Tourism logo quest leads back to drawing board

January 30, 1998


Staff Writer

A new tourism logo offered in place of a version that offended area veterans failed to win approval during a Thursday Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau board meeting at Municipal Stadium.

Several board members said they want a logo to reflect the area's Civil War history.

Board members agreed the logo should show a Civil War cannon silhouetted behind a banner patterned after the Maryland flag. The slogan, "Making Maryland Memories," will remain.

Executive Director Ben R. Hart said he didn't want to use a cannon because Gettysburg, Pa., uses a cannon in its tourism logo.


"From a marketing standpoint, Burger King doesn't use Golden Arches," Hart said during the meeting.

Board members rejected proposed logos designed by two firms hired to come up with designs.

The temporary logo Hart released to the public earlier this week will be used in a few ads.

Hart said he hoped to have a new logo ready within two weeks, but it will need to be approved by the marketing committee.

Tourism President Jim Kell said board members learned from using the flag incorrectly in the original logo.

Tourism officials last November scrapped a proposed logo that showed an American flag draped over a cannon after area veterans said they found it offensive.

The American flag should not be draped over anything except a veteran's coffin and should never touch the ground, according to the Code of Flag Display and Use.

Hart pointed out to board members that it took them about 45 seconds to approve a roughly $560,000 budget and marketing plan, while they spent almost two hours discussing the logo.

The budget for 1998 reflects the shift in focus from salaries to marketing that drove a restructuring of the tourism bureau in the last year.

The board has $299,530 budgeted for promotional programs this year compared to $108,250 during the budget year that ended June 30, 1996, according to the marketing plan. The bureau's fiscal year now coincides with the calendar year.

This year, $186,180 is budgeted for salaries and benefits compared with $350,520 in fiscal 1996.

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