Royal OakOctober 31, 2013
City announces new logo in rebranding effort
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — Despite the fact that Mayor Jim Ellison wore it on a button during his summer State of the City address and that the commission approved it more than a month ago, the city officially released its new logo and department icons Oct. 23.
It is the first time that the city has remade its logo since the 1950s. The former city logo, an oak tree with the city name in old English lettering, has appeared on the front of City Hall since that time, according to the city.
In addition to the logo, “Life Now Playing” was selected as the city’s tagline.
The city says the logo, a connected “RO” set on a sunset orange circle, represents the city’s evolution into the 21st Century.
Ideation, a Royal Oak-based creative firm, designed the logo, a press release said. The company gathered input from the commission, staff and local community organizations to arrive at the designs and tagline.
Along with the new logo, the city also released nine new department — or derivative — icons, including ones for the Fire and Police departments.
“We developed derivative icons for certain departments and functions of the city that we felt needed to have a distinctive identity of their own,” City Manager Don Johnson said at the Sept. 16 meeting, when the commission approved the changes. “It’s important that the identity be consistent with the overall city brand, so all of the icons were developed by the same artist.”
Johnson said the icons will never be used without the Royal Oak logo. For instance, the new Police Department logo could be painted on a vehicle’s front doors while the Royal Oak logo is located elsewhere on the vehicle.
Johnson went on to say that the city’s various vehicles will not be painted all at once.
“We’re not going to go at this en masse and try to repaint all existing vehicles,” Johnson said.
Instead, the rollout will be gradual.
“We may go back on some vehicles that are high-profile and change them,” he said.
Johnson said the city budgeted $30,000 for brand rollout.
While the commission approved the logos unanimously, the changes weren’t without some criticism.
Commissioner Peggy Goodwin said the derivative icons, particularly for the Fire and Police departments, were too “commercial” looking.
“That’s my concern is the unofficial look of some of the icons when it comes to law enforcement,” Goodwin said.