What Vancouver Got Right with the Logo They’re Never Going to Use


Blandcouver Strikes Again!

That’s not a new logo! It’s just a new font!

My taxes paid for this?

So, have we all had a chance to calm down from “Logogate?”

It’s been more than a month since the City of Vancouver rolled out a new logo only to stop it in its tracks after it was publicly ridiculed.

The criticism has been well documented.

Since then, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the city would open discussions with local designers about Vancouver’s brand evolution.

That’s where we are now.

The city and the design community trying to move forward from this event.

Only to move forward, we can’t just reflect on the mistakes.

We also need to remember what the city and the now infamous logo got right:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

We don’t believe that a logo should be judged by its simplicity, but rather how well it communicates an intended message.

A logo should have meaning, and it should make a killer first impression.

In our experience, to achieve those goals, sometimes less is more.

Simple can also be direct or wonderfully abstract.

Some have pointed out how the new logo looked like another logo for the Canucks.

We don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

Logo Comparison

What better way to create a relatable and memorable first impression.

The Canucks may not have won many (or any) Stanley Cups, but this city loves them.

Cancucks is well recognized in vancouver community

By choosing those specific colours and helping make that association quickly in our minds, the logo becomes what it aims to be – recognizable and relatable.

A modern design for modern times

It’s hard to create a simple and timeless logo design.

Design trends and people’s tastes evolve over time.

Brands need to keep up with new mediums too.

With the city’s much maligned logo, the designers attempted to create something that’s in tune with today’s marketing and communications landscape.

Notice how the “City of Van” portion that takes up the front end of the new logo has a more squared shape to it.

Instagram Part 1

This wasn’t an accident.

This design decision helped make the new logo useful for social media profiles and other online accounts.

Instagram Part 2.1

The city didn’t hire an 8-year-old to create the logo on Microsoft Word

Although we’re sure it would have been extremely creative, the city did not hire an 8-year-old to design their new logo.

Instead, they went to a local agency with a history of creating phenomenal designs.

No one went into Word and typed “City of Vancouver” then cashed a cheque.

A LOT of work went into designing the new logo.

We’ve worked with a lot of clients and the design process is neither fast, nor is it easy:

  • Design Consultation – It starts with a design consultation where we learn about our client’s brand and visual identity.
  • Review and Approve Logo Concept – The client then reviews different logo concepts before picking one design concept.
  • Design – Our designers then get to work creating different options. They also test them to see how they look in different sizes and on various mediums.
  • Feedback – The client gives feedback on the different options and the designer tweaks the design based on the feedback.
  • Final Approval – Once the client is happy with the design, they sign off on final approval.

It all sounds straightforward on paper, but it’s not.

A lot of thought and discussion is behind every logo.

Even one that’s “simple.”

The point of this article was never to argue a side on the city’s logo debacle.

That ship has sailed.

The city’s moving forward and so should we.

Yes, we need to learn from the mistakes.

But we also need to remember what we did right and continue doing it while we move forward.

That means ensuring the design is simple, modern, and thoughtfully created by people who know what they’re doing.