Colorado Springs, Live it Up!

That is the new city brand and slogan, announced today by the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and local city and county leaders.

“Everybody wants our city and region to be successful and this brand expresses that,” said Mayor Steve Bach.

There have been many attempts over the years to come up with a city or regional brand, said Doug Price, CEO of the CVB. This brand tries to appeal to  residents, businesses and visitors, he said.

“It’s time for the city to brand itself, rather than be branded by people outside the community,” he said.

The Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. expects to incorporate the new slogan in its marketing campaign, newsletters and website. It will emphasized in all correspondence with California and Illinois companies – two states where Colorado is recruiting heavily.

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In all, the project cost $111,000, paid for by the CVB.

In May, Stone Mantel was awarded an $80,000 contract from the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of the Colorado Springs Mayor’s Branding Task Force.

The brand and strategy firm has done work for the Smithsonian, wrote the signature motto for Anchorage, Alaska, and helped brand dozens of corporations and cities across the country.

The firm’s principal and lead strategist, Dave Norton, led a six-member team in formulating the branding platform to be used for marketing and advertising campaigns that both define and hype the city. Norton said the brand would try to address residents, visitors and businesses that Colorado Springs is trying to keep or attract.

The team met with historians, city leaders and conducted man-on-the-street interviews to find out what people think about Colorado Springs. In August, Stone Mantel hosted a two-day charrette with about 100 community leaders to further define words and phrases that describe what it means to live in Colorado Springs and what they believe is a desired brand for the city.

The brand was developed after key words were identified such as vibrant, exceptional and rugged. People the Springs are inspired to achieve, find balance between work and play and find the city to be a good place to start anew.

In October, the CVB hired an Oklahoma City-based research firm, WPA Opinion Research, to test the slogans before the task force settled on one.

Colorado Springs, Live it Up has a job to do, Price said. It will attempt to bring in jobs, bring in visitors and create a connection with visitors.

“Colorado Springs needs to be seen as the center of the region,” Price said.

So, tell us what you think: Do you like the new brand?



  1. How does “Live It Up” brand Colorado Springs? You could use that tagline for ANY (yes, ANY) city in the entire United States of America. I’m sorry. I wish I felt differently. Everything about this logo and tagline, including it’s $111,000 price tag, is wrong. We look like a minor league baseball team with a 3-color logo – a poor mark (is that Pikes Peak?), poor typography, poor color choices. I mean a swoosh. Really? This is a sad day for our profession as marketers and designers alike.

  2. $111,000? Sheesh what are these folks thinking? Just because you slap a fresh coat of paint on a rusty old car, it is still a rusty old car. C. Springs needs to become the community it can from within not by exorbitant ad campaigns and slogans, another issue I see is that if we are trying to keep our younger professionals here and yet we hire some out of town companies to rebrand us with??? And what is up with the “g” in springs?

  3. $110,000 to come up with this? And I highly doubt they did work for the Smithsonian….unless it was to come up with the the bathroom signage. This is God awful.

    This firm has broken pretty much every rule in the branding book. It’s a pity that we rushed through the process so fast. Many didn’t even know we were working on a brand. And who were these “100 community leaders” I’d like to know. Think some digging by the CSBJ would be nice.

  4. Also a quick Google search of the phrase should have been a big red flag this doesn’t fit:

    “live it up~
    to have an exciting time; to do what one pleases—regardless of cost—to please oneself. At the party, John was really living it up. Come on! Have fun! Live it up!”

  5. …………. lame.
    …. i recognize the restraints that an branding campaign has to work within, but still …….

  6. Who can afford to “live it up” here? Not me! And crime rate suggests a lot of people already are. So glad to be moving away soon!

  7. A lot of people are focusing on what the logo looks like or the tag line. Which leaves a bit to be desired.

    I looked up the agency that created this branding, it appears they are located or possess a Denver phone number. A story I read touted them as local … to Colorado I guess.

    There are several projects over the years that are large scale, local, bedrock organizations that have taken their advertising/marketing business out of town. I am wondering why they aren’t being called out on it. A few I can think of are Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Sky Sox rebranding, and now this. Even the Memorial Skatepark was outsourced to a Florida Company.

    Maybe there is a story in the details.

  8. This is without question the worst attempt at branding I’ve ever seen. This would have been a horrible logo/slogan in the 80’s. It’s far, far worse to use it now.

    Colorado Springs needs to figure it out, or else you’ll keep chasing young people away with your lack of quality design (be it architecture, streetscapes, art, or regional branding). I’m from the Springs, lived their my whole life until I left for college. Now, as a young professional designer, I know I will not return anytime soon. This branding is symbolic of why. The Springs just doesn’t get it.

  9. This is truly an embarrassment given the amount spent and the weak motto/logo provided. Is there no way we can say, “Sorry, this doesn’t meet our expectations, give us some other options?”

    Biggest issues:
    – Logo looks like a stylized Rockies logo (or – insert any sports team here). Using Pike Peak in the logo is best, but this could have been handled in so many better ways (see UCCS and PPLD as good examples). Even the current logo, with the downtown skyline against the peak, is more representative of the uniqueness of this city in contrast to a generic purple mountain with a green swoosh.

    – Font used for the text is “old timey” – not what a forward looking city that wants to attract businesses in the 21st century should be projecting. It is also *very* close to the font used for Manitou’s logo (and rustic is more appropriate for that town, given it’s wealth of historic buildings and tourism based on history).

    – The motto is extremely weak; it represents nothing unique to our city but does stand for “party hard”. Compared to Stone Mantel’s Anchorage campaign, it’s shoddy. Also, this motto is in use by at least two other communities, Battle Creek, MI, and an historic district in Raleigh, NC. As an agency, they could have done a little research into it’s uniqueness. The motto is also widely used on social media sites as, “Nothing lasts forever so live it up, drink it down, laugh it off.”. In many contexts, “live it up” represents something akin to going for broke and partying since there is nothing left to lose. Is that really what we want to convey to tourists or to prospective businesses, especially with the recent 20/20 coverage of the vice squad/Hooters scandal? Given that we’re trying to turn the image of downtown away from rollicking partiers at the wealth of bars there into a better district for everyone, do we really want a party anthem as our motto?

    My other concern is the cost of changing our websites (chamber of commerce, springsgov and tourism) as well as printed media to reflect the new logo/motto. I would like to know what costs will be associated with these changes; are they in the current budget? Has money been set aside for this already? Or are we just going to slap the motto/logo into the existing websites? Anchorage launched completely revised city websites to go along with their branding at an additional cost to their branding, but I haven’t heard any plans for us doing the same (and springsgov is also an embarrassment of a website, overdue for an overhaul).

    Our current logo is far more professional looking than the new one. I’d like to take the agency involved to task to re-submit a logo worth $110,000, because this is not that.

  10. So, apparently what makes a “brand” these days is an ill-conceived logo and generic slogan? This is a joke. How much money did we waste on this catastrophe? The logo is so poorly designed it’s disgusting. The slogan “Live it up” is already being used by at least 7 other tourism boards. Yeah, this really set’s up apart. Good job, idiots. Here’s a wild idea, the next time you want to “brand” the city, why don’t you source one of the handful of internationally recognized identity designers that currently work and reside in Colorado Springs? A team (or individual) that know and understands what it takes to develop a professional logo and unique stance… and leave it to them. Hire an expert(s) and let them do what they do. Our “brand task force”? What do these imbeciles know about branding, design? From the looks of the results, not a damn thing.

  11. Wow, terrible. Impressively terrible. This is an epic fail. Definitely looks like a minor league baseball logo with a slogan out of a beer commercial. What is that little green thing on the \g\? Did they do this in an hour? The city got ripped off BIG time! Please, please scrap this and get the city a refund on that $110,000. And why is Steve Bach’s comment the official quote on it? Does he have a marketing background?

  12. Ugg, , , I’m really embarassed. I agree with just about every analysis so far. My first thought was also “this looks like the Rockies logo.” Such a shame. What happened?? It’s like they just plugged in their formulas and forgot about the humman soul. We’ll at least the soul of this area. Serrious embarassment. Someone needs to fess up to the mistakes and fix them. I’ll respect you a lot more if you can say you where wrong. PLEASE DON’T SADDLE US WITH THIS!

  13. I’m surprised and disappointed by this effort. It may be backed by thorough market research, a lot of work by the task force, and a talented agency, but the effect is weak, small-town, small-time. The (ghastly) logo seems to suggest that we’re a small town with nothing going for us but the ubiquitous mountain skyline, bad beer, and minor league baseball. C’mon, really? Minor league design–This is the best we can do?

    Just last week I took a road trip to Kansas City, Missouri and spent hours reading small town billboards and marketing slogans along I-70. Little ol’ Manhattan, Kansas (aka “The Little Apple”) is doing a better job of building their town’s brand. []

    The new Springs logo is appalling. And I’ll echo other designer/marketers who are frustrated that we haven’t tapped into the rich current of (truly) local talent. Is it really too late to take this back to the drawing board?

  14. Who are those people in the video? They certainly don’t look like people I would listen to for advice on where to move.

    it make this town look so… 1970. Yuk. I feel so yukkie now. I think I want to move…

  15. Live it up ??? !!!! What are you trying to say ? Is this altitude related ? Party in the Springs ?
    Very disappointed…..Not proud of this Logo !
    Your eam failed us !!

  16. This is awful. The video is cheesy and the logo looks like something my dog could have come up with. I can’t believe that a city who wants to be vibrant and attract young people would possibly “OK” a branding campaign like this. There are so many established, creative, local agencies like Sandia, Cukjati, and Vladimir – it is sad that the city didn’t go with one of these agencies who know the community so much better. Not to mention pumping the dollars BACK into the community.

  17. As a professional marketing consultant, I’m afraid to tell you this but all the negative comments above are exactly what I would have said; people, font, motto, etc. Either someone (the agency) got in way over their head or someone (the taskforce) did something terrible during the RFP process and/or subsequently. Clearly, something went wrong. On a technical note, it’s a long stretch to call this a “branding” campaign. I just hope the final check hasn’t been cut yet.

  18. The 70’s called – This is shameful design work, executed poorly, and all the rules about what makes a great logo has been broken. This will definitely enhance the Colorado Springs dowdy and boring reputation. I’m not from CS but I know of a few great branding professionals in your city that could have done a better job.

  19. I just rewatched the video and find it unconscionable that you’d have a tagline like “live it up” and you failed to mention the performing arts (symphony, theater, dance, opera, etc.) or anything cultural besides a quick slide of the FAC. Someone needs to review the impact studies that have been done on the arts and their economic value to a community.

  20. As a local, Colorado Springs designer I am embarrassed and disappointed. I feel that the vibe of this city is much more “Buy Local” than “Live it Up”. The $111K would have been much better spent by keeping that money within our city’s economy and hiring a local agency. There are several in town that are fully capable of handling this type of branding project. City officials should have demanded that a requirement of hiring an agency must be that they are indeed LOCAL. Who knows Colorado Springs better? The citizens that actually live here or those who say they are local but really operate out of California.

  21. Back in May, I commented about the original story, including Mr Norton and Stone Mantel.

    Mr. Norton, as you’ll recall, supposedly has advance degrees in “persuasion” and actually claims a doctorate in “rhetoric” . Also at that time, his branding consultant firm wouldn’t disclose their clients, except one who admitted they couldn’t quantify their branding results.

    It was, and still is, one of those real Laugh Out Loud moments..

    Also at about the time, Mr Price declined to reveal how the CVB was spending the funds he got from local tax allocations.

    Well, as is usually the case, everything gets revealed in the end. Mr Price is two for two in showing us he learned very well the Washington DC tap dance on how to spend (or waste, as the case may be..) tax dollars, and how a good bureacrat can be influenced by a good sales pitch, even from somebody with dubious credentials and no track record or local connectiions.

    So, Stone Mantel gave us…..what, exactly? A brand? the definiton of branding is: how you can tell who actually owns the cows. In this case, Stone Mantel certainly owns the ‘bull’………

    One thing for sure: Stome Mantel/Norton is a good sales consulting organization: They fit the definition of consultant: Somebody with an empty briefcase who will charge to tell you things you already know. And in this case, they actually raised the contact amount from $80,000 to $111,000. Like it or not, that’s a good sales job…….

    And, I ask again, they gave us what…exactly?

    ‘Live It Up” is right: Stone Mantel will be doing that all the way to the bank………

  22. You could have paid some of the best branding companies in the world much less than that to come up with one of the strongest brands. Instead, we waste over $100k on a terrible logo and terrible slogan. I am glad I don’t live in Colorado Springs anymore. I am embarrassed to say I’m from Colorado Springs. Thanks for throwing away money.

  23. This is not impressive. I’m getting so tired of this city getting “it” wrong. I won’t give up on Colorado Springs but how many poor decisions can we continue to make?

  24. I have been upset about this all day. Who in the world would have approved this and thought it looked good? Maybe they didn’t want to hurt the designers’ feelings? Or maybe they are just that out of it. I don’t fault the designers on this, I fault the client, who should have given more guidance, and who should have sent this back to the drawing board.

    Using this logo would do exactly the opposite of what the city is trying to achieve. The colors are late 80’s, early 1990’s. The logo and text looks like someone who had just used their old Pagemaker software for the first time was sitting down to try out all the “cool” fonts, and found a couple little pieces of clipart to stick in there as well. “Cool! We can use clip art in this program!” The mountain with the swoosh under it looks like a baseball hat. Has anyone on this team looked at any of the design work that’s gone on over the past 20 years? The font is totally outdated and gives the impression that Colorado Springs is really, really boring. The existing logo is sooooooo much better. I was excited and looking forward to seeing the new logo and could not believe my eyes when I saw this. I actually double checked to be sure this wasn’t a fake site or an April Fool’s sort of joke because it is that unbelievable.

  25. Why couldn’t we have asked a bunch of young talented designers, marketers, etc.that live here in the Springs to present a logo and tagline with the winner being selected by the citizens? The winner/s would receive the $110k.
    The logo and tagline here say nothing about us.
    The video was boring, too long, and certainly not enticing to young professionals or tourists.

    RE-DO please. This is so so bad.

  26. I don’t believe branding is the major issue for Colorado Springs and its popularity. It is the attitude and how we “message” and talk about our great city. To be attractive isn’t just knowing we can see Pikes Peak. It is our people, our workforce (which can be changed according to what companies come here), our pioneering spirit, and the view/nature around us. We are smart people, have a big aerospace and defense influence, and are very forward thinking. We just have to put that across in our communications, especially for economic development and growth. Unfortunately, the organization that received the $110K didn’t dig into what is really important to “brand” the city and our surrounding area. A pretty logo won’t do it.

  27. At any time before or during the process, did anyone, anyone at all, have the word “crowdsourcing” come out of his/her mouth? 1) Engage the community you are trying to brand, especially the young professional. 2) Save the city the fleecing it took from the company responsible for this unsuccessful and unpopular piece of work. 3) Add infinitum-There are so many things wrong with this logo/branding attempt.

    You can’t have a logo that the external world embraces if your own community overwhelmingly hates it.

  28. Way to go! A quick view of USAFA, but no mention of the academy AND Colorado College and UCCS. Education is paramount and so are the other cultural benefits here. And, you fought and paid extra to have the US Olympic Committee here and there was no mention of that either. There was hardly any family depictions in the video, but heavy on the older/retired looking people. Made us look more like a retirement community, not an up and coming, 21st century location. It certainly isn’t what our view is of the community. Maybe a comment as to “why” people want to move here. Logo looks like a brand new graphic designer did it … not a seasoned corporation.

  29. Does anyone else think this logo looks like the Colorado Springs Utilities logo? I feel very let down by this attempt at branding. I think they missed a lot of what Colorado Springs is about. For all the $$$ that was spent I think they could have come up with something better.

  30. REALLY? I have been a marketing consultant and graphic designer for over 20 years in the Colorado Springs area and have done work for MANY local companies and orgaizations…. both for profit and non profit! The talent that lives here, LOCALLY, in the Springs could have made this logo and promotional video look like what Colorado Springs is – a fabulous place to live!!!!

    Our own city is trying to promote Colorado Springs and they don’t even use a local company/talent! What gives?

    And that tag line! That tag line belongs in VEGAS! Live it up? It has negative connotations! People are always saying, ‘what the heck – live it up!’ Not a way Colorado Springs wants to be promoted … I’m sure!

    What about the Military – the Air Force, the Army and the National Guard – OMGosh! I am guessing that at least 1/3 of our population has military ties! Where was that representation? What about the Hill Climb, the Broadmoor, the World Arena — there’s so much more than the climbing and biking stuff …. the whole concept is off…. so not Colorado Springs!

  31. Wow….Are the citizens of Corado Springs being “Punked”? I am waiting (hoping actually) for city officials to come out and say “HaHa! Just kidding!” and reveal the logo and tag line that is worth 110k. The video looks like a bad SNL spoof as well.

  32. Really! As a native of this town and a 50+ year resident, this has no reflection on what or who Colorado Springs is. The efforts of the city should be to clean up our crime issues and create things for people to do. The downtown area is a large bar area for people to live it up at night but that should not be who we are! The cost of 333,000.00 per word is a crime of its own when it does not represent our city. The purpose of a brand is to identify who you are and your strength. Our greatest assets are not the bar night life. I think our location,weather, and scenic beauty should be the focus on this region and represented in a way to share what we have. Going out of town to get this done is a example of what we do for everything done in this town. everything seems to get subbed out to other cities and other states when we have the talents in this town for just about all the projects. Young people are looking for support as well as things to do besides drink and this town has very little to offer. RETHINK THIS BRAND!!!

  33. Gheesh! Horrible fonts and the Nike swoosh over a vague reference to Seven Up and Coca-Cola rolled into one bad logo. We would have done it for 50,000 – and donated 20,000 to Clean Air!

  34. I hope this slogan plays better to tourists and businesses considering Colorado Springs. “Live it Up” points at the good life and high-altitude living, but judging by all of the comments, misses on both fronts.

    Regarding the “G” that people are asking about – I imagine it is supposed to be an arrow pointing upward. Another nice try, but this attempt at branding is an anchor.

  35. Everything about this is so very amateurish. Both the logo and the video are something that I would expect to see in a high school or college media project, not a professional brand of our city.

    Honestly, this video and brand is embarrasing.

    I could pick apart the entire video and logo, but instead I’ll just make a couple of observations. Right out of the gate, we have some lady saying “Colorado Springs is alive and vibrant!” this may very well be, but as an attention grabber shouldn’t the person saying that actually be alive and vibrant?

    This video reminded me of a commercial for an assited living community (minus the few clips of some younger people, and the kid on the bike describing Colorado Springs as “radical”)

    Really, “radical”? Have we gone back to the 80s?

    I could pick apart the entire thing, but the bottom line is both the logo and video are amature, especially for $110,0000

  36. Embarrassing is an understatement. Looks like a minor league baseball logo. Colors are boring and the “G” in Springs??? No wonder all the young people move to Denver. No mention of the Broadmoor or AFA? Can you say REFUND?

  37. Here’s a thought…maybe we’re just part of a larger marketing campaign. Show the public one of your worst drafts and let them get truly passionate about the process, even upset! Then, a few weeks later, show them the real deal. These days, the public debate and hype can be more effective than the original conversation. Most marketing experts know that much. I sure hope I’m right, probably not.

  38. Is it too late to re-open the \branding project\? The logo is horrible. When I looked at it my first thoughts were…. \bars, Las Vegas, beer, and baseball.\. It appears that the mountain symbol is a subliminal message for a baseball hat. Is this to manipulate us to want a baseball stadium downtown? I’d love one…. but why do we need to be manipulated to get one? This logo looks like a 7th grade art project.

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