140224. Cape Town. Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille speaking to the media about the new proposed city logo at a press conference in the Civic Centre. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Proposed new payoff line is far less passive, writes Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.


Over the past few days there has been a great deal of misguided speculation and ill-informed comment on the development of a proposed new corporate identity and pay-off line for the City of Cape Town.

This culminated in one title publishing an incorrect version of the proposed new identity. The result of this reliance on leaks, anonymous comments, and gossip has done a great disservice to the people of Cape Town and to a robust professional process. It has also served to undermine the legal and other processes of the council.


First, this process will not be at the expense of service delivery. No new budget has been allocated to the development or implementation phase. Every effort has been made to reduce cost.

The process has not cost millions as it has been reported, but rather R313 720 has been spent on the design of the proposed new corporate identity, a new visual language and brand architecture development. The agencies used to develop these things were selected through a robust, open and transparent tender process. That no appeals were received indicates that it was beyond reproach.

A number of assertions have been made relating to the cost of implementing this proposal. It must be stressed that as a city which received a clean audit, we will not allow this to undermine service delivery.

We are not proposing the approach of a big corporate which would spend hundreds of millions on a “big bang” approach to implementation. Far from it.

If approved, the new identity will be implemented in a phased and responsible manner. This means that, apart from selected high-impact items, all other branding requirements will only be phased in on a needs basis.

The city currently allocates a substantial budget to maintaining and communicating our current corporate identity. This will now be redirected to implementing the new identity.

The past approach was extremely costly and disjointed, and therefore as a result of the substantial brand architecture revision, significant cost-savings will be created, as we implement a targeted and value-for-money approach.

The proposed new corporate identity was developed internally, based on the values and vision contained in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). A number of mechanisms were put in place, such as communication and brand architecture forums to guide the organisation through the implications of the proposed change.

Every effort has been made to consult the administrative and political leadership of the city to develop this new identity. The basis of this visual shift, the IDP and supporting policy documents, were developed with extensive public participation. What we have proposed to council is to ensure that our visual identity matches this strategic direction. The proposed change is aimed at improving service delivery through more effective communication with stakeholders.

Now, on a far more positive note, let me explain why this is an important and exciting process. The city’s current corporate identity and pay-off line is approximately 10 years old (and) has become outdated and misaligned with the values, strategy and vision of the city as contained in the IDP and supporting policies such as the Economic Growth and Development Strategy and Social Development Strategy.

The existing logo also has a number of technical limitations, such as its lack of distinctive colour use; its fragile nature which makes it difficult to reduce in a legible way; and its lack of scope to stretch on a brand architecture continuum. This makes navigating the various city services complicated and unclear.

The city has worked hard to build a reputation as the “City that works for you” by being acknowledged as the best-run local government in South Africa and the leading provider of services. However, as contained in the vision of the IDP, it now wants to build on this legacy and build a city of opportunity.

Furthermore, the positioning of the “City that works for you” is the antithesis of what this administration stands for, in that it implies a passive government-citizen relationship. We want to shape a future of dynamic collaboration where, through partnership and shared responsibility, we work for mutual success.

It is only through government, citizens, civil society and business working together that we can build on our successes and ensure that we create a city characterised by opportunity for all.

The proposed new corporate identity and pay-off line has been developed to express this strategic shift from passive service delivery to shared responsibility for mutual success. The gap is significant and required a revolutionary change in visual expression to communicate this change effectively.

The refreshed identity and pay-off line speaks to a city that is working towards empowering its diverse citizens to make the most of the opportunities and help that we provide – to enable them to take control of their lives.

We are building a city where everyone has a stake, is engaged, and is working towards a better future, together.

The criteria used in developing the identity were derived from our brand essence (strategic criteria) and our brand principles – personality and values – (design criteria).

This is in effect the visual expression of the strategic intent of the city as contained in the IDP and a range of supporting documents.

To deliver on our refreshed brand strategy, the logo needed to express what we want to be known for, and needed to address the challenges of the existing identity.

The end result is an identity that is filled with layered meaning and depth that directly addresses the vision of this organisation and builds towards our strategic pillars.

We have proposed a fundamental shift from continuing to instil a culture of dependency – “This City Works For You”, to a new pay-off line that captures the essence of what we do, what you need to do and the collective benefit of working together for progress.

It is “Making Progress Possible, Together.”

Every word has been chosen to reflect the required meaning and to communicate the intent of our strategy as contained in the IDP.


Our commitment to “Make Progress Possible, Together” means more opportunities to find work, access to infrastructure that enables you to travel to find work, and being part of a well-run city that creates opportunities for everyone.

* Patricia de Lille is the mayor of Cape Town. This is an edited version of her statement on the new logo.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus