After a Heated Response, the City of Vancouver Is Reconsidering Its New Logo - Atlas Obscura
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After a Heated Response, the City of Vancouver Is Reconsidering Its New Logo

“I can’t imagine anyone getting [this logo] tattooed on their body,” one designer fumed.

Last week, after an $8,000 rebranding effort, the city of Vancouver unveiled a new logo for itself. Shown at the top of the above image, the new logo says “CITY OF VANCOUVER” in blue and green Gotham typeface.

Although the old logo (shown at the bottom of the image) had a cheeky flower blooming from the top left, this one is no-nonsense, with zero adornments. You can imagine the city blowing the pencil shavings off of it, dusting its hands, and smiling at a job well done.

There’s only one problem: everyone hates it. 

“@CityofVancouver you really call that a logo? You took the words ‘City of Vancouver’ and changed the colour, I could do that in 3 seconds,” Twitter user @mrtheking16 wrote earlier today. “the new vancouver logo is so bad,” @xavthedragon agreed, understatedly. At least one local copy shop decided to offer a similar logo design free with a print order. “Save $8,000!” they wrote on Facebook.

Members of the local design community went so far as to write an open letter to the city expressing their dissatisfaction. “The city has severely failed to produce an inspirational mark that authentically represents [us] and makes us proud,” the letter read, in part.

One signatory, creative director Brock Ellis, gave CBC News a more detailed critique. After Gotham’s ubiquity during the first Obama campaign, “there was this ‘stop using Gotham movement” among designers, he says—in other words, this particular bat signal is all played out.

Ellis also lacks patience for the city’s claim that the simpler logo is easier for non-English speakers to read. “I don’t understand how this wordmark can be more easily recognized by people who don’t speak English when it consists of three English words,” he told the CBC.

Finally, Ellis thinks the design fails the ultimate brand loyalty test: “I can’t imagine anyone getting [this logo] tattooed on their body,” he said.

Meanwhile, the logo designer for the nearby city of Chilliwack is also angry with Vancouver—because he thinks they ripped off his design, which is slightly better, and at least has some mountains in it.

In an unsurprising twist, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson announced Tuesday evening that the city will hold off on using the logo for now. “I have asked the City Manager not to put the wordmark on any permanent City assets while we engage with the design community and public,” he wrote in a statement. So if you see the logo on any trash cans, know that it’s unauthorized.

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