British Columbia

'Kind of feels like an alternate Canucks logo': Vancouver design community rallies against city's rebranding

City's $8,000 dollar rebrand has been widely mocked on social media

city of vancouver logo

The new City of Vancouver logo, shown at the top, was commissioned to replace the former logo, shown on the bottom. (City of Vancouver)

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When Vancouver City Council first approved the city's rebranded logo — to the tune of $8,000 — the design was largely met with ire on social media.

Now, the local design community has penned an open letter to the city, saying the logo fails to represent Vancouver's creativity and diversity. 

"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," it reads in part.

The new logo has dropped the previous design's flower, and is now in bold typeface Gotham.

Creative director Brock Ellis, who signed the letter, said the font is considered somewhat of a joke among designers.

"The typeface itself in the design community — while excellent — became very popular during the first Obama campaign. And after that success it was everywhere, and there was this 'stop using Gotham' movement in the community."

"It kind of feels like an alternate Canucks logo," he added.

Keeping it simple

The city has said the logo was intentionally kept simple to be more inclusive to non-English speakers, and for simpler rollout on online platforms.

Ellis disagrees.

"I don't understand how this wordmark can be more easily recognized and understood by people who don't speak English when it consists of three English words," he said.

Ellis also noted that the visual standards guide provided by the city does not address online usage besides providing colour palettes. The guide also provides sizing references in inches, rather than pixels.

Ellis said that while the city has hailed the rebrand as "effective and cost efficient," the $8,000 price tag tells another story.

"I don't think that's something you want to be focusing on when you're talking about something that's going to be on all our signage, that's going to cost tens of thousands of dollars as it's rolled out over time," he said.

Lacking innovation

The open letter said the design is at odds with the nature of Vancouver, a city that prides itself as a hub for innovation.

"When you talk about innovation and creativity, you're talking about being forward-thinking and taking a certain amount of risks. To go and do something kind of generic and expected doesn't inspire people," Ellis explained. 

The designer's letter also points to cities like Montreal, Paris, and Melbourne, where rebranded logos have been embraced.

"The City of Vancouver is such a unique special place on earth and our logo needs to reflect that, it's something we need to be proud of," said Ellis.

"There's people in Montreal that will get the city of Montreal tattooed on their body. I can't imagine anyone getting the city of Vancouver logo tattooed on their body."

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