Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nogo Logotherapy

The great thing about "branding" of new cities is that they get to "re-brand." Over and over and over again. Being geographically adjacent to the original "New City," Sandy Springs, Dunwoody seems content with the role of follower, even plagiarist. Perhaps due to a general co-opting of "Smart City" lingo or because Dunwoody proved how stupid it sounds, even Plano has moved forward with a graphic logo eschewing the needy, pushy "the lady doth protest too much" effort. Maybe it is time to toss "Smart City, Smart People" into the dustbin alongside "Every Day Is An Opening Day."

But maybe that does not justify eighty large on a new "brand." Even the spendthrifts at City Hall are arriving at that conclusion, but make no mistake this is not a wave of virulently infectious frugality. One would be hard pressed to find someone who'd admit they liked, or voted for the current brand and if you did and if they said anything it would certainly be deflective. There may also be some concern that those who brought us a logo done in crayon using a color palette obtained by closing your eyes after staring at a bright light are not stewards of good taste. But this is not a problem that will be solved by a monochromatic shift to pen and ink and a new font.

The real problem was the common co-branding of related but distinct operations. There are many reasons, some of which are good, for the separate legal constructs underpinning the City, the CVB and the Development Authority. Common branding makes it appear that when you get one you're going to get the other two. This seems so cute, like three kids playing with lincoln logs, until the inevitable fight breaks out.

So when the Development Authority wagged its lap-dog tail because Greedy Developer demanded a development "incentive" for an all-but-complete project, City Hall, both staff and politicos, were put in the uncomfortable position of explaining that the Development Authority is not really part of the City. But eyes glaze over when the explanation requires statements involving "o.c.g.a section so-and-so" as yet another politician hides behind "legal if not right" as a defense.

Advocates say moving, with the required address change on letterhead (do people still USE that?) is a good time to re-brand. Perhaps it is a good time to re-think many more important things.