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SLO County seal gets a makeover

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SLO County’s official seal is finally ready for a facelift. But the proposed new seal is still missing one feature it’s lacked for at least the last 43 years: a woman.

County staff rolled out a revamped seal and proposed county logo to the Board of Supervisors Oct. 11. The revised seal and new logo is an attempt to establish a coherent brand image for the county that residents will easily recognize, according to Whitney Szentesi, a social media and communications analyst for the county.

“We want to increase citizen engagement on all levels,” Szentesi said.

The new seal features the same visual elements of its predecessor, including a ship, the iconic Morro Rock, a grizzly bear, and the faces of an early explorer, a Native American, and a Spanish missionary. However, the seal’s former gold and black colors were swapped with brown, blue, and white. The new seal also has enlarged text of the county’s motto “Not For Ourselves Alone” on its outside boarder to make it more readable.

Eric Greening, a resident and frequent commenter at the board’s meetings, said he liked the redesigned county seal, but also offered some constructive criticism.

“I don’t identify any female faces,” Greening said of the seal, noting that the board itself had two female supervisors. “For the first hundred years or so, government was a guy thing. It isn’t anymore.”

Supervisor Frank Mecham jokingly corrected Greening with his own analysis of the seal.

“If I’m not mistaken, that’s a female bear,” Mecham said, garnering a chuckle from the board members.

SLO County’s seal was created in 1883 and later redesigned in 1973. Since that time, the seal had been modified unofficially and different county departments use various versions of it. 

“It became difficult to increase awareness of county programs and services when we weren’t being clear about who we were as an organization,” Szentesi said.

The new seal, if approved, would create an across-the-board standard, and would be used only for formal and official business or correspondence by the Board of Supervisors. An informal logo in the shape of the county will replace the seal on county vehicles and internal communications. According to the report, it will cost $4,526 to rebrand the county’s fleet of vehicles once the new seal and logo are approved.

County staff is expected to bring the seal and logo back at a future meeting for formal adoption by the supervisors. 

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