Pelzer seeking identity through branding

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By Stan Welch
The efforts of the Town of Pelzer to create a recognizable brand met with mixed responses Tuesday night (Oct. 20). The second branding meeting attracted almost twice as many residents as the first meeting, with approximately twenty people in attendance, including the entire town council.
The crowd’s responses to the efforts of the design group, Lunchbox Creative, however were tepid at best. The designs presented were intended to evoke response and input from the residents and they certainly did. Two basic directions were represented by the examples provided. Direction A took more of a Main Street approach, according to Noah Taylor, in terms of the art design and the fonts used. It featured the town’s name in a robust but fluid type face, and was intended to advance the image of a small Southern town.
Direction B took a little starker, more industrial approach, with the water tower as the centerpiece, and a blockier type face. The purpose was to evoke the industrial heritage of the town. Both examples offered either a medium blue or a crimson option as to color.
After considerable coaxing from the design team, the audience expressed several opinions, including incorporating elements of both approaches, to create a third direction, combining both imagery and color schemes. That inclination to mix elements continued to be evident during a review of two proposed designs for the municipal flag.
The examples presented utilized a blue background, with a dominant gear wheel to represent the dynamos of the hydroelectric power source that played such a pivotal role in the town’s existence. An acorn also appears on both flags, symbolic of something small that can grow into something larger; hopefully an expression of the town’s future, according to Taylor. The second flag showed the acorn as well as a white oak leaf, which are common to the area.
According to the crowd response, that idea fell flat. The symbols of the dam and the water tower, and their incorporation into the final design were a constant theme of the response. Recalling the town’s history seemed much more important than any reflection of its potential.
Mayor Ragland suggested that the team come to the next meeting with a larger array of options for the residents to consider. Implicit in that request was the idea that some of those options reflect the responses received Tuesday night.