Monday, March 28, 2016

Good Agency, Bad Logo

Driving through downtown St. Paul recently, I saw the logo for our Metropolitan Council on their building:

Now I love the Met Council as much as the next person (or rather, probably more than the next person, since it seems some folks want to radically change it, despite the fact that it's held up, nationally, as a model for how to do governance better if you're looking for equality), but that is one bad logo.

There's pretty much not a good thing about it. It combines a messy, incomprehensible symbol with undistinguished typography that's spaced too tightly in both directions, except when it's spaced too loosely. What a mess.

I was assuming it was something they worked up in the '80s or maybe the '90s, but no. It's from 2012.

Oh, that's right, I forgot -- this is what their logo used to look like:

That one (from 1988) is also dated and bad, in all its desktop-published glory, but the new one is worse, in my opinion.

Here's what they think the 2012 logo means:

The symbols are supposed to convey a “fresh, modern, professional, future-oriented identity to most people,” Met Council spokeswoman Meredith Salsbery said. The triangles represent the Met Council’s core services — land use, water and transportation planning — while also emphasizing the interconnectedness of the metro region.
The logo was designed in-house, but they paid a well-known local ad agency to test-market it. I'd like to see those results.

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