New Halifax branding campaign polarizes residents

HALIFAX – An ambitious re-branding project for the Halifax area is ready to move forward, but not without debate about whether it’s the right look for the city.

Since council approved the project Tuesday afternoon, reaction from the public has been mixed, with some calling it “plain” and “ambiguous.”

One of the most outspoken critics was councillor Gloria McCluskey, who, despite her own objections, ultimately voted in favour of the plan.

“I had a lot of emails and calls from people saying that logo is ridiculous and ‘where are we going with this?’ and ‘it’s a waste of money,'” she told Global News Wednesday.

The new logo is being described by its designers as bold, simple and effective.

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“The logo uses a couple shades of blue which represent our many lakes, ocean and sky,” said Phil Otto, the CEO of Revolve Branding. “We’ve made the A’s and X’s look like arrows so there’s a bit of a nod to an upward movement and a forward motion as well.”

Revolve was rewarded the contract to come up with Halifax’s new branding strategy last November. The contract, along with public engagement, has totalled roughly $309,000 — about $217,000 for the initial contract, $42,000 for advertising and promotion, and $50,000 of “incremental costs.”

“People were expecting a logo that tells the whole story and that turns out logos that are over-embellished, over-designed and cluttered,” Otto said. “We knew from the start that wasn’t going to be our approach here.”

Revolve is also recommending the city brand itself simply as Halifax, instead of the current “Halifax Regional Municipality.”

The project included a three-month public engagement process that reached out to more than 20,000 citizens.

The branding initiative will be rolled out in phases and Otto suggests that could take up to three years.

Short-term changes will be seen on websites and business cards, while long-term changes will target signs on buildings and vehicles.

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