In the latest installment of our unintentional blog series ‘Questionable Choices in Branding of States’ (See Tennessee). We arrive at North Carolina’s new logo.
Sloppy, unnecessarily complicated and seemingly unrefined, the NC Commerce Department’s latest attempt at a brand-revamp leaves much to be desired.
While some might be quick to point fingers at the firm who produced this disaster and their squandering a $1.5 million project budget (which included more than just the logo, don’t worry)– this specific brand of poor design has a very familiar overall feel to it…
Yes, perhaps this less than magnificent mark was a crummy concept derived from too many hands in the cookie jar.
The Email Leak
Alright, so this isn’t a real email leak, but it’s an educated guess as to what might have gone down between the designer tasked with creating this logo and the person/people who felt it their civic duty to interject “helpful” suggestions along the way.
…After the Weekend
“We really love the boldness of the concept. The mountains, the water… it’s everything we asked for. Thank you! With that said, before starting this project we had been working night and day to brainstorm a sort of catchphrase. Several power lunches later, we arrived at “Nothing Compares.” Get it!? N-C… “N-othing C-ompares” Everyone loves that song. Could you please fit it in for us? “
…A Couple Days Later
“Hi! So we thought we were done (that was easy, right) but, Trish in accounting is an NC State alum and huge fan and pointed this out to us. While we totally get what you’re doing with the color, it is the research TRIANGLE after all and NC State (and Raleigh) feel a bit left out here. Think we could work in some Wolfpack red?”
…The Following Tuesday
“Alright, scrap the red. Things were getting a little too political, yikes! I heard on Good Morning America that Green was rated the most popular color in the US. Let’s use that and forget about the red.
Also, one more little tweak, Cindy in HR had a really hard time seeing the mountains and the water. She said it was just a little too fine on her iPad. Can we beef those lines up a bit?”
…Friday at 4:55PM
“Nevermind… Things are getting sloppy. After consulting with Larry in IT (he’s great at Photoshop), we’ve decided just to get rid of the mountains and waves altogether. Legibility is priority #1!“
…The Following Wednesday
“After this week’s ‘logo luncheon’ we think we’ve lost some of the charm of the original design. The fonts you use are nice, but kind of conventional. Any chance you could try something that’s a little bit more fun?“
…30 Minutes Later
“Love what you did with North Carolina.
Here are our ideas for the other fonts.
NC: Open Sans (it’s a free font from Google) The current NC looks too much like Cartoon Network in reverse!
Nothing Compares: Papyrus (we need to appeal to these new eco-tourists)“
…The Following Morning
“Ok, you were right about Papyrus not looking professional.
Let’s just go with something real conventional. It’s a great tagline but a silly song, afterall. We think it would look more important if you moved it up above North Carolina.
Also, can we get some of that Carolina Blue back in there? Maybe make it a little darker.“
…7 Hours and 15 Days Later.
“Here are the final edits from the team:
1. Please get rid of the state silouette. We can’t tell what it is anymore.
2. We like what you did originally with the shape in the letters. Think you can squeeze a pine tree between the N and the C?
3. Use a less ‘pointy’ font for NC
4. Is there any way to get the waves and mountains back? We had originally asked for this.
5. Make the word NORTH CAROLINA more important.
6. If you make the Green and Blue fade together in the logo, we think that would really POP!”
Remember… there’s no ‘I’ in team but there is one in design. Collaboration is important but design by committee, offering too many opinions, can diminish a finished concept. Nothing Compares to working directly with a decision maker.