County officials approve new logo
Symbol will replace 16 others used by agencies
Bucolic horse farms, world-renowned underground springs and brilliant sunshine.
The County Commission unanimously approved the new seal at its meeting Tuesday. The goal was to replace 16 different symbols used by various county agencies, Public Information manager Heather Danenhower told the commission.
The new, four-color design features a pair of horses standing alongside what appears to be a river, with a tree on the opposite bank and the sun and its rays serving as the backdrop.
Danenhower said at the meeting the water represents the county’s springs. Both Rainbow and Silver springs, two of the largest in the state, have spawned rivers that feed other tributaries.
Previously, the county’s main logo displayed the silhouette of Marion County and its place on a map of Florida and the sun’s rays.
Almost all of the other seals that were replaced Tuesday incorporated that basic design to some degree.
Most of those also sported the county’s “The Kingdom of the Sun” motto, which is absent from the new symbol.
Instead the words “Board of County Commissioners” appear above the logo, with “Marion County Florida” and an individual department’s name beneath.
The logo also attempts to demonstrate that the community is “more than just a sun setting in the west” and wasn’t just a “blip” on the map of the Sunshine State, Danenhower told the board.
Danenhower added that the change, rooted in the branding initiative found in County Administrator Lee Niblock’s “Doing More with Less” strategic plan, was to establish “one logo, one message, one identity.”
In his plan, Niblock wrote, “It is essential that Marion County present itself as a unified organization that delivers solid, consistent messages to the community it serves. Therefore, branding of Marion County must be addressed as an element for improvement.
“From business cards to official publications to employee uniforms and the Web site,” he added, “the message must be clear and consistent across the board.”
Danenhower said in an e-mail on Wednesday that she had worked on this project on and off since July.
Four other staffers had input into it, as did others outside county government.
Danenhower said she twice met with department directors about the new logo, and gathered feedback from the Ocala chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, the local Air Force Association group, the chairmen of the county’s advisory boards and even a Sumter County public safety organization.
Marion County’s new logo will be affixed to new business cards, letterhead, envelopes, note cards and note pads.
Those items, however, will not display the symbol until existing supplies are exhausted, Danenhower said.
She expected it to take three to five years before the new symbol was the symbol for the county.
Based on bid information it has received, the county expects to save $6,554 a year initially on its office supplies by having just one logo, once the new design comes online.
A local graphic designer was paid $1,912 to develop the new look.
In addition to the savings, which are expected to grow over time, the new look will minimize redundancy and reduce inconsistency, Danenhower added.
Danenhower also thinks this process will provide better customer service and help people to more easily identify Marion County as a provider of services.
The county does not plan to put the new design on county flags or replace the large icon that hangs behind the board in the commission auditorium, she said. The county fire department’s logo was the only one untouched by the makeover.
Danenhower explained that the Maltese Cross, a traditional symbol of the fire service, was retained to honor that history.