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City of Napa logo

The new official symbol for the city of Napa adds a splash of water, color and grapes.

“I feel we’ve come up with something that brings it some color,” said Mayor Jill Techel. “When you see this, you’ll see Napa, and you’ll see the grapes, and you’ll see what we really are.”

A four-color logo, jointly submitted by Julia Allen of Folia Design and Heather Piazza of Piazza Marketing, won City Council approval on a 4-1 vote last week. The logo redesign, Napa’s first since the late 1980s, will appear on city websites, signs, decals, stationery, clothing and other products.

The new vertically oriented symbol uses a pattern of green parallel bars to represent the valley’s hills and vine rows, with blue rows for the Napa River. Two gray, peaked building figures represent the city and a bunch of maroon grapes honors Napa County’s dominant crop. At the bottom is a maroon rectangle bearing the words “CITY OF NAPA” in white, with the city name below the first two words in a larger font.

For non-color publication, three alternate versions of the logo depict the same scene in maroon and white, gray and white, and in white on a black background.

The soon-to-be-retired city symbol features a maroon-colored sketch of stylized vineyards, background hills and a cityscape, with black letters spelling out the city name in a single line at the bottom.

Although city staff began seeking last year to replace what they called an outdated logo, its redesign was triggered not by complaints about its look but by the city seal – the stamp imprinted on official city documents – that began literally falling apart with age. With no original artwork available to re-create the old seal, the city in began seeking designers to develop a new seal and logo in June 2014.

Allen and Piazza received the nod over eight other applicants, receiving $11,750 from the city.

Despite the revised Napa logo’s more colorful look and more modern typeface, the design keeps the elements of farm fields, hills and buildings – continuity the new symbol’s supporters said showed the basic soundness of its predecessor.

“We decided there were some good bones there, so we asked for a newer, fresher look,” Techel said.

Councilman Peter Mott, however, sees the link between old and new logos as a lack of inspiration. He cast the only vote against the change, saying a greater departure was needed from the existing design.

“To see that up here and on our trucks and representing our people for the next 20 years is a struggle,” he said, pointing to the logo in the council chambers. “I think we should do it right and to me, that means spending more money and doing it well. It’s a rework that didn’t get reworked enough.”

City staff said the colorful new logo will appear online first before gradually being rolled out on signs, forms, vehicle labels, merchandise and printed products as displays of the old symbol wear out or are exhausted.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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