Alberta's new brand, top, was launched this week after months of research, and replaces the old one, below.

Before the province chose a cursive-script logo as its new brand, a rainbow-coloured illustration that was deemed too casual and a lowercase label called "too serious" were in contention in front of focus groups.

The new logo and slogan, "Freedom to Create. Spirit To Achieve," went live Thursday on the provincial government's website and anchors a TV, radio and print campaign. All of the province's letterheads, vehicles and signs will also be changed to replace the old blue, angular brand.

The handwritten "Alberta" was the popular choice among 16 focus groups of four to five people led by Harris/Decima in January 2009.

Photo gallery

Click here to see the logos that didn't make the cut.

The scripted logo suggested a "dynamic, diverse, open, young, modern, contemporary, and forward-looking" image for the province, said research materials posted on the province's website.

The logo was given the same warm reception in focus groups in Edmonton, Calgary and Stettler, Alta., as well as in Toronto, which was chosen because of the "importance of the branding effort in helping shift thinking about some Canadians toward the province."

The "A" and "l" conveyed the image of mountain peaks, and the open "a" at the end suggested an open, welcoming place, with the cursive conveying a genial mood, said the research report.

The total cost for the makeover is $25 million over three years, which includes $4 million to develop the brand.


This logo scored the lowest as research participants felt it was hard to read and too stylized. ((Harris/Decima))

Premier Ed Stelmach on Wednesday called the cost money well spent to counter preconceptions about the province and recent international campaigns that paint Alberta's oilsands as an environmental blight.

Other designs put before the participants were not as well-received.

A lowercase "alberta" left people feeling "cold to mildly negative" and with a sense that it was "too serious, and didn't capture the spirit of Albertans."

A handwritten, rainbow-coloured script was perceived as friendly and casual but lost points because it seemed less serious.

A stylized block "Albertan" received the lowest marks because it was hard to read and didn't offer any insight into the personality of the people or the province, the research found.