The City of Vancouver has pressed pause on the rollout of a controversial new logo, after an outcry from the local design community.
The refreshed “wordmark,” designed by local firm Hangar 18, was approved last week and immediately sparked controversy.
Some complained about the $8,000 initial price tag and an anticipated rollout cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others attacked the logo – three Gotham-font words in two colours – for its “bland” design.
That latter argument picked up steam when dozens of local leaders in the design community penned an open letter to the city, complaining that the city had opted for design by the lowest bidder and no apparent vision or community consultation.
They further complained that the simple logo, along with the process, seemed out of place for a city marketing itself as a potential North American design hub.
Now, the city is backpedalling with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson releasing a statement pledging to put the logo rollout on hold.
“I take the concerns of Vancouver’s design community seriously about how a new wordmark reflects on the City’s brand and image, and speaks to who we are. While there will never be a single design that satisfies everyone, over the last week, there have been some compelling cases raised about why a different approach is needed,” writes Robertson.
He goes on to say the city won’t have the new logo put on any permanent city assets while officials “engage with the design community and public in looking at ongoing improvements to the City brand.”
Robertson says the city will also convene a discussion with local design stakeholders both on the wordmark and the future of the city’s design community.
The move is now being celebrated by the city’s design community.
Vancouver is Awesome founder Bob Kronbauer was among the signatories to the open letter, who says it was a matter of paying for quality.
“I don’t think that’s the proper way for the city to send a message to the creative community that it’s important and that they value it by just taking the lowest bid.”
Creative Director for Rethink Communications Morgan Tierney says a logo is much more than words on a business card.
“I think it’s a good decision just to give it a little bit of extra thought because I don’t think it was as much of a big misstep as it was a missed opportunity. You look around and you see such amazing brand identities for cities around the world.”
The mayor’s step back from the logo has also frustrated an NPA councillor.
Melissa De Genova says she couldn’t vote for or in favour of the new wordmark because of the lack of consultation.
“I think that we’ve heard from the design community. We’ve certainly heard from the citizens of Vancouver and I’m happy to see the Mayor taking a step back, but I would’ve been happier to see true public consultation.”
De Genova adds she was offered to have the new logo on her business card months before it was brought to council.
With files from Kyle Benning