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by BRAD ROLLINS

As logos go, our old one wasn’t very good. I can say so without fear of hurting someone’s feelings because I “designed” it myself nearly five years ago, back when the Mercury was more a hobby than a business.

The little winged newspaper was meant to evoke Mercury, the mythical messenger god. But not everyone who saw it knew what it was supposed to be saying. That’s not a good place to start with a logo, the best of which approach being memorable, timeless and clean, all at the same time.

Nearly a year ago, Rivercity Sportswear’s Ron Oswalt was trying to sell me t-shirts and started prodding none too subtly about updating the Mercury logo. I rarely take aesthetic advice from a Southern Mississippi alum but I knew Oswalt was right about my flying newspaper being pretty incomprehensible and pretty ugly, attached to it though I admittedly was.

Oswalt put me in touch with Adam Tracey, Rivercity’s talented graphic artist, who came up with some starting points for new images. One of his early designs featured a big letter “M” in white on a field of blue. It definitely popped. I wanted something that could fly, too.

Tracey went back to the drawing board and, in a matter of hours, had worked up several more options, one of which became an immediate favorite — a striking, elegant letter “M” taking flight on outstretched wings. They could be Mercury’s wings (or Icarus’s, for that matter). They could also belong to a native hawk or other bird of prey. It works in different ways for different people in much the same way a good local newspaper should.

While waiting to unfurl our new banner in step with the new year, I commissioned a few modifications to Tracey’s design. We changed the serif typeface and substituted what I think is a bolder and more stately blue. We also designed a variation that uses the “M” without the wings to employ in contexts that demand the simplest of images — icons on Facebook and Twitter, for example.

It will take us a while to implement our new nameplate across all digital and print material but New Year’s Eve seemed like a logical time to get started. With our new logo out front, the San Marcos Mercury is flying high into 2013.

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