Derry City and Strabane District Council is a local authority in Northern Ireland that was established on 1 April 2015. It replaced Derry City Counciland Strabane District Council and covers most of the northwest of Northern Ireland. The first elections to the authority were on 22 May 2014 and it acted as a shadow authority, prior to the creation of the Derry and Strabane district on 1 April 2015. (Wikipedia).
I’m not massively up on Northern Irish politics, but I know Derry (occasionally Londonderry) was something of a flash point for the troubles, it being on the north western border with Ireland itself, plus the whole “is it Derry, is it Londonderry” thing.
Anyway the wider district authority, Derry City and Strabane District Council, have got themselves a new logo, an “S” for Strabane sat within a “D” for Derry. The S is shaped in a river like way to represent the River Foyle which passes through both the towns.
The Belfast Telegraph whips it’s readers into a tizz thanks to a largely un-researched article on the “new logo” for which we only get a low res snap from what looks like a mobile phone camera. One bad image is not entirely a useful place to start on an assessment of a branding project. We also get a few comments from councillors, ranging from “we should have got our school kids to do it” to the ringing endorsement “I’m content with it”.
We’re not privy to who designed it or indeed what the £30k was for, but one assumes it was for more than just the logo, this is after all a new authority with no previous brand assets so at the very least there would be significant application work.
The symbol itself is simple and clean, the river “S” element may not be the most original but it works. Sitting it in the D is nice enough, I like a strong D. This reminds me a bit of the DC logo. That is a good thing, I’d like my council logo to look like a superhero logo.
It’s made an especially tough job as the logo has been set the difficult job of representing an already long name 3 times, in English, Irish and Ulster Scots. Nothing fancy has been done here, just all 3 names set to the right of the big D, with a geometric sans serif (Helvetica I assume, but can’t be sure from that image).
That leaves the whole thing looking a bit of a handful, perhaps in application they’ll drop all of that n favour of the mark alone, but we’ve yet to see what that will be like. Sticking all that text at any small size is going to quickly start to look a mess and become unreadable.
I don’t suppose newspapers will ever tell the story in a straight way, getting a reaction from readers seems to be the thing nowadays, driving visits online and comments across social media. A story headlined “Council spends a pretty suitable amount on it’s branding” really doesn’t fire readers up in the same way.
Also however a chance to remind ourselves some reasons that councils even bother with logos.
Derry City and Strabane District Council then, 30k well spent? Over to you…