Council still hasn’t learned its lesson. When it comes to messing with Innisfil’s identity, making any change without full public participation is equivalent to kicking a bee hive. I thought that was clear from the name-change controversy. But Council is getting another reminder from the on-going indignation over the selection process for a new town logo.
My focus here is broadly on sustainability so I was going to steer clear of this but a reader has asked me to comment. I have a few points, and a suggestion to make, so here goes.
First, my reader was angered by the claim that the current logo review is part of the “Inspiring Innisfil” agenda but excluded the public from the design selection process. Actually, the logo redesign is a legacy project (2008) from the previous Council that committed $35,000 to an out-of-town design firm without prior public consultation. The logo redesign was only “grandfathered” into Inspiring Innisfil as a broader recommendation “to develop and promote a new identity for Innisfil”.
The current logo review is more an effort to save face and salvage ‘our’ investment made by the previous council. I’m sure there’s also a fear among town staff that the whole thing could get bogged down in a prolonged public debate about the relative merits of numerous designs. Design by committee, in this case, by Committee of the Whole town can potentially turn into a quagmire. So here are my thoughts:
- Let me suggest that the selection of a new town logo from the Town’s designated designs is not that critical. Some of us will like or hate the final result. Is it that important? Try this. Describe the logo of another municipality. How about Mississauga? Richmond Hill? Orillia? In other words, it will command about 15 seconds attention with an unfamiliar audience and will either help bolster a positive impression, or it will be benignly forgettable.
- Let’s recognize that there are two different objectives and separate them. The town’s objective, corporate identity, is distinct from the public objective, civic pride. Let Town Council select a design for corporate identity – solid, dignified, restrained – representing the Corporation of the Town of Innisfil. It means that staff can get on with the ultimate task of creating all the communication tools needed such as print, video, and internet to attract the investment necessary to make Innisfil “the place to be in 2020”.
- Residents were angered that a local business offered a logo design for free which was not even considered. As a community, we don’t have to let that be the end of it. Let’s remember that Inspiring Innisfil is supposed to be a citizen-driven initiative. So let’s take the initiative to create something new, positive and beneficial without getting into a pitched battle with politicians and staff. That would be negative, disruptive and damaging. Instead, I suggest the new Innisfil Arts, Culture and Heritage Council sponsor a contest – open to everyone including students – for designs expressing Innisfil’s identity that can be worn with pride on t-shirts, polo shirts, hoodies, pullovers or other items. The results could be remarkable and exciting. The tastes of teenage skateboarders will be different from 40 year old golfers or soccer moms. The design submitted from Lakeside Graphics would be accepted as the first entry. I would suggest making one or two other variations from this design as well. I have a few ideas of my own that I might be motivated to submit.
- Now it gets interesting. Display the entries at public venues and let Innisfil residents vote for their favourites. How about $1 per ballot with the funds used to print the top 3 or 5 designs on items of clothing. Then those items would be offered for sale at Innisfil businesses. (I can think of at least a dozen potential retail outlets in Innisfil) The Innisfil Arts Council and the designer(s) would receive a portion of the revenue from the sale of “Innisfil inspired” clothing.
I’ve already asked for some comment on this idea. The public participation and fund-raising aspects were welcomed, but the notion of displaying more than one design incorporating the word, Innisfil, was perceived as confusing. Personally, I disagree. There is no single designated design for clothing representing Canada or Ontario. We, locals and tourists, choose images that are fun, colourful, dramatic, patriotic, whimsical or humorous. There is no ambiguity in the word Innisfil, any more than there is in the word, Canada.
What do you say Innisfil? Is there room for creative expression? Are you willing to fork out some bucks to display your civic pride in Innisfil?