed by the crest itself,” said Mayor Chris Spearman. “It presents an image of a hundred years ago.”
On Tuesday, the city showcased a modernized crest and new logo for the first time, something Spearman believed was long overdue.
“Having that crest for (that many) years without a progression, I think it was time to update the image of the city.”
“There’s a little saying in Latin underneath that crest. It meant ‘gateway to opportunity’ but nobody knew what it was.”
The new logo shows an artistic letter “L,” which is meant to “combine the elements of a progressive city with local perspectives while tying in the movement of the Oldman river located in heart of Blackfoot territory,” according to the city’s webpage.
Tara Grindle, the city’s manager of corporate strategic communications, said there are three elements that come together to form the “L” seen in both the modernized crest and primary logo.
“The top part of the ‘L’ being a building, a city,” she said. “The section coming out of the ‘L’ sort of shows that forward-looking perspective, it mimics our roads, our pathways, it mimics the bridge here.
“The little swoop underneath being the water, the river, also tying it back to the traditional Blackfoot lands.”
Grindle added the city was able to use research and funding already provided through its 2018 community branding initiative, bringing the idea to fruition with the help of The Met Agency out of Edmonton, who were selected through a competitive process.
She said the goal of the branding is to attract new residents, students and investors to Lethbridge.
“There was no new money put into this, it was just through operating budgets that we were able to achieve it,” she explained.
“We didn’t have to start from scratch, and that (research) really was the jumping off point for us to go: ‘OK we can do this, and do can do it smartly and economically.'”
Levi Guerra, the marketing director at Artrageous Advertising, said it would have been nice to see more public engagement on the city’s part, in order to have a final product that reflected the wishes of citizens.
Several years ago, Artrageous was involved in creating new branding for Exhibition Park.
“A big thing for us at that time, being that it was such a big community piece, a big community staple, was that we really wanted to go above and beyond to collect community feedback,” Guerra explained.
“It would have been just great if they taken the opportunity to involve more community feedback in order to kind of come to the best possible outcome that really was representative of Lethbridge and its place in Alberta.”
Guerra also said he thinks the logo took it “a little bit too much into the modern direction,” but agrees that an update was likely overdue.
Lane Anderson, the CEO of London Road Marketing, thinks the new image will help the city succeed in its mission to update the image of Lethbridge.
“The logo looks slick, I like that it’s modernized, minimalist,” he said. “It looks like fresh, invigorating — it’s a good, fresh thing to bring to the city.”
On Tuesday, the City of Lethbridge social media channels and webpage were updated with the new imaging, but Grindle said it will take a while before it will be seen around the city.
“We’re only going to do this where it makes financial and operational sense to do it,” Grindle said.
“It’s not going to be throwing out every crest that exists out there because that doesn’t make any sense and that crest is still going to a part of our history.”
The crest will be reverted to its originally intended use as a symbol of mayor and council, as well as for more formal, ceremonial purposes.