City Logo Fail #2 – Wellington


Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city is home to just shy of 400,000 people and sits at the southern tip of the countries northern island (thanks Wikipedia).

When the city looked to create a new identity, launched in April, it based itself on a couple of things, the tag line “Absolutely Positively Wellington” and a yellow and black colour scheme, daftly named Absolutely Yellow and Positively Black.

They also launched the yellow and (off) black logo featuring the tag line and a think “+” symbol.

People didn’t like it.

The logo itself has been said to cost $24,000(nz) thats about £12,000. One assumes this cost was for not only the logo but how it’s to be applied, but I can’t see any breakdown. It’s also a small percentage of a non tax payer $1.9 marketing fund.

As is typical for these things the complaints range from “my kid could have done it” or “I’d have done it for lots less”. There have also been calls for a SPEC competition (that’s where a client uses online portals to encourage designers across the globe to work for nothing, where 20+ designers create drafts and only 1 gets paid) and one local news outlet shows some atrocious alternatives created in a few minutes for nothing (as if to confirm that you pay for what you get, even the non joke entries are meek).

Wellingtonians (Wellingtights?) have a more specific complaint however, relating to the + symbol. A mathematical character long used to delineate positive numbers and more recently used online and in social media circles for “positive” or “plus” uses.

But no, for some reason, this perfectly symmetrical and recognisable + sign has been accused of looking like a church cross, the one where the bottom stick is much longer than the others.

Has this link to Christianity been clutched onto as an additional excuse to hate the logo or is it a valid observation? I think the former.

It’s exceedingly difficult to please everyone when making these branding choices, even though no public money is involved, the community feels it wasn’t engaged. But getting the balance can be difficult. Earlier this year UK premiership football club Everton felt this when they rebranded, were accused of ignoring the fans then crowdsourced a far less suitable replacement.

Damned if you do…

On the logo itself, I think it’s pretty strong. I like that the whole identity has taken some colours as it’s base to hang everything off. The + is obviously that and the text is well spaced and proportioned. It doesn’t break any boundaries and won’t challenge any of the big boys in peoples all time top logos but it’s a great deal better than plenty of others and strides better than what went before!

And then there’s the magazine spread below, that sees the + in action, which is great!

But it seems whilst the tourism side of things will keep the logo, the city itself is looking for a replacement.

The new logo chosen for Wellington will be kept to tourism branding, while a committee searches for a better alternative. The logo, which features a plus sign and new Absolutely yellow and Positively black shades from Resene, was heavily criticised when it was unveiled last week.

Read the A bit more about the hate »

The old logo
The old logo


What do others think, simply great or just too simple?

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