WOU Students Develop Ideas To Market Area

MONMOUTH — Students at Western Oregon University have designed new logos for the Monmouth-Independence-WOU area, including creating some catchy mottos.

“Combined efforts, shared triumphs,” was one student’s idea of what the three communities could use to market themselves as one unit.

“Heart of the Willamette Valley,” was another.

About 20 different students in Jen Bracy’s graphic design class have created various logos for the cities independently and combined.

Monmouth City Manager Scott McClure said the joint branding is particularly interesting.

“That would be a fresh look at something,” he said, noting that the only other way Monmouth, Independence and WOU have in the way of joint branding is through the Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce.

Though neither city, nor the university, is actively seeking to rebrand itself, the project helps students get to know the community better, Bracy said.

It also helps students see how design can positively impact their community, she said.

“It sends the message to folks living and working in these communities that WOU wants to be more involved and inclusive,” Bracy said.

When the communities surrounding WOU benefit and grow, it helps the university attract more students, Bracy said.

“This is largely a hypothetical campaign at this time,” Bracy said. “However, leaders in Monmouth and Independence are very interested in what takes shape and will be visiting our classes at the end of the term to attend a final presentation of the works by each student.”

Students drew on their surroundings, taking photos of landmarks in the three communities. Color choices were based on the red brick of historic buildings or the greens and browns of trees.

Mountains, valleys, hops and sunsets inspired students’ designs, also, in addition to the attitude of the people who live in the communities: warmth, friendliness and family values.

The logo project is an example of “place branding,” Bracy explained.

“It refers to all the activities that are undergone with the purpose of turning a city from a location into a destination,” she said.

Independence City Manager David Clyne said he could see value in a tool to market the three communities. By attracting business and tourism to one part of the area, it helps the others.