Whidbey’s byway needs a logo

How does one encompass Whidbey Island’s beauty and idyllically diverse vantages in a single logo? That question will be answered by the eclectic mix of artistic and creative minds dotting the island.

The Whidbey Scenic Isle Way scenic byway steering committee is soliciting ideas from the public in a “Call for Inspiration” to help give shape and vision to the logo’s design, as well as designs for gateway monuments to welcome travelers to the scenic byway.

“The more input we get, the better product we’ll get,” said Mike Morton, Island County Public Works transportation planner and Corridor Management Plan project manager.

The Washington Department of Transportation designated state routes 20 and 525 as “scenic byways” in 1967, recognizing the uniqueness and significance of the rural passages.

“We think it’s pretty special,” Morton said. “I don’t know of another island byway in America.”

Traveling the length of the island, one is afforded panoramic views of lush, sprawling open spaces, dense forests and mountain ranges looming in the distance. With Puget Sound surrounding the breathtaking land mass, it is no wonder Whidbey is a destination, not a narrow island conduit leading to more appealing locations.

“What image would really capture all of that? What is that iconic thing?” Morton asked.

Mandi Roberts, a principal with the Seattle-based planning and design company Otak, Inc., and the assigned project manager to coordinate the logo and gateway designs, said public input could take many forms, from traditional art, to poems, to written descriptions.

“All of the feedback will be considered as inspiration to influence the design process,” she said.

Otak will provide assistance to the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way committee and Island County in organizing the submissions and developing specific designs for the logos and gateway monuments to reflect the ideas and suggestions provided by the public.

County representatives will work closely with the scenic byway committee on the project, and public involvement will be an important part of the process. The three gateways will be located in the vicinity of Clinton, Keystone, and Deception Pass on the Whidbey Island side.

“We anticipate that the logo and gateway design will be influenced by many of the ideas that come forward, and not specifically just one idea. All contributors will be identified and recognized in some way, but there is no compensation and no prizes,” Roberts said. “This is not a contest. Rather it is a a philanthropic and public involvement opportunity, reaching out to citizens and interests across the island for their input and ideas.”

She added that the gateway monuments could be sculptural or architectural, or similar styles to signs marking the entrance to a state or national park or other area of interest. The public input will shape the designs that are developed, and members of the public who contribute ideas to the process will be recognized.

“The reward is the recognition,” Morton said “and being part of defining the identity of the byway, which will leave a lasting and memorable, indelible mark on Whidbey Island.”

The logo will also appear on signs placed along the roads.

“They’ll be spaced about five miles apart to serve as a reminder that you’re still on the byway,” Morton said.

The county initially received a grant to fund the development of the Corridor Management Plan, a document adopted in 2005 that listed and prioritized desired projects. The plan provided the county access to National Scenic Byway programs.

“One of the first things listed was the development of a logo,” Morton said.

A $45,000 grant was awarded for the design of the gateway monument, as well as design and production of the logo sign. Additional grant funding of $75,000 will pay for the gateway monument signs and the funding will be split between the three Whidbey geographical areas. Each community is wholly unique and the signs should reflect their respective individuality, Morton said.

“They will still all bear the logo,” he said. “That will tie the three together.”

Byway representatives are committed to not only enhancing experiences for visitors to the island, but also to the stewardship of the unique qualities of the byway and preserving the quality of life that Whidbey islanders cherish.

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