Evanston officials think this would be a good time to come up with a new city logo.

Citizen Engagement Manager Erika Storlie told the Economic Development Committee Wednesday night that the time is right to look for a replacement for the existing decade-old logo, since it’s temporarily been replaced on all city vehicles with a special logo celebrating the city’s 150th anniversary.

Storlie says she’s planning an in-house logo design effort this time, with a lot of community involvement — rather than hiring an outside consulting firm to design the logo.

Most EDC members supported the redesign idea, although Ray Zenkich said he doubted it would attract any new business to the city. “It might make us feel better,” Zenkich said, “but the money is better spent elsewhere.”

Erica Storlie discussing the logo project at the EDC meeting.

“The current logo requires a lot of explanation,” Storlie said, adding that a logo that is instantly recognizable as Evanston can be really powerful as a marketing tool.

“Hundreds of towns have lighthouses in their logo,” she said, and the current logo doesn’t embody a lot of the things that make Evanston desirable, like transit access, the arts and restaurants.

Aldeman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, asked whether the city has the expertise in house to design a new logo, and Storlie said the city has a graphic design contractor who could do the work.

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, said there are a lot of talented graphic designers in the community, and he suggested creating a citizens committee of design experts to help with the project.

Tendam, a graphic designer himself, said the current logo is “not easy to work with” and often requires the extra cost of two-color printing to be rendered legibly.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he’d like to get the project done by the end of the sequicentennial year, although some committee members suggested that there was no need to hit that deadline precisely.

“Everybody doesn’t need to have new stationary and business cars on day one,” member Lori Summers  said.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Waste of time & money

    Is our logo that bad that businesses and people don't want to come to Evanston to live, work and play?

    Give me a break!!

    The City of Evanston faces serious and significant issues and we're going to spend scarce time and money on this issue?

    City of Evanston – prioritize your efforts and don't get distracted.

    And by the way, how many other communities actually have a lighthouse? Others can use a lighthouse in their logo, Evanston has one, and when you've got it, flaunt it.


  2. Bigger expense then might be imagined

    It is not just the vehicle stickers; many city employes wear uniforms / shirts / caps with the logo on it. There would be cost to replace these. Not cheap for embroidered  logos.

    I think the logo is just fine. Why waste time and money??

  3. New identity is not a waste!

    It's a good time to rethink the logo and identity of the city. The current logo doesn't work so well when used small and it would be nice to see something more graphic. It doesn't matter if other cities have lighthouses – if that's our identity, we should use it. But maybe our identity is not just buildings. It's also arts and theater and education and our cultural mix. It's a big challenge, but we should do it!

    1. Identity

      Can anyone explain why lighthouses are considered to be an acceptable logo, while all of the NIMBYs got upset about the possible Tower at 708 Church?

      Isn't a lighthouse just a tower?

  4. The lighthouse is special

    The lighthouse is special enough, though it may not be unique, but what is special or unique about "transit access, the arts and restaurants?" Let's have a logo of a fork crossed with a paintbrush superimposed on train tracks: that will really tell people who we are.

    Changing logos every ten years is dumb, even if the current one is not really inspired. Given what they want to spend on it (i.e. zero) the replacement will likely be a bit more graphically hip, but just as unmemorable and even more likely to look tired after a few years. And the suggestion that local graphic artists should waste their time on a committe (doubtless pro bono) is just insulting.

    If this is worth doing (which it isn't), it's worth doing right which means getting someone who knows what they're doing and paying for them to do a good job.

    Maybe it's time to save even more money by laying Erica Storlie off — she obviously has too much time on her hands.


    1. Engagement Manager?

      Never heard of a City Engagement Manager before. What does a City Engagement Manager do?  Whom or what is she engaging?

  5. Evanston Lighthouse Logo

    I agree with anonymous and with Thomas Paine that our logo is fine. The City Council talks about a sustainable Evanston and yet the residents cannot sustain the increases in taxes when the property values are going down dramatically. Spend money where it's needed, on police and fire, streets and sanitation, and schools, not on all these extras which people like to push when they are spending someone else's money.

  6. New logo

    REALLY….this is what our local government is worried about.  Look "retro" or "vintage" logos are appearing everywhere, even P&G issued Tide with an old box.  There is value in the logo, there is legacy in the logo…and really the cost of the new identity is not in the mark (logo) but in the application. Signs, uniforms, trucks etc., even if you got pro bono design, the rest is a hefty price tag.  And a new logo with re-fresh, will not really add to business or re-position the city in any way.  If you really want to just clean it up, so it reproduces it eaiser and then allow a window where you only update as needed it might work.  My two cents.

  7. Let’s exercise financial responsibility!

    As Evanston's own Economic Development Committee member Zenkich said, "but the money is better spent elsewhere." No need to comment further.

  8. Evanston logo

    What is the tall building just to the right of the lighthouse in the logo?  

    I'm assuming that this lighthouse is at Central Street, and we are viewing it from the lake….so this building would be maybe in Wilmette.  Perhaps it is one of the condos at Plaza del Lago. 

    Or maybe the logo is just not geographically accurate, and the tall building is one of Evanston's tall buildings.  Which one?  This logo was created before Sherman Plaza…the article says 'decade old', so that puts it around the time of Optima Views (2002) …or maybe that tall building is the Best Western (previous Holiday Inn) or Iredale Building.

    Or perhaps our wise civic leaders of the previous decade had visions of a glorious Tower rising above Evanston?

  9. Not a priority

    I agree with many others that Evanston has more important things to worry about and spend money on.  Personally, I like the lighthouse.  

  10. What? A lighthouse?

    I think the City SHOULD spend valuable tax dollars to get a new logo …. I heard they spent over $100,000 to put the "150" logos on all the city fleet for just one year. Apparently they have plenty of money to spend!

  11. Lighthouse logo

    According to the City of Evanston salary list, our citizen engagement manager $93,648 annually.

    This is just so outrageous. Why is this type of position even necessary? And certainly, we do not need another logo redesign. This is just another ridiculous proposal thrown out by ultra-liberals in the city government who have absolutely no common sense and and completely lack any respect for basic hard-working people who are attempting to live here.

    A police officer on "patrol operations", a few entries below her salary, makes $58,931 annually, per the report.  Certainly this job is much more dangerous and requires much more intelligence and skill than an "engagement manager."

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