I heard about this a while ago, and I thought it would be fitting to discuss the corporate identity of a city in Canada, even though it’s not in my province.

The city of Regina (in the province of Saskatchewan) has a new logo and branding package.

The new logo and branding were developed by Winnipeg advertising firm McKim Cringan George.

In an article from Leader-Post, they touch on what the $320,000 price tag includes for the branding package.

Some taxpayers are doubtless going to look at the $320,000 pricetag for the new branding and conclude it’s an awful lot of money for a “lousy logo.” But this is way more than a few words and some colourful artwork.

The process began more than 18 months ago and was directed by a committee of “community partners” that includes the Regina Regional Opportunities Corporation and Regina and District Chamber of Commerce. As well as research, telephone surveys, focus groups and a lot of creative development and graphic design, careful planning went into establishing guidelines for the consistent use of the new brand through videos, a website and a wide range of promotional material.

It’s no small irony that the new brand was unveiled on the same day that the provincial government announced the executive board that will oversee development of the global transportation hub now taking shape on the “infinite horizon” west of the Regina International Airport. It promises to bring hundreds of new jobs to the city as road, rail and air freight services link up alongside warehouses and possibly light manufacturing and assembly plants — a perfect example of Regina’s growing economic strength.

With economic development all around them and low unemployment, Reginans can see opportunity right in their own backyard — not some green pasture in another province.

Infinite horizons is now a fitting brand.

Here’s the full article.

And another related article.

A branding package is always a much more involved thing than just a logo that you slap on everything. I personally specialize in corporate design, but this does not mean I focus on logos. It means I focus on branding overall, which permeates many, many parts of a visual identity for a business. In reality, most companies already have a logo when they hire me. But they need their brand to do more work for them. They need to improve their image and increase appeal with their target audience.

When a city gets rebranded, it’s a huge change. Branding is closely tied to image or the “face” of the city, company, individual, etc. I think it is refreshing to see a news article that addresses the fact that branding is much more than just a logo.

Let me start my comments on the branding change for the city of Regina by saying that I think this is overall a positive change and a step forward for a city that wants to encourage its inhabitants to see the opportunities at home rather than leave for another city that sounds more exciting. The new logo is distinctive and the bright colours are optimistic and energizing.

However, I think the overlapping, translucent areas of the ribbon could be a bit problematic. The gradated colours and the translucent areas are not particularly noticeable at small sizes or, I suspect, from a distance. It is overall more colourful a logo than I was expecting, but it’s not overbearing in any way and can also work in a single colour without losing its essence. I do think it could have been simplified to flat colours, but not being able to distinguish between shades of yellow (for example) and seeing that parts are translucent are likely very acceptable, minor losses when the logo changes size and/or is reproduced in various media that may not be forgiving to slight colour change.

The previous branding, with the I ♥ Regina campaign, seemed very reminiscent of New York’s own successful branding that is incredibly recognizable and well known. Having branding that is so reminiscent of another city is almost like saying the city is not proud of itself and wants to be like another city. Which is quite negative and actually hurts the image of Regina because it was so obviously influenced by another design.

The update of Regina’s branding package to be more modern and use the empowering slogan of “infinite horizons” is a wonderfully positive change in my opinion. I am sure the logo will be scrutinized by many as it is a significant part of the branding package as well as the fact that this is new branding for a city. Melbourne, Australia’s branding change was dissected and discussed quite a lot for some time, and I think it’s something that comes with the territory of developing a visual identity for something as large scale as a city.

What do you think of Regina’s new logo and branding? Is it a positive change, or do you think it should be even more different from the I ♥ Regina campaign?