Anger at ‘costly’ Cape Town logo plan

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The City of Cape Town has come under fire over plans to change it's logo.

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has its work cut out to sell its proposed new logo after it came under fire from politicians and critics.

There have been calls for the Public Protector to investigate the costs of the rebranding exercise, and citizens have vented their anger at the dumping of the old “This City Works For You” tagline and Table Mountain logo.

A source close to the rebranding process said the city had “wanted something fresh and new because Cape Town had made such great progress in recent years”.

The Cape Argus yesterday ran what it had been informed was the new logo – made up of green, black, blue, purple, white and mustard-edged rings – but which the City of Cape Town denied was the proposed logo due to be presented and tabled before a full council meeting on Wednesday.

It is understood the Cape Argus version was an earlier design template and that the official proposed logo will feature “a muted version of the colours of the South African flag”.

City spokeswoman Priya Reddy vehemently denied media reports that the new logo, designed by the award-winning King James Advertising agency, cost millions to produce.

“It is regrettable that there has been a rush to report on this matter, based on ill-informed and anonymous comment,” Reddy said.

“We… have been forced to respond as a result of misleading reports. Depending on the council’s decision, further and full information will be provided.”

But social media has been abuzz with talk of the new design – and not much was favourable.

SMS comments to Weekend Argus included: “At least Cape Town’s current logo depicts our City’s position with Table Mountain. This new one is just plain uninspiring and unnecessary. Why not use our iconic mountain outline?”, ‘The ‘City that works for you’ should rather read ‘the City that fleeces you’. How many millions is it going to cost the ratepayers for this rebranding?” said one SMS.

“Surely there are far more important issues which need to be addressed than massaging some egos and lining some pockets, or did they not want be left out of the Nkandla-like spending spree?”

Another said: “The new City logo is absolute rubbish. We don’t need a new one. Whoever designed it was smoking an illegal substance. The one we have shows the beauty of Cape Town.”

News broke this week that the city planned to shelve the iconic “Table Mountain” logo and tagline as it was “completely misaligned with the City’s vision”.

While the city had earlier said the redesign of the logo had only cost R313 720, the massive undertaking – which will see the city, which employs 25 000 people, rebrand everything from stationery, e-mail signatures, gift bags and signs, to buildings and vehicles – is likely to run into hundreds of millions of rand.

However, the rebranding is expected to be gradually phased in.

The city remained cagey yesterday about the cost of the rebranding.

Asked by Weekend Argus whether a cost analysis had been done before awarding the tender, Reddy said all questions would be answered at a press conference on Monday.

However, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich, in a letter to the Public Protector, asked Thuli Madonsela to immediately investigate the reported costs of the rebranding.

“We want a referendum held on whether the new logo should be accepted and whether the cost implications justify the expenditure,” Ehrenreich said.

“The replacement of all branding will cost millions to the city that could have been spent elsewhere.”

Ehrenreich added that the logo has been a rushed job to support the “dwindling fortune” of DA support in the Western Cape.

A source linked to the redesign process said a brand review committee had been established and that every city council department had been invited to send a representative to attend while hundreds of top leaders had also been consulted to ensure there was widespread consultation.

The source added that the new logo was meant to symbolise an “opportunity city” as opposed to “This City works for you” which had been misconstrued to create a culture of dependence.

The rebranding is based on the vision of Cape Town being an opportunity-driven, safe, caring, inclusive and well-run city.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised about Carol Avenant who is the director of the city’s integrated strategic communications and branding department but who was previously employed by Yellowwood Future Architects. King James Advertising and Yellowwood Future Architects submitted a joint bid for the tender.

Avenant was embroiled in a tender scandal in 2011 when she chaired a bid committee during her time as Western Cape communications director in the Department of the Premier. The committee granted TBWA/Hunt Lascaris a year-long extension with the province. TBWA/Hunt Lascaris owns Yellowwood Future Architects.

Saturday Argus


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