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Lessons From Madera Irrigation District’s Logo Redesign Campaign

Madera Irrigation District (MID) services 140,000 acres of land in north-central California, most of which is used for growing almonds, grapes, and pistachios. MID contracts with Central Valley Project, pulling water from the Friant Dam and Hensley Lake, and also holds pre-1914 water rights to local surface waters. Madera, California, a city of some 65,000 people, is primarily located in the district and relies 100 percent on groundwater for its municipal water supply.

In 2012, when Thomas Greci took over as the general manager of MID, the district had a problem with how it was being perceived by the water industry and its local customers. Over the next few years, MID embarked on a campaign of public outreach within the community to improve its image. In 2015, after some initial outreach success, the district decided it was time for a rebrand. MID’s logo looked generic and featured crops that had not been grown in the district for years.

Seeing a great opportunity for meaningful public outreach, MID invited Madera County’s high-school students to participate in designing the new logo through a contest. The students were provided with several criteria, including a specific color palette, and a cash prize of $250 was established for the winning submission. The contest also provided an opportunity for Dina Nolan, MID’s assistant general manager, and Andrea Sandoval, its board secretary, to give presentations at several area high schools about MID and its operations.

The winning submission came from Madera High School student Elizabeth Romero. Her logo was shaped like a water droplet and featured scenery unique to the Madera area—making it distinct from those of other agencies. In a complete image overhaul, the new logo was applied to MID’s signage, clothing, and web designs.

Public feedback on the logo redesign decision, the contest, and the finished product was highly positive. Mr. Greci was even contacted by numerous contractors and personnel from other government agencies about the process.

Since 2015, MID has continued to expand its public outreach efforts. MID has revamped its website to make it more user-friendly and has become increasingly active on social media. Staff are also going to local elementary schools to present on canal safety. MID has also stepped up its presence in the water world, speaking at more events and interacting with other water agencies in the region.

Public outreach continues to be a major focus at MID. MID has seen significant benefits from the logo redesign and all the other forms of public outreach it has engaged in over the last several years. The logo redesign was a key step in the public outreach campaign for MID, and the benefits of the project will last well into the future.

For more information about Madera Irrigation District, visit madera-id.org.