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Panel named to come up with city logo ideas

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image "looks good embroidered on shirts," he said, but "if you put it on white stationary, it looks a lot busier and outdated."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

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