HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The commission that oversees the Montana State Library has rejected a proposed new logo after a member said the main feature, a prism, was reminiscent of the LGBTQ pride rainbow flag, something he suggested would set off a political firestorm.
Two commissioners and the state librarian will meet again this month to brainstorm ideas for what to do next that may lead to a commission meeting on August 3. The commission voted 4-3 earlier this month to reject the logo after paying a company $130,000 of non-contributing library foundation funds to create it as part of a major library system reboot. The full contract is $292,500 and includes implementation of the new design.
Commissioner Tammy Hall argued at a meeting in June that approving the logo would spark an unnecessary political battle as the library seeks state funding from a Republican-controlled legislature next year. She suggested that the logo be toned down to shades of blue, black, and gray.
The rejected logo is predominantly blue and features four triangles (reddish orange, yellow, green and light blue) symbolizing the information being advertised abroad.
“I think there are two things you can say today to set off a firestorm in the information arena,” Hall said. “One is the rainbow and the other is misinformation. Those are very political and explosive weapons.”
Addie Palin of the Hoffman York advertising agency said “color calibration” was taken into account while working on the logo and that the colors are more muted “to avoid the suggestion that it’s some kind of pride mark.” .
Kevin Hamm, president of Montana Pride, said opposition to the logo isn’t really a topic of discussion in the LGBTQ community, but he took offense at the premise of the concerns.
“If you’re going to have a problem with a logo and your first thought is ‘Oh, it’s got bright colors and that’s kind of weird to me,’ you’re a fan and you’re in trouble,” Hamm said. “Don’t throw my community under the bus just because all of a sudden rainbows make you think everything is gay.”
Before the July 5 logo vote, Hall said his opposing vote had nothing to do with colors, adding that he was “sorry it became such a big deal,” but it was because he believed the new logo should be part of the state government’s rebranding effort. that just got started.
Library staff and some commissioners said the logo symbolizes the work they do, which includes archiving geographic, historical and state government information and making it available to the public.
“I think it’s a stretch to think that this represents a pride flag,” said commission chairman Kenning Arlitsch, noting that the pride of progress flag has 11 colors and the library logo has four.
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