By Frank Lewis
It is official. The city of Portsmouth has a new city seal which mixes the bicentennial theme with a more current city design that depicts life in Portsmouth.
“(First Ward Councilman) Kevin (W.) Johnson came up with the idea for a contest,” Gina Chabot of the Portsmouth Bicentennial Committee said, “and Dot Flanagan was our city seal winner. The contest had a couple of technical errors with what the date was for the incorporation and all that and she didn’t have quite the information to execute that so the city could not adopt any of those seals as they were because they weren’t quite accurate to what truly was the situation.”
At the same time, designer Michael Vermillion was collaborating with Chabot on a design which would eventually be blended with the contest winner to produce a final product.
The question arose as to the use of dates on the seal and it was finally decided to put the date of Portsmouth becoming the county seat (1803) on the left side and the date of incorporation (2015) on the right side.
“We blended the two ideas and I think it is a really nice final image,” Chabot said. “The thing that’s really cool ODOT has offered to incorporate our city seal on the abutments for the new bridges they’re building for the (Portsmouth) bypass and it’s kine of poetic because it’s called the Veterans Memorial Highway and we were already kind of working on this and our seal really is highly reflective of that with the flag image behind the city.”
The design purposely showed a view of the U.S. Grant Bridge that gives the perspective of looking up to Portsmouth.
“Gina and I started working on this about a year ago and Dot and I have known each other from other projects,” Vermillion said. “We have collaborated on other projects and so it was very easy for us just to get together and combine our two. That’s part of the beautiful thing of being a designer. You work with other people sometimes. We started the bicentennial conversation about a year ago, Gina Chabot and myself and we designed a seal and we thought we came up with a strong one and Council liked it. Then, when she won, we liked what she had and the bicentennial seal we didn’t think was appropriate and her’s had high strong points. When you combine the two together you got a home run. I think it’s positive for this area.”
Variations on the design include its being incorporated into a flag design and a black and white version that can be used on things such as stationary.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.