Striving for a global identity, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport has adopted a new logo with lower-case letters that spell out "srq" on a lime green background.
The Airport Authority voted 5-1 Wednesday to embrace a brand awareness campaign it hopes will distinguish the airport as a larger facility and reinforce its name, especially among international visitors.
The new look centers around the three-letter SRQ designation given to the airport by the International Transport Association in 1956.
An airplane, the universal airport symbol, accompanies the SRQ letters along with the words "Sarasota Bradenton International." The word "airport" is absent.
New service and the addition of seven new destinations drove up passenger traffic at the airport 16.6 percent in the past year. September traffic was up 21.9 percent.
Mike Boyd , an aviation consultant with The Boyd Group in Evergreen, Colo., predicts Sarasota-Bradenton could be the fastest growing airport of its size in the next five years and among the top five in growth in the country.
In the next 10 years, Boyd's forecast shows local passenger traffic growing 70 percent. "That's huge," said Boyd, who serves as a consultant for the airport. "Sarasota-Bradenton is now taking its place among other Florida airports. Airlines have largely overlooked it until now. There will be ups, there will be downs but the overall trend is entirely up."
The current logo of an aircraft in pink and green hues served its purpose, said Jane Bennett co-owner of Be Creative, a Lakewood Ranch advertising agency hired in February to work on the airport's new identifier.
After 18 years, the old italicized font has become dated and could cause brand confusion, she said. "The image alludes to a local airport in terms of color and design," Bennett said. "We're trying to create something that's suitable for a global market."
Designed in 1988 by a Ringling School of Art student, the old logo will be replaced immediately in print advertising and merchandise and within three months on exterior signs at the airport, said Fred Piccolo, president and CEO of the airport.
Piccolo estimates the cost of switching logos to be around $20,000.
The new logo is adaptable and carries a strong presence, he said.
"People looking to use our airlines punch in SRQ," Piccolo said. "We feel there was an identity out there that already existed. You don't have to explain to anyone who sees this where you're from."
Airport Authority members had just one hour to decide whether to adopt the new look or not. "I don't like it," said Bob Waechter, chairman of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority and the lone dissenting voice in the vote. "I'd have preferred to impose the letters on the existing logo."
Other authority members were more positive.
"It's change and change is good," said board member John Redgrave. Board commissioner Jack Rynerson gave the new logo a thumbs-up. "It's a very bold color, it pops out and that's why I like it," he said.
Piccolo said the new logo grew on him.
"When I first saw it, I thought 'I don't know,' " he said. "But it's much easier and more efficient and versatile. It only requires two colors in print instead of three."
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