What's in a logo? South Ribble gets set to shed 'dated and tarnished' image

Does a council's logo affect how it is perceived?
Does a council's logo affect how it is perceived?

Residents are to be asked what they think of South Ribble Borough Council’s logo as part of plans to change the authority’s branding.

Three options were put before a meeting of the authority’s cabinet, with estimated costs for discarding the “dated” design ranging from under £7,000 for a tweak to the existing image to more than £100,000 for the implementation of a complete rebrand.

Council leader Paul Foster said that he was committed to no more than a “re-touch” of the current logo, which could be achieved within the lowest of the three cost brackets.

“We do think it’s important to freshen up and we have to demonstrate the benefits to the community if we’re spending their money on it.

“I have a personal view that the brand is tarnished, particularly after the last four years of local and national media [coverage of the council],” Cllr Foster said.

The authority was heavily criticised after being engulfed by the fallout from a series of failings in its licensing department over criminal records checks for taxi drivers back in 2016. A subsequent report by other local authority leaders described it as “a challenging place”.

But opposition councillors questioned the need for a new look.

Liberal Democrat group leader David Howarth – who supports the minority Labour administration in a confidence and supply arrangement – said he “disassociated” his party from the plans.

“Nobody has ever knocked on my door and said, ‘That logo is so dated, you need to do something about it.’

“And the problem with this council’s legacy are the words ‘South Ribble’. People don’t look at the logo and think of [the authority’s] problems.

“We don’t think this is a priority for spending for this council,” Cllr Howarth added.

Papers presented to the meeting stated that the logo was so old that that there were limited digital versions of it available, which caused difficulty for council staff.

Residents are to be asked for their perception of the South Ribble brand as part of the forthcoming citizens’ survey.

Conservative councillor Michael Green said that the process of changing the corporate identity would cost “a significant sum” just in officer time.

“That could be put to use on frontline services,” he said.

Cllr Foster’s preferred option of a tweaked logo is estimated to cost between £1,800 and £7,000 for the design stage, with the cost of its implementation on council signage, literature and vehicles dependent on the extent of the change.

A “low intensity” rebrand would have seen a new logo, but the retention of the existing colour scheme – with design costs of between £2,000 and £10,000 and implementation of around £50,000. While a wholesale change to both logo and colour scheme would have cost up to £25,000 to design and another £80,000 to implement.

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