Brand Loyalty

The most recent episode of 508 was devoted, to a large part, to branding of the city, whether it be through Wayfinding or through Councilor Toomey’s request on tonight’s City Council agenda for the law department to determine whether or not regular folks have the right to use something similar to the city seal.

This blog has used a variation of the city seal for some time. I asked my husband to design a satirical version of the seal that used barbed wire, because I love this city and I love its history.

The city government has, for many years, been moving away from the seal and its beautiful strawberry-shaped heart, towards a multicolored square. That square is on the bottom of every City Council agenda; it features prominently in every brochure, website, or poster I see about cultural events; it’s featured much more often in the original Wayfinding presentation than does the actual seal of the city.

I believe the intention of the multicolored square is for branding of cultural activities, especially ones that are not just sponsored by city government. However, the square — not the city seal — is what is featured in the top corner of the official city website. The favicon for the official city website is the square, not the seal.

Over the past few years, the city government has done its best to downplay the seal and prominently feature the square.

But many residents — myself included — love the seal and associate it with the best parts of this city. The city government has done its best to distance itself from that seal, but now Councilor Toomey doesn’t want anyone else using what is the design equivalent of abandonware.

If you don’t want it, we’ll take it.

Either copyright and actually use the city seal — or let the people who love this city use it.

You can’t have it both ways.

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