There are multiple ways for a suburb to set itself apart from hundreds of other suburban competitors and this includes the town logo and motto. Leaders in Schaumburg recently debated a change:
After months of research and deliberation with a consultant, the village staff offered “Skillfully Planned. Artfully Achieved” as a potential update of the long-established tagline “Progress Through Thoughtful Planning.”
They also presented three possible alternatives to the green-and-yellow logo depicting a stylized “S” inside a heraldic rose from the coat of arms of Schaumburg-Lippe, Germany, from which the village derives its name…
Trustee Mark Madej focused his criticism on the proposed new tagline, saying it sounded “past tense” and not like a method of weighing future decisions like the current one has been for him…
Connelly said she felt the old tagline was most in need of change, criticizing “Progress” as an old-fashioned term not reflective of today’s high-tech corporations that already have found so many homes in Schaumburg.
The village’s website includes an explanation of the logo:
It may be easy to dismiss such discussions as simply marketing. Suburbs, like brands, need to quickly convey who they are in a landscape where businesses and residents are often searching for homes. The logo and motto can be easily slapped on signs, printed materials, and the Internet to show the world what this particular community is about. And if you are not actively pushing your suburban brand, others will fill the void. For example, you can hear numerous radio ads in the Chicago area explaining how different suburbs are best for your home and business.
At the same time, suburbs have few opportunities to as a full community come together and sum up who they are. What does make them unique from the suburb next door? Beyond being home to over 74,000 residents and to Woodfield Mall, what is Schaumburg? The logo hints at an established past – harkening back to Germany – while the motto attempts to position the suburb as an active yet quality place – which is why both “progress” and “thoughtful” are in there to convey that in the eyes of the community, this is not just sprawl. Outsiders may disagree on what Schaumburg actually is but suburban communities do get their chances to define themselves in the motto and logo.
And as the Schaumburg discussion suggests, it is not easy in communities to significantly change their own branding. This may reflect that suburbs themselves often do not change drastically over decades or that once a brand is established, it becomes reified.