Chesterfield is a large market town in North Derbyshire, I spent a good deal of time there whilst studying design at the FE College, and right at the end of 2014 the borough council revealed a new logo design.
Created by local outfit Crush Design, the new logo features a rather abstract representation of the towns “crooked spire” a local landmark created when the builders of the main parish church used unseasoned wood in the spire construction. It’s more twisted than crooked and it’s also I understand been shored up to ensure it remains as twisted as it is but no more.
The old logo created in the 1970’s featured the church in its design as do logos of lots of other local entities including the college and the football team.
The new design made the national press (who showed the comparison at the top of the page, without the text on the new design) as it’s abstract simplicity and reported cost touched a nerve with the editor that day, perhaps as it was within the Christmas season and more notable stories were thin on the ground.
The usual accusations came out, “wasting taxpayer money”, “my niece could do better”, “why didn’t the public get a say”, “I’d do it for half that” etc. It didn’t help that the day before, Boxing day, saw some pretty heavy snow, heavier than forecast, which came truly deep and thick and even. Many rural roads around the town and thought Derbyshire were impassable, the local press was alight with complaints and anecdotes of a lack of gritting. “Perhaps eh, if they’d spent this money on gritting our roads!”
As always the headline cost of £13,600 belied the fact that Crush had conducted consultations as well as designed all sorts of application work and according to the council website, templates for staff to use going forward.
And we’ve not seen any of this further work, just the logo, so I’m reluctant to judge. It does feel a little generic, but the switch to a single case in the type is an improvement and the removal of the excess lines from the original makes for a far more adaptable design. The old text too was awfully kerned, the “rfi” seemingly squidged together versus the rest of the text in Chesterfield. The new still says “crooked spire” to me, although it seems inspired by the spire elements of the football club logo (who’s nickname is the Spirites).
And it’s miles better than the collages effort, which has changed since I attended, and is currently a most miserable limp looking mark.
One to return to I think in application when we can perhaps judge how well the £13K was spent rather than judging a small part of the overall project.