15 January 2013
Ontario town hopes branding can help bury bad image
The ongoing cleanup effort is the largest of its kind in Canadian history according to the Toronto Star, and along with cleaning the waste comes an effort to scrub the town's image.
To position itself as "an urban-rural paradise powered by strength of character," Port Hope launched a branding project last year, including community consultation stages to involve its residents in the process.
Three logos designed by Toronto studio Weave Communications are in the running for Port Hope's new community mark, which will be made available to local businesses and organizations. Also, three Weave refreshes on the current municipal logo, implemented in 2001 after Port Hope's amalgamation with Hope Township and currently the town's only iconography, are options for a new corporate logo.
The proposed designs were shown at an open house on Dec. 12, 2012 to collect community feedback.
"There was a lot of requests from the business community and our residents to do a branding that would position Port Hope in a positive light," said Sandra Weeks, Port Hope communications coordinator. "We have a lot of really positive things happening in the community, and we want to make sure that gets out there," she said.
There were 23 bidders for the job, which Weave secured with a price tag of $102,830. According to a Northumberlandtoday report, the lowest bidder quote was $9,750, and the highest was $271,000. The project entails research through interviews, focus groups and surveys; a report of research findings; a positioning statement; development of visuals and an open house presentation; and development of a communications strategy, implementation plan, and identity manual.
Below are the ideas behind Weave's proposed visuals, according to info available for download on the town's website. Weave Communications declined to comment, as the project is not yet completed.
The "ExtraOrdinary" word mark aims to capture two sides of Port Hope: sophisticated and sensible, and casually offbeat. According to the project's graphic concepts package, the stylized X can be used as a standalone icon in phrases such as "X marks the spot."
The "100% Port Hope" image is meant to appear as a stamp of approval, signifying pride. "We cherish everything about Port Hope - good, bad and quirky, it's what makes us who we are," says the package.
The "Port Hope Thought Bubble" features a backwards letter R to position the town as unconventional. The comic book-style thought bubble aims to give the word mark a "thoughtful" and "witty" personality. The copy in the bubble can be replaced to convey different information.
The corporate logo options are new versions of the older logo, with simplified colour palettes and different frame choices. They feature larger type to make them easier to read in different iterations, Weeks said. "If you made the old logo small enough, you can't even read that part of it," she said.
Feedback on the logos will be collected until Jan. 25 and taken into account, but ultimately the decision is city council's. "They were the ones who approved the project to go forward, so they would be the the ones who would make the final decision," Weeks said.
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