Royal Sutton Coldfield Logo Design

Regular readers (both of them) will know by now I’m a sucker for a story about small provincial town logos. On one hand, I think it’s great that local councillors put value in design, on the other hand, the results can often be underwhelming and the creative process involved often questionable.

The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield (just Sutton Coldfield to us) is about 6.5 miles north of central Birmingham and is technically a suburb of the city. It’s also supposedly the fourth least deprived area of England.

The town council (Sutton Coldfield Town Council) is a new entity formed after a 70% in favour a postal ballot in 2015, splitting off from Birmingham Council in May 2016.

When it came to branding the council commissioned (I’m not sure on what basis) 6 local designers and design firms to generate logo designs. They wanted the design to come from within Sutton Coldfield itself, rather than further afield, even ruling out Birmingham firms. Which is admirable.

The council wanted the logo to include:

‘trees linked to the towns many parks including the jewel in its crown, Sutton Park. Tudor roses harking back to its links with Henry the Eighth and a symbol linked to the town for almost half a millennium. And the stag which is an element of the town crest and was said to ‘really grab attention’.

The designs were then put to a public vote:

Design 1: UC4


Design 2: Creative Insight


Design 3: Adventure Graphics


Design 4: Edge Creative Solutions
Design 4: Edge Creative Solutions


Design 5 by Louise Chorley


Design 6 by ikew Design

All in all, for this kind of thing, not a bad bunch. I think that’s down to the council selecting designers and it not being open to all and sundry! Technically 1, 2 and 4 don’t have all 3 elements, but hey, sometimes refining the brief makes for a better end result.

For me #1 by UC4 with the rose in a tree is my favourite, it has a very Midlands Town Council feel to it, which is good because that’s what it is. I’d maybe brighten the green and take some purple out of the red.

#2 feels like a small charity logo, #3’s stag seems in pain and it’s all a bit fussy. #4 is too ominous and the stags ears are awkward. #5 has the “smartest” inclusion of the 3 elements and #6 feels 2 decades out of date, plus lowercase town names? No thanks.

It was #5 by Louise Chorley that won the vote. I think the design is OK, the concept is better than the execution which could do with another few rounds of development. The stags head is a little odd and the rose/tree crown a bit wobbly. The text really needs a good going over too. The arching town name is not pleasantly spaced, this is not helped by being set in Century Gothic Bold which I really think has issues between the very round “O” and the much more condensed U’s T’s and F’s. There’s a plethora of better geometrics around these days, just the other day we saw the excellent FF Mark, in use by Mastercard. It’s as geometric as you can get but doesn’t suffer from the obvious width issued of Century Gothic.

And the Town Council text in that railway sign like holding shape is doing nothing for me.

There is a chance to rectify the text however as at the same meeting that the logo was announced, the Mayor of Sutton Coldfield pushed an amendment through to refer to the council as “Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council”, so whichever design had won, they’d have needed to amend the design to suit the longer name.

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Kieran Harrod is a freelance designer based in the United Kingdom. more…


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