I regularly argue that councils and municipals need to invest in branding. I wrote an article explaining a few reasons “Why that new municipal council logo isn’t a waste of taxpayer money” and I stand by the points I make in that article.
I also understand why it’s such a hard sell, especially in austerity times.
Councils do need to be open and transparent about the process and they must ensure they get value for money. And not be daft, like say Amarillo in the US.
It’s a hard sell to spend almost £7,000 on a redraw of an existing logo for example as Southwark Council (a borough of London) did.
This story hit the local press at the end of July and has received national attention over the last couple of days. The headlines, of course, used the larger figure, which included implementation, of £15,000. They also followed the usual tropes of “when cutting services” and “I could have done it for less in an afternoon” as Jen Mills of the Metro suggests (it’s easy to copy an existing design that someone has already developed, but to develop that design in the first place? That takes more than an afternoon of an amateur photoshop warrior).
Seven thousand pounds does seem steep to make some incremental changes to a design. It needs to be said that the changes are for the better. The text is more legible, it’ll scale down much clearer than before and the overall size defined by the “S” is improved.
The “k” is still ruddy awful, however.
None of the reports dig in any depth into the process that was undertaken. That £7,000, when used for projects such as research, public engagement and possible alternative designs and drafts, doesn’t seem quite such a bad deal.
And the £8,500 on implementation? Again, we’re not privy to what this involved, but if it involved any sort of investment in robust design guidelines, then it’s perhaps better value than it first seems. A good set of guidelines can, for example, enable multiple designers internal and externally to stick to the same rules and standards, keeping the Southwark brand consistent. A good set of guidelines also takes time to create.
Again I’ve no idea if this £15,000 was a good deal or not, but it might be nice for journalists to find out before they publish such articles.
Perhaps a story titled “Council spends an appropriate amount of money on branding” doesn’t garner as many clicks for the newspaper website.
Goodness, I do hate that k.
The council spent £6,819 on design and a further £8,581 on implementation, and included removing the full stop