This logo cost Vancouver taxpayers a bundle at a time they are cutting back services
For those couple of dozen folks who plan to address council tonight regarding budget cuts, we strongly suggest that you pick up a copy of today's 24 Hours newspaper. Ace reporter Bob Mackin reveals that Vancouver spent nearly a quarter of a million tax dollars to develop a new logo for their "green city" initiative. The 24 Hours freedom of information request reveals that the generous contract was awarded to Haymaker Creative who worked with Linda Oglov, the former head of marketing for Vancouver's Olympic Bid Corporation, to develop the logo and design guidelines.
Just prior to his jetting off to Athens, Greece, to help bring back the Olympic flame, Robertson delivered another one of his famously "flat" speeches at the Vancouver Board of Trade. In the address he unveiled his new "Vancouver Green Capital" logo developed through the Vancouver Economic Development Commission (VEDC). It took almost one year to draft his so-called green action plan, which has all but fallen off the media radar screen after a shaky start.
Now we are learning that while the City Manager was planning cuts to street tree planting programs, the Stanley Park petting zoo and the Bloedel conservatory, the VEDC – who receive their budget from city council – was spending a fortune developing a new logo. According to 24 Hours, it comes complete with a "how to" manual that could have used a proof read.
In the past, Vancouver city staff have been more than capable of designing new graphical identity in-house at virtually no additional cost to city taxpayers. The best example is the attractive City of Vancouver logo that currently adorns all the "Welcome to Vancouver" signs as you enter the city. It's my understanding that this logo was developed by the professional graphic designers that work for the city and simply cost a few hours of their time. Why it was necessary to spend $240K to develop a new logo that could have been designed in-house is hard to understand given the current fiscal reality.
According to 24Hrs:
A summary said the process to develop the Vancouver Green Capital slogan and logo cost $239,000 plus GST.
The FOI also reveals the creative thinking behind the new green brand:
The draft brandbook describes the weaving-V logo as "Green is connected to blue, land to sky and water, the city to its people and ideas to capital. The graphic V is also reminiscent of the ribbons of an Olympic medal, a nod to the Games that started Vancouver's search for a new business story.
Okay, I'm glad they cleared that up. What's curious about this rather expensive manual is that no one saw fit to proofread it before going to press:
Where most Olympic cities sweep problems under the rug, we will not try to hide and not trying [sic] to exploit - we will try to be honest. Our most visible problems - drugs and homelessness - are Vancouver's problem, but they're also the world's problem.
When former Mayor Sam Sullivan asked me to develop the logo for the award-winning EcoDensity initiative, it didn't cost anywhere near a quarter of a million dollars. After a couple of other names fell through, I came up with the term EcoDensity and we then hired a contractor to design the logo. The whole process, as I recall, cost well south of $10,000. There were no design guidelines, nor binders of material describing how the blue in the logo represents English Bay - nada.
Even the controversial logo produced for the City of Kelowna last summer was comparatively cheap at $35,000. How Vancouver managed to spend seven times that amount for essentially the same product is a mystery, but VEDC minutes show that Robertson and council rep Geoff Meggs were closely involved in the initiative.
We also can't help but notice that the logo colours are practically identical to those of Vision Vancouver.
Kudos to Mackin and the crack team at 24 Hours for uncovering this "green" expense as citizens are being told by Robertson that the city has no money to pay for the street tree planting program. I suspect more than a few citizens heading up to 12th & Cambie today may have a copy of 24 Hours clutched under their arm as they prepare to battle City Hall.