Local design community responds to new City logo: "This is not our Vancouver"

Feb 25 2017, 5:10 am

The city has been at the centre of some controversy this week after they unveiled the design for a new $8,000 logo.

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“A simplified wordmark has been developed which represents an updated image of the City of Vancouver and modern, innovative, and a highly desirable place to live and work,” the city said about the logo which was approved on Wednesday.

But not everyone was on board with the new look. In fact the internet has been awash with anger as people took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about the new logo.

Now the public has been joined by Vancouver’s design community, which has written an open letter to the City regarding its new look.

The letter, which was posted to Medium on Friday, has been signed by more than 100 members of the city’s design and digital community – the kind of people who probably know a thing or two about what a good logo looks like.

“As citizens of Vancouver, we are proud to live and work here,” the letter reads. “Our city is blessed with creativity, innovation, culture and natural beauty. Vancouver is one of the world’s most livable cities, and this City Council has even greater ambitions to make it the greenest and healthiest world-class city…”

“With this in mind, we are deeply disappointed in the City Council’s approval of the rollout of the new city wordmark and specifically the misguided process that was undertaken for this approval,” the letter continued.

The old logo (left) compared to the new design on the right (Image: City of Vancouver)

‘A city’s identity is sacrosanct’

The letter then goes on to talk about why the issue of Vancouver’s new logo is so important.

“A city’s identity is sacrosanct. It is our mark in the world. It represents who we are as a people and our collective values…” the letter states. “Redesigning a city’s logo should not be reduced to an administrative communications exercise as it has been for the approval of this new wordmark. There is so much more that could have been done, yet the City has severely failed to produce an inspirational mark that authentically represents and makes us proud of who we are and can be.”

The letter also criticizes the City’s process in commissioning a new design: “We are troubled by the City of Vancouver’s decision to select the lowest bidder for the logo redesign and the severe lack of budget or comprehensive plan for the rollout of this initiative.”

“On one hand, the City publicly touts the importance of creative and innovation economies in Vancouver, and justifies the development of these sectors as a primary motivation for this exercise. On the other hand, when it comes to redeveloping the identity for a city of our size, the City chooses to severely underinvest resources and time.”

Time for a redesign?

As well as stating their concerns over the apparent roll out of the new logo, before it had even been voted on, the letter also urges the City Council to reject the new logo.

“We collectively urge City Council and the City of Vancouver to reject the new City of Vancouver wordmark. It is an insult to the design and creative sector. It is an insult to Vancouverites and all who love our city,” the letter says.

“This is not a debate about whether the Optima or Gotham typeface is better or whether a logo is a wordmark or a rebrand. This is a debate about valuing our civic identity and the City’s value of our creative and innovation sectors. You have severely missed the mark with this wordmark, City of Vancouver and Council. Please, spare us from this new logo. This is not my Vancouver. This is not our Vancouver.”

Over 100 signatures and counting

At the time of writing the letter has more than 100 signatures, with more being added on a regular basis. The list is a who’s who of Vancouver’s design community with Designers from major firms including MEC, EA, Vega, and Unbounce lending their name to the letter.


DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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