An Arrow for Broken Bow’s New Broken Brand

Broken Bow logo for the website

Broken Bow is a city in Custer County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 3,559 at the 2010 census.

It’s not a big place then, but as you know, I love a tale of governmental logo rebrands gone awry aka City Logo Fails, and despite it’s size, Broken Bows is a good tale.

Around 12 months ago a bunch of agencies, Custer Economic Development Corporation, Custer County Tourism, Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, the city of Broken Bow and more invested in some new branding for the city.

They employed the services of North Star (this one I think) to run a redesign process, which included interviews with locals, stakeholders and others.

Chamber of Commerce variation.
Chamber of Commerce variation.

The result is a utilitarian logo with an all caps sans serif Broken Bow, a hideously widely spaces Nebraska and the tag line “Rooted.  But Not Standing Still” in s serif font. It also features a right pointing arrow between Broken and Bow. The town has started to roll out the design, along with some stakeholders who replace the town name or Nebraska with their name, such as Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce and Custer County Economic Development Corp. They add a splash of colour too.

As a design it’s rather bland, that spacing on Nebraska is vile (it looks far better with the longer titles such as “Chamber of Commerce” and the clash of the serifs and sans serifs is not good. The tag looks literally tagged on the end as an after thought.

Custer County EDC variation.
Custer County EDC variation.

But that’s not the issue the towns Mayor has, who recently vetoed the application of the logo to the towns vans. The core of the issue for the Mayor and various residents is a regular one for town branding, that of the loss of tradition and history, that however good or bad, the old logo was, the new design has wiped out out that tradition.

I usually say “shut up people, move with the times” but not on this one as not only is the new one a mediocre solution, but also, well the place is called “Broken Bow”. Broken is pretty negative I guess, but it is the towns name and the old one did have a broken bow, reflecting the towns story that it’s founder discovered a broken bow on the land the city was placed. The new one has an arrow.

That’s right, and arrow.

Not a bow.



5425984762091.imageThe old bow might be due an update and as far as I can tell there’s no formal specified brand rules for the bow (any town using papyrus on their website is in need of some hefty guidance), but I can’t help think that developing that would have made some sense.

Still according to town law, the Mayors veto isn’t worth anything if the council agree to something by 2/3. So it’s likely that Broken Bow will see it’s new design on vans.

via Custer County Chief.

log on a cap, natch.
Logo rendered on a worn out cap, natch.


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