Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Prince William ceases and desists using its new logo, drawing board ahead

From the Washington Post, June 6, 2013, by Tom Jackman

Prince William County’s new two-blue-square logo is being pulled down from county letterhead and signs, county clothes and county vehicles after the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday it wasn’t ready for prime time, yet. Supervisor John Jenkins (D-Neabsco) said the public hadn’t had a chance to weigh in on the logo, and “I didn’t want to see us bring some kind of logo out here that had no meaning to the people of Prince William County.”

Supervisor Peter Candland (R-Gainesville) said the logo should articulate the identity of the county, not just be a symbol. “This logo was meant to mean something,” Candland said.

So the board, in addition to issuing a “cease, desist and rescind” directive to county staff, ordered up a work session for July 16, to decide the next step in rebranding the county.

County communications director Jason Grant said the logo was developed as part of a process to unify Prince William’s marketing approach. A design firm in Michigan, familiar to Prince William economic development official Brent Heavner who previously worked in Michigan, was enlisted to come up with a design, and agreed to do it for $750, Grant said. Board members wondered Tuesday why a local company couldn’t have been involved.

Grant said the design was shown to all the supervisors except Jenkins, and that most approved. But Jenkins felt the board should have voted on it and allowed the public to participate in the process. He was surprised to see it starting to turn up all over the county without a board vote or a public hearing. “The approval process,” Jenkins said, “just bothers the dickens out of me.”

Jenkins’ directive to suspend use of the logo was based in part on the public’s “overall dislike for the design of the proposed logo.” As proof, he cited a Washington Post online poll from these very environs, where 70 percent of the 400-plus respondents voted, “It’s bad. Start over.” Seventeen percent voted, “It’s OK,” and 13 percent voted for, “I like it. It’s a keeper.”

Candland said the mission of the logo was to represent Prince William County to the world.
“We spent $750,” Candland said, “to develop a logo that represents hopefully hundreds of millions of dollars in Prince William County. I think we’re selling ourselves short.”

Candland said county uniforms were being changed, county decals were being changed, and this was “a much broader change than was ever portrayed to me.” The logo was intended to replace individual agency logos with one county-wide logo. “I don’t think the logo was properly vetted,” Candland said. “For a Michigan firm to develop the face of our economic development department is troubling to me.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Think you need an icon with your logo?

Many business people think that a logo can only be successful if it has an icon, such as the Nike swoosh, the little Tivo guy, the Mercedes modified peace sign, or the NBC peacock.

However, the world's best-known and most beloved brands don't use an icon. Check out the small sampling below and you'll see what we mean. A text-only logo done in an interesting and memorable way is a terrific way to brand your business.

If you're looking to brand or rebrand your business, contact Julie & Company today at 301-330-9353 or info@julieandcompany.com so we can create an effective logo for you.

Ax the acronyms!

When it comes to company names, I am adamant: NO acronyms. Why? Because they are impossible to remember and impossible to brand.

Maybe I'm more sensitive to this problem because I grew up in the Washington area which is awash in acronyms. Over 140,000 people here work for Federal agencies, - DoD, CIA, FBI, FDA, FEMA, etc. - so many that George Washington University has put together a glossary! These agencies compound the problem by creating more and more acronyms within their organizations. Life is just one big can of alphabet soup. 

So if you're choosing a corporate or product name, skip the acronym. No one will remember which three letters you've chosen. Ever. Is it MBA  or MAB or AMB? Only the business owner knows for sure.

Another reason to avoid acronyms? Other organizations already have your three letters no matter which three letters they are. For example, take ATG. A quick Google search shows that ATG stands for:

  • ATG Stores
  • Oracle's Art Technology Group
  • ATG Rehab
  • Advanced Techology Group
  • Applied Technology Group
  • ATG Credit
  • ATG E-Commerce Platform
  • ATG Electronics
  • ATG Records
  • Attorney's Title Guaranty Fund
  • Attorney General of Washington State
  • And so on
This makes ATG - or any other acronym - impossible to brand. Branding is all about uniqueness. If your company name is the same as a gazillion other companies' names, you're not unique - and your company is difficult if not impossible to brand.

So do the right thing: ax the acronyms!