February 21, 2017

Reboot, Renew, Rebrand that City

With a whole bunch of other issues going on, the City has decided to change its brand. As Wanyee Li reports in the Metro News  there was a need to create a new watermark that was recognizable for people whose first language was not English. So what is rebranding? Wikipedia describes it as  a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.”
The Council report states that the” prime business trigger for this activity is referenced in the Vancouver Innovation Economy presentation to Council…In addition, results from a 2016 “Quality of Living Index” report conducted by Mercer and released annually states that Vancouver is ranked number five on a list of cities with the best quality of life in the world. This report stated that Vancouver ‘is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse with 52% of its population having a first language that is not English.”

This is what the brand currently looks like and has served the City for about ten years. If you were involved with the 2010 Olympics, you will recognize this brand which was copiously used on the Vancouver jackets worn by City staff:
This is what the City’s crest looks like, with two lumberjack types and their haul of fish and  an axe to chop lumber. It is a descendant from an earlier 1903 crest, and a large embroidered copy of it is vanquished in a committee room at City Hall. This crest was first designed in 1928 and was rejected by the College of Arms. By 1932, a civic committee had given up trying to register it, but it was revived in the late 1960’s and was finally approved in 1969-and in use by January 1970.

And here’s the new proposed branding:
The City has already trademarked the new logo which will be  going for approval on Wednesday. The cost of creating the new lettering was $8,000 or  $530 dollars a letter. This new logo  will be slowly adopted throughout 2017 as it becomes the new corporate brand of the City.

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    1. Reading this post, my first reaction was extremely negative. It’s boring and I don’t like the colours. So I asked the same question.
      The biggest difference is the removal of the flower, leaving only text. Why emphasize text for non-English speakers?
      In the old logo, the first thing to attract the eye is the flower, the meaning of which is obscure. Next is “City of,” which says nothing useful. Only after those do your eyes get to the word, “Vancouver,” which is light, thin and kind of hard to read. It takes effort to figure out what the logo is about.
      In the new logo, The “City of” is small, pushed to the side. The letters for “Vancouver” are solid, dark, heavy. The logo is little more than a bare name: a name that is a brand, recognized the world over. (Quibbling over how much decoration you get for the the cost misses the point. How many millions did SFU spend to do the same thing?) This logo isn’t designed to be pretty. It’s designed to instantly identify the brand you already know. It does the job perfectly.
      If anything, the older logo (which I always really disliked) tries too hard and fails to do that basic thing.

    2. That’s what I wondered, too.
      Did people think the flower was part of the word so they ditched the flower?
      The Gotham font does look more authoritarian – maybe that’s what Gregor and Vision want to convey – more of a rule of law / obey the City theme.
      The old logo was more along the lines of TELUS’ ad campaigns – the future is friendly.

  2. How many non-English speakers are here and are having a problem reading the City logo that we need to rebrand our city for them? Serious question. I’m not being snarky. I would think it’s very small. Even if you can’t read English, how often are you looking at the logo?

  3. There is nothing particularly imaginative about this logo. It’s boring, unispired and indistinct. There is nothing to suggest a sense of place.
    A design of pure wording does not make it more friendly to non-English speakers compared to the current logo. The logo is also hard on the eyes.
    What about the fact the green and blue shades are different to existing? The existing colours are much “friendlier”. Will structures and vehicles displaying yhe logo need to be repainted to match too?
    Thankfully, the cost of this logo design is negligible. The cost is in plastering across the City, external and internal signage, letterheads and stationery. That will run into the hundreds of thousands. Who is getting that contract? Is that the “Economic Innovation” at work?
    More importantly, where and what will display this logo and will it make the City and its services “easily recognizable”?
    Will the logo also replace the existing Mayor’s logo (yes there is one), the COV Enginering logo (orange w/V), the Parks and Recreation logo (trees and mountains), the VPD logo, the VFRS logo (Fire Dept), the VPL logo(library), the greenest city tri-V logo (better than this idea)?
    What about the City crest and everywhere that appears? Will the City next change the City flag to match too? Did I miss anything?
    If the City wants an “easily recognizable” image, choose something distinctive withbsome swnse of place like the existing dogwood logo or the tri-V logo and apply the across the the dull breadth of branded city services.

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