There’s no other way to describe the SCRD’s logo: it’s ugly.
Just for fun, I recently went online and reviewed the logos of the 26 other regional districts in BC and I defy you to find one that’s as outdated and unattractive. Mind you, I will award honourable mentions to Northern Rockies (obviously commissioned for a brand of bottled water and repurposed), Peace River (borrowed from a high school sports team), Cowichan Valley (designed to be stenciled on roadways… why???), and Okanagan-Similkameen, (definitely a committee decision).
Director Hiltz filled me in on the history of the blue octagon. It dates back to the incorporation of the SCRD in 1967 and its eight sides represent the eight seats at the board. Eight? you ask. But there are nine! Indeed, thanks to various changes over the years, we now have three member municipalities rather than two and five rural areas instead of six at the table and Sechelt has two seats. But who’s counting?
While other governments have “rebranded” and “re-envisioned”, the SCRD has plodded along with a bland blue button that doesn’t fit comfortably in any graphic design template ever invented. Yet, I’ve decided to ignore my shuddering aesthetic sensibilities, and here’s why.
- It’s outdated. Well, so is pretty much every aspect of local government legislation. We’re navigating the hazards of the 21st century in a vessel built in 1965 and updated with a haphazard series of patches. (Mind you, it could be worse. The federal and provincial governments pre-date the telephone, electric lighting and indoor plumbing.)
- It’s cumbersome. Oh, my, yes! There’s a reason we use the phrase “at the speed of government.” You can view it as a system of obsessive obstruction, or you can see it as a series of checks, double checks, and opportunities for reconsideration. But its progress is irksome, like trying to ride a bike with octagonal wheels.
- It’s boring. Absolutely. Have you read a recent Planning agenda? What, you’d rather drop hammers on your toes? Funny thing.
- It’s dreadful branding. So what? Is a beautiful logo going to inspire citizens to send us extra taxes? Make them happier about their utility invoices? Colour me skeptical.
So maybe it’s just the right brand. What does it say about us? It says we don’t spend money on window dressings. And if it ain’t broke, we don’t fix it. This stodgy badge has crouched on our letterhead for fifty-three years without a dollar of additional investment. Give me an example of anything else that has performed as well!
So, I give you our logo.
It’s ugly, but it does the job and it’s bought and paid for. So I embrace it.