This is a letter from David Coates CGD, FGDC to the mayor of Sechelt regarding the announcement of a contest to replace the identity implemented by the previous town council just two short years ago.
Honorable Mayor John Henderson,
I'm a professional graphic designer. I'm not a resident of Sechelt, nor do I pay taxes in your fine region but I have spent substantial time in Sechelt and throughout the Sunshine Coast and I know the area very well. My Vancouver firm, Ion Branding + Design, was hired in 2010 to develop a brand strategy, identity and brand platform for the District of Sechelt. We went through an RFP bid process and were deemed the successful proponent based on our process, previous work, references and proposed budget.
We ran a consultative process in the development of the work, facilitating community stakeholder meetings in order to develop a brand that would reflect the community and its citizens. We worked closely with District staff throughout the process and approvals were based on consultation and maintaining an open and collaborative environment for the creative process to thrive. We utilize this same tried and true branding process for companies, municipalities and organizations throughout North America, and have for 24 years.
Ultimately, we presented four directions that reflected the strategy we had developed. All were met with favour and again, through consultation one direction was approved for refinement and rollout through the balance of materials.
This is the brand that is currently being used by Sechelt and we are very proud of it. It is well considered and comprehensive, a brand that represents the region well, a brand that is designed to attract tourism, families and new businesses to the District. Imagine our dismay that after two years we discover the District's new council is throwing out the work along with all the implementation costs and holding a community contest for a new logo. This a criminal waste of time and money. Not only are you wasting staff time but that of citizens as well. A contest is the absolute worst way to develop any kind of design and disrespects those who put in the hard hours of work at a one in hundreds chance of "winning". And then what? You still have to hire a firm to develop the brand that surrounds it. Contests and this type of speculative work are forbidden by the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (see the code of ethics: http://www.gdc.net/about/index/articles/712.php) so you certainly won't be getting any professionals entering.
I am incredibly disappointed by this misguided decision of the newly elected council. Not just because my firm is proud of the work or that we will no longer be able to show it in our portfolio, but because of the disgusting waste of taxpayers hard earned money, quality work and printed materials. By the fact that rather than actually fully implementing the brand in order to prove it works or needs tweaking, you choose to simply toss it. All this simply because the brand was designed by an "offshore" firm. The shortsightedness of this council is appalling, as is this contest.
David Coates CGD, FGDC
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