We have been working with the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation for a number of years on marketing and design for their annual River City Roundup event. This year, the Knights refined the event and clarified its content with a new title: River City Rodeo. Oxide had the privilege of working with them to design the identity for the new event.

River City Rodeo logoRiver City Rodeo logo
other rodeo identitiesA small sampling of our research on other rodeo identities

Formally titled Ak-Sar-Ben’s River City Rodeo & Stock Show, the annual event celebrates the region’s heritage. It includes a livestock show with attendees from a nine-state region, country music concerts, and the world’s second-largest rodeo. Our process began as usual with an in-depth research process, trying to get at the heart of the what makes the event singular and distinctive.

Early concepting and thumbnail sketches for the River City Rodeo logoEarly concepting and thumbnail sketches for the River City Rodeo logo

Our research involved investigating the identities of other rodeos, bull riding events, country music fairs, and livestock shows from the world over. We also worked directly with the Ak-Sar-Ben team to define the core of the RCR. The Knights felt strongly that while the logo should pay tribute to Omaha’s history and the roots of the event, it should convey a modern, smart, “rock-and-roll” sensibility. The image above shows our clarification of the goal: [celebration, rock & roll, modern] + [history, Omaha, urban] + [rodeo, agriculture] [western].

The additional images here show a look behind the curtain on the design process at Oxide. Our whole team collaborates on every project, and we build off each other’s ideas. Like most others, this logo design project involved hundreds of pencil sketches, and a vast amount of ideas that never made the cut. Typically, we determine the best solutions internally, and then show the client two or three highly-refined concepts. We then draw upon their first-hand knowledge of the endeavor to select the most appropriate path.

An early concept for the River City Rodeo logo; deemed "too western" to be appropriate for the stated goals of the projectAn early concept for the River City Rodeo logo; deemed “too western” to be appropriate for the stated goals of the project

For this project, we showed three distinct logos, each featuring a particular aspect of the event somewhat more prominently. The selected logo highlights the heritage of the event in a more contemporary fashion. Our other logo concepts underscored the music and excitement of the event, and the modern sport and bull-riding aspects of the event, respectively.

Concept shown to client on the River City Rodeo logo; designed to capture the electric energy of the event while alluding to the river from the event's nameConcept shown to client on the River City Rodeo logo; designed to capture the electric energy of the event while alluding to the river from the event’s name
Concept shown to client for the River City Rodeo logo; designed to underscore the event's sporty aggressiveness and imply its titular riverConcept shown to client for the River City Rodeo logo; designed to underscore the event’s sporty aggressiveness and imply its titular river

The final selected logo represents a modernization of the previous River City Roundup logo, which had literally been designed as a cattle brand. It’s a monogram in the tradition of ranching brands, and its shape implies the head of a bull – an indication of the event’s livestock show and rodeo elements. Looking for even more depth? A fan on Facebook suggested that “the big C in the middle represents an Omaha city skyscraper, surrounded by the rural community depicted by the 2 Rs”.

The new logo will be rolled out on all of the marketing materials for this year’s River City Rodeo event, to be held in September. To begin the process, Oxide worked with Ak-Sar-Ben to design the flagship promotional poster.

River City Rodeo 2010 posterRiver City Rodeo 2010 poster showcasing the new logo

View the project page for River City Rodeo.