Fresh, new look marks end of an era


Today marks the debut of a new logo/masthead for the Madras Pioneer, which brings with it a cleaner, sleeker, more modern design.

The new logo/masthead puts us in line with other papers in the Pamplin Media Group/Community Newspapers Inc. stable. The company seeks to create a similar look within its papers, to present a unified presence to readers to advertisers. It makes good business sense. What’s more, it is a sharper, improved look. Other design changed, more subtle, are imminent.

Our longtime sister paper, the Central Oregonian in Prineville, was recently purchased by the Pamplin Group as well, in June. Now there are two of us in Central Oregon, joining the rest of the company papers in the Portland metro area. Being better soldiers, the Central Oregonian changed their look within a week or two of being purchased by PMG. We were purchased back in January and still hadn’t adopted the look. No one had handed down the edict to, indeed, “make the change now,” but after the Prineville paper’s rapid effort, I figured we’d better get to it. Better late than never — and it is better.

But, the change means putting out to pasture the logo and masthead that has represented the Pioneer for the past 20 years.

When I was brought over to run the Pioneer back in 1993, Dick Nafsinger, our former company’s former president who put me here — and one of the great community newspaper leaders ever (not because of his promoting me, but in spite of that) — told me to “Change it up; make it your own.” That, in general, is good advice for anyone taking over just about anything.

One of my first plans was to establish a logo, a new, updated look for the 89-year-old paper. I had a lot of big ideas back when I was 30, but for this all-important new logo, I had an outright “concept” — a geology-inspired logo that moved from south to north, It would start at the left (south) with a flowing river that pools to represent the three rivers becoming Lake Billy Chinook; the center core of the logo would be Round Butte in the forefront (a butte shared by our central Jefferson County communities of Madras, Culver and Metolius), overshadowed by Mount Jefferson, the most iconic element of, and the namesake of, our county. On the right, or north edge, of the logo was a sun setting behind Jefferson, line elements to represent the flowing Deschutes emerging from the dammed waters behind Round Butte, above three small triangles included as an homage to the Warm Springs Reservation.

After an early hand-drawn version, the logo was computer-generated, and remained unchanged for about 19 years.

While most nonlocals (heck, probably even most locals) would look at it and wonder, “What in the world is all that supposed to be?” I was awfully proud of it. No doubt it could have been, should have been, sharpened, modified, improved, digitally redressed over the last two decades — as nearly everything else has been. But, it stood the test of time well enough. And why gussie it up to make it fit a new era. Just let it rest, with the era it existed in.

Also, it takes tons of time and effort to change out a logo from a business, especially a business that focuses on marketing and promotion. While it won’t be on our paper, it will remain on event T-shirts worn about town, posters, keepsake publications we’ve produced over the years, and even on our van and Fifth Street sign for some time.

The old logo had a great ride through the boom time of the mid-’90s through the late ’00s, and has hung on through the tumultuous economic times of the last few years. We’ve emerged from those times as a newspaper in a better place, atop a stronger foundation. For that matter, so has the countywide community we serve.

It’s a perfect time for a fresh look and a re-inspired attitude.