Today the new identity chosen by the Province of Alberta went live to the
jubilation general disinterest of the population.
The new brand is cursive wordmark that aspires to embody a concept described by the tagline, “freedom to create, spirit to achieve.” According to the brand’s official website, AlbertaBrand.com, the identity development process was a 5 month long procedure with a budget of $4 million dollars. This budget was allocated towards the establishment of an advisory panel and focus groups consisting of normal citizens like you and me, oh and graphic design was in there somewhere too.
Let’s take a quick tour of the options that became runner’s up:
The Albertan may have proved unpopular due to it’s mixed messages. It’s certainly not clear what it’s trying to say. It’s very formal and corporate in it’s approach as well.
This version of the logo is very current in the way it uses gradients, just add a little shine and it would pass as a fancy new web 2.0 start-up.
The lowercase square treatment could make this version of the logo the corporate image of any North American technology company. The use of the period in the “t” is such an uninspiring concept and copied from an abundance of non inspirational sources. This could possibly be the weakest of choice in the set.
Meet the rainbow option. Symbolic of Alberta’s Leprechaun pioneers. That may or may not be true, but it would be very difficult to stand by a decision to appoint this logo for the cost of printing alone. It’s difficult to know what the designers were getting at here.
Overall, the new brand for Alberta seems adequate. It doesn’t amaze and it certainly does not show off in any way. It’s disappointing that more inspiration wasn’t not shown in very many of the choices, there is no attempt at double meaning or any specific geographic mirroring. Ironically, the creation process of this identity, judging from the results, seemed linear and static, with very little motivation to come up with something new. Even orange was recycled and repackaged from the license plates. Perhaps at best, we’ve put a new suit on our old logo, which had much of the same reserved and bland personality the new one has. The lack of inspiration seems ironic considering we are looking to represent “freedom to create, spirit to achieve” to the world.
Sometimes, being a graphic designer and a normal citizen, I can’t help wondering what an invoice for this project would look like and how it would be itemized. If one graphic designer was hired for this project, the government would be paying him or her $50,000 per hour based on a 40 hour work week. If a team of 10 people worked on this project, for forty hours per week, for 5 months straight, tax-payers would be looking at an hourly rate of $5,000 per hour.
If you ask me, this final product does not deserve that kind of financing. The value of graphic design is not based on who the customer is, or what the final outcome is being used for. It’s based primarily on the time it takes to produce a result and the demand for this service. The concept of getting what you pay for in the design industry has very low ceiling and yet the cost of branding and identity development seems to be driven by the insecurity of clients to feel as though their logo must be very expensive to be good. Fueled by the greed of marketing professionals who are happy to propagate these sentiments through excessive fees, makes affording a graphic designer very difficult and trusting one even less plausible.
Do you have any thoughts on the industry or the logo? We’d like to hear them.