History Alive! Chautauqua

When the Museums of Western Colorado approached me about redesigning the Two Rivers Chautauqua brand, a number of questions arose. Primarily, what is chautauqua?  

The Two Rivers Chautauqua program is a Colorado Humanities supported project where a scholar portrays a significant historical figure and delivers an unscripted dramatic monologue in costume and in character. It’s a unique opportunity for an audience to have a conversation with Mark Twain or George Washington. 

In the past, the group had a number of issues come up with their brand. Where is this chautauqua group located? What is chautauqua?  Part of the goal of this project was to rename the program.

Those living in Western Colorado immediately know that “Two Rivers” refers to the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. That fact is unclear for people living outside of the region however. Correcting that was relatively simple. Two Rivers became Colorado West.  

At its core chautauqua brings history to life. With that in mind we decided to call the program “History Alive! Colorado West Chautauqua.” 

With the name settled it was time to work on the new logo. While this chautauqua group primarily focuses on historical figures from the old west, it also includes characters from all time periods and all parts of the world in their presentations. We had ideas to take inspiration from historical figures like John Otto and Chief Ouray, or even more generic figures like pioneers or miners. Those felt too limiting however, so we settled on a more generic look.

The new logo is inspired by western signage and woodcuts from the old west. The logo is meant to invoke memories of the past without being specific to a region, time period, or culture.

The ornament piece balances out the layout and has three swirls, each swirl representing the a Museums of Western Colorado museum location, downtown, Cross Orchards, and Dinosaur Journey. The logo colors also tie into the museums current branding standards.

All in all the project was a fun challenge to work on and does a good job rebranding the program for the museum and the public.