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City holds contest for Welcome Sign, slogan

Mike Conway

Post Date:05/12/2017

Merced announces Welcome Sign and Slogan Contest

May 11, 2017

From the City of Merced Welcome Sign Subcommittee

The Merced City Council announced a contest to propose welcome signs with slogans at the entryways to the city on Highways 99, 59, and 140.

There are no welcome signs declaring to visitors, prospective residents, and business investors who we are or what we stand for. A subcommittee of the city council working with many service clubs organized the contest.

The City of Merced seeks to deliver Merced the best Welcome Signs in California and opens this challenge to local residents and other stakeholders to submit their ideas, art, logos, mottos, and vision to brand Merced great. The City wants all Mercedians to have a voice and ownership in marketing Merced, its people, values, location, and future with new Welcome Signs located at the entrances/exits of the City. Merced is already widely known as the "Gateway to Yosemite."

Our City of rich diversity already uses a stylized Merced Theater tower symbol. Merced County is an agricultural powerhouse and home to UC Merced, a unique Basic Sciences Research University. But there is room for more exciting ideas from Merced's people.

The City is having a contest to develop new welcome sign concepts as part of building a grassroots community of belonging. Participants may submit five (5) theme/slogan/motto entries for our new welcome signs. Five (5) entries may also be submitted for the design of new signs, or other unique landmark structures. Alternatively, submittals may incorporate all ideas, themes, and structure designs.

To enter the contest, submit a statement about what is important to you/your group and your official entries in 8 1/2 X 11 inch format by mail to Welcome Sign c/o Mike Conway, City Manager's Office, 678 W 18th St. Merced, CA 95348 OR electronically, in downloadable format, to the City of Merced at

All entries are due by Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, and become the property of the City of Merced. The winning entries may be altered by the City. The City reserves the right to reject any or all submittals. Submissions should include the entrants name, address, phone number and email address. Winners will be honored at a City Council meeting. The award for the winning theme/branding entry will be $300 and for the winning structure design also $300. Because there are multiple locations for Welcome Signs, there may be multiple winners. For more information, email, or call Mike Conway, at 209-385-6232.

The Committee also is exploring the idea of adding arches inside the City, similar to the arches that spanned 16th Street. Erected in 1927, those arches were electrified and read, 'Merced: Gateway to Yosemite.' They were torn down when Highway 99 was widened in 1940. People can also send in designs for arches.

Announcing this new direction, Michael Belluomini, City Council Member, said: "Everyone acknowledges the need for Merced to have new Welcome Signs. However it was apparent early on that some longer term thinking is necessary to effectively brand and celebrate Merced's competitive advantages as an Agriculture Powerhouse and a Sciences Research Community. The City starts an important process of sharing information and making Merced memorable with its welcome signs and slogans."

Commenting on the City Council's role, Steven Carrigan, City Manager said "With the rapid growth of UC Merced and the State's recent commitment to support vital local infrastructure, residents, visitors and new investors all have an important role to play in making Merced a smart commercially important and culturally vibrant international city going forward. That starts with new Welcome Signs. Everyone is tremendously excited about Merced's future."

Mike Murphy, Mayor of Merced, said: "Merced has enjoyed some extraordinary attention in a very short time period. I ran for office to incrementally improve the quality of life for all Merced's people. Our first steps toward branding with welcome signs an empowered community and people will truly make Merced a distinct, attractive and progressive City in the Western United States. We're a City on the rise! We look forward to attracting and embracing new ideas, resources, leaders, and opportunities under City in the near future."

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