City of San Marcos Unveils New Logo


The City of San Marcos has been rolling out its new — and first-ever — logo designed to complement the city’s existing seal and capture the core elements of the San Marcos community.

“San Marcos is coming of age, and it needed a clear identity to convey that,” said Communications Officer Sarah Macdonald. “The city wanted a mark that would resonate with residents, while also support efforts surrounding economic development—a newly emerging priority for the city.”

Research was conducted to develop a clear, consistent identity included a comprehensive competitive analysis, a communications and media audit, a focus group, a targeted stakeholder survey, and a crowd-sourced survey deployed across the entire community via social media platform.

“If the brand was going to be authentic, meaningful and long-lasting, staff would need to gain a deeper understanding of the community’s aspirations, existing perceptions and vision,” said Macdonald.

“We used community input to understand existing perceptions about how residents and businesses see their city – its strengths, challenges and future opportunities.”

Three compelling themes came to light across all research platforms: (1) the notion that San Marcos’ best days were still ahead; (2) there is something for everyone in the community, whether you are school aged or retirement aged; and (3) San Marcos was a “best-kept secret” that people are just now starting to discover.

These three themes, along with the dense research gathered from the tools listed above, became the foundation for the development of the city’s new brand platform and new logo.

The logo is composed of the city’s name with a stylized compass rose embedded in the “O” of SAN MARCOS that symbolizes the concept of discovery. The word “discover” underlines the logo, linking it to the city’s seal that features the city’s motto, “Valley of Discovery.”

Inspired by San Marcos landscapes, the four brightly colored quadrants within the compass circle speak to the vibrant and diverse aspects of the San Marcos community. The introduction of a warm orange color for the tagline “DISCOVER LIFE’S POSSIBILITIES” also ties into the Innovate 78 campaign’s selection of orange to represent San Marcos in promoting the five cities along the Highway 78 corridor.

“Whatever you are looking for can be found in San Marcos,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “From our trails and parks, to the city’s bustling commercial districts and leading educational institutions, San Marcos has plenty to offer.”

The logo is the “new face” of the city, and it appears on signage, city vehicles, uniforms, official stationery and the San Marcos 360 magazine, which lists recreational opportunities throughout the city.

In crafting the new logo, San Marcos is capturing a fresh identity that extends beyond the walls of City Hall and is designed to attract and grow businesses. The logo and supporting elements are also designed to enhance the city’s image and define its position in the region.

“We are this hidden gem in San Diego County,” said Griffin. “San Marcos is a dynamic community of more than 90,000 residents who enjoy a fantastic quality of life.”

The city has been slowly introducing the logo since May as events occur in order to keep costs down. A comprehensive brand identity guidelines was also introduced to create consistency across all city departments. Residents, businesses and visitors can expect to see gradual updates throughout the community and at city facilities.

Now that the city has a logo, the city’s seal will return to its elevated status with use reserved for official documents, including City Council agendas and proclamations.

The seal was first developed in 1963 — the year the city incorporated — and was last updated in 2012.

To learn more about the City of San Marcos, visit To stay connected, sign up for e-news by visiting,, and follow the city on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn using the handle @sanmarcoscity.


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