Want to know keep up-to-date on what's happening in Victoria? Subscribe to our daily newsletter:
The town has budgeted $3,800 for a graphic designer to create a new logo that will reflect Sidney’s identity
The Town of Sidney’s corporate logo will be redesigned in the coming months as the municipality embarks on refreshing its communications strategy, as well as a website redesign.
The current logo doesn’t meet accessibility guidelines as its hard-to-read turquoise script has insufficient contrast, Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble told Capital Daily. The logo is currently used across news releases, social media, posters, and business cards from the Town of Sidney.
“With these related projects underway, it is an appropriate time to develop a new Town of Sidney brand that allows the Town to use one consistent logo in its communications,” said the proposal presented and approved by Sidney council on March 7.
“While the project has yet to begin, we plan to engage the community at several points in the logo redesign process to ensure our new logo reflects how people view Sidney and their local government,” Humble wrote in an email to Capital Daily.
Currently, the town’s official logo is its coat of arms. It was last updated in 1995 to include Bufflehead ducks and Arbutus trees to reflect the local environment.
“The crest can appear antiquated when compared to other municipal logos in the region,” said the proposal, which asked for around $3,800 to hire an external graphic designer that will create the logo with guidance from municipal staff and input from the public.
In 2021, Langford began moving away from using a municipal crest inspired by the coat of arms of Captain Edward Langford, an early settler and the city’s namesake. “Langford, where it all happens” was introduced as a city slogan along with a redesigned city logo.
Sidney’s coat of arms, first introduced in 1969 was designed by a North Saanich resident, retired civil engineering professor, and heraldry enthusiast Alfred Atkinson, who also designed the coat-of-arms for North Saanich, Central Saanich, as well as the current badge of the Central Saanich Police service.
Prominently centred on the coat of arms is the 19th century British military survey vessel HMS Plumper that gave the name of Sidney to the area. The crest was further updated in 1995 by Sidney town committee to include Bufflehead ducks and Arbutus leaves that symbolize the natural environment of Sidney.
Over time, the town has transitioned from using its municipal crest as its primary logo to the Sidney by the Sea logo initially created by a Sidney town staff member as an unofficial logo for promotional purposes eight years ago.
“Very few people would look at [a coat of arms] and say—hey, that represents me,” said UVic business marketing professor Brock Smith. “They’re pretentious and they’re colonial.”
North Cowichan council voted to retire its own coat of arms as a step towards inclusion and reconciliation in 2021, which depicted two settlers and a Latin motto that translates to “no stepping back,” according to the Chemainus Valley Courier.
According to the proposal, Sidney will continue to retain its coat of arms on job postings, public notices, and on municipal vehicles.
While there are a lot of different stakeholders to consider, any new municipal logo should be distinctive and memorable, Smith said.
Langford’s brand identity refresh has come and gone without much controversy. But not all municipal logo or tagline changes have had the same reception.
In 2018, Vancouver’s proposed $8,000 logo redesign was widely opposed by graphic designers in the city and was eventually shelved. More recently, Regina’s tourism agency faced widespread controversy after its $30,000 rebrand to Experience Regina included slogans that were called “sexist” and “wrong” by the mayor of Regina, according to CTV News.
Experience Regina ended up pulling its slogans of “the city that rhymes with fun” and “show us your Regina” from its online launch.
It can be tricky to get a municipality rebrand right. Consultation is often the most important and expensive part of the process, Smith said.
“Ultimately, you’re trying to get at the core of the beliefs or values, or some central philosophy of the region,” Smith said. “If your constituents think it’s terrible and they wouldn’t want to be seen wearing it, then you’ve probably gone down the wrong path.”
For now, Sidney won’t be making any changes of that sort. Humble said that the town is proud of its current tagline, Sidney by the Sea, and that there will be no change of any existing signage in town.