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Members of Evanston’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday night voted to form a subcommittee to try to come up with a new logo design for the city.

The vote came after Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, a graphic designer, led committee members through a slide-show presentation about designs the city uses now, and concepts it might want to try in the future.

Tendam said the city now uses at least four different designs. Clockwise from top left above, they are the carved logo that hangs above the mayor’s chair on the wall of the City Council chamber, a welcome sign designed some years ago by Jack Weiss of Jack Weiss Associates, the currently most widely used city logo, designed about a dozen years ago by Carol Neiger of Neiger Design, and the sesquicentennial logo adopted last year.

Tendam said the style of the logo from a dozen years ago “is obviously wrong for today.”

He said it’s “a very complicated image and has a hand-crafted look to it.”

The image “looks good embroidered on shirts,” he said, but “if you put it on white stationary, it looks a lot busier and outdated.”

Tendam said that with the growth of online media, there’s been a trend toward simplifying logos so they will be clearly recognizable at very small sizes.

He said logos now need to be identifiable on the small screen of a smart phone or even on the tabs of a web browser, and noted that major companies like the restaurant chain TGI Friday’s have recently simplified their logos, and that Facebook, with an already simple logo, moved last year to an even more minimal design.

He also suggested a variety of possible stylistic treatments that a lighthouse-themed design might follow, while also noting that some cities have gone to a purely typographic logo treatment, without any imagery.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz sought to allay committee members concerns about the cost of implementing a new design.

He said that aside from replacing the Evanston 150 logos on city vehicles, which needs to be done anyway, there would be little expense.

“I’m not going to go to every trash bin in the city and put new logos on,” Bobkiewicz said, adding that he wasn’t thinking of hiring an outside design consultant to prepare the new design either.

“It’s something we have the resources to do in house,” he said.

He added that because of changes in technology the city doesn’t print stationary with logos on it — and instead gives employees a graphics file image they can add to documents to be laser-printed as needed.

Committee members seemed divided about whether the Gross Point lighthouse should be the focus of the logo design. Alderman Jane Grover, whose 7th Ward includes the lighthouse, said “I’m not so invested in the lighthouse as a symbol of Evanston.”

But Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she liked the lighthouse as a symbol of the city.

The committee made no direct reference to several preliminary designs included in their packet that proved unpopular with Evanston Now readers earlier this week.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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6 Comments

  1. Waste of Time & Waste of Money

    We are broke! Evanston has no extra cash.  The Aldermen and Wally should be worried how to save money and not spend money.  Please!  Looking at re-designing our City Logo for what? If this is the most pressing issue the city has right now, I recommend we re-evaluate who we have in-charge.  Re-branding our city logo is not going to pay one more city employee or put one dollar in the under-water city pension plan.  If this is all our city manager and aldermen have to do, I recommend we save some money and turn out the lights!

  2. Priorities

    Most have read of Detroit's financial problems.  Fewer may have read that they don't want to sell off their art collection to help pay off the huge debts they have [including a major portion in pensions].

    They provide a good example of how politicans [and residents] are unwilling to face reality—they always expect some 'magic' will solve their problems—like federal/state bailouts or 'some' mystical person cover their debts.

    Evanston [and Chicago] are not there YET.  But seeing how our politicans and residents won't face reality, makes one question how long that will be true.

    Instead of looking at the budget and expenditures, they keep coming up with new causes like Logos, theaters that will never pay for themselves [and not really improve citizen's lives], sweet-heart deals like Trader Joes and bars and on an on.

    First things first.  Cut all this ____ and start making Evanston so expensive to live and so many hassels business and potential residents don't want to come here.  If not for the government and residents desire to punish [and avoid using NU], any reasonable person would recognize that they provide more art, theater, etc. than 99% percent of towns even dream of, let alone faculty and students that could advise [and do the sorely needed financial audit of proposed projects] on the cost benefit and 'actual' benefit.  Instead of living in the Pangloss "best of all possible worlds [city of Evanston]."

  3. Cart before the Horse

    Before resources are put toward a design, the NEED for a new design should be presented. How will a new design benefit the City? I can understand the financial benefits for TGI Fridays and Facebook, but the City of Evanston has a different goal than these companies. Let’s let the horse pull the cart.

  4. It’s not a waste, but…

    It's not a waste of time or money. Unified attractive logos help create identity and sense of place which helps form destination in peoples minds. That translates into potentially more customers coming in from out of our city borders to shop and dine, which supports local business that generate millions upon millions in r.e. and other taxes and fees, supports the paychecks of local employees at those businesses, and drops sales tax revenue from outsiders directly into city coffers. Problem is, everything is disjointed and done as seperate and independent little projects. This logo is being looked at independently, the signage throughout the city is looked at independently, streetscape downtown is done with no thought towards cohesiveness with anything else. All these type of things are interrelated and important, but for some reason everything is and has been done in a disjointed manner resulting in visual blight and a lack of identity that should be reinforced in everything we do, Evanston could be so much more economically vibrant if we had a stronger presence in the northern suburban and northern chicago customers minds. I know many people don't understand the concept, but it really is quite a shame when council and staff can't get their act together on something they should have full understanding of.

  5. How to Do It… Cost Effectively
    Open this up to the Evanston schools. K – 12. Make it a competition among students to design the best logo. A fun art activity. And it costs nothing!

    Do we really have the money to pay designers for this? No.

    1. Designers

      Hi Dan,

      As the story mentions, the plan is to do the logo design job in-house — so no outside designers to be paid.

      — Bill

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