Frederick's new logo

The new logo for the city of Frederick.

The city of Frederick has a new logo, but not everyone is embracing the design, including residents upset about what they called the lack of transparency and public input into the project.

The new logo, a stylized lowercase “f,” incorporates blue, red, green and yellow to pay homage to different aspects of the city’s character.

Symbolism aside, many residents questioned the need for a logo.

“My main question regarding the logo is, why?” said city resident Ellen Byrne, a freelance illustrator who happened across the logo on the city’s Facebook page late last week. “I just don’t understand why it was needed; nothing about it says ‘Frederick’ other than the text beneath the logo. The whole look and feel is just Southwestern, in my head.”

Despite the negative reviews, the city stands behind the $45,000 design by North Star, a Jacksonville, Florida-based design firm, said city spokeswoman Patti Mullins said. While Mullins agreed that public input is important, she argued that the idea of choosing a single design by popular vote was “never a workable option” for city officials.

“We knew all along that, in an art design for a city of 79,000 people, not everybody is going to like it, and, unfortunately, those individuals who are not happy are going to be the most vocal,” Mullins said. “Everybody agreed from the get-go that this was going to be an administrative process.”

Mayor Michael O’Connor explained further that the process that the city followed was itself a recommendation from North Star.

“I appreciate that we could have done it some other ways, but the consultants presented to us an approach as to how to go about this process and we really believed that that approach was sound. ... They are the experts in doing this,” O’Connor said. “There were probably 50 or 100 ways to go about this process. There are always many different ways to handle engagement, but you can’t necessarily take a process like this and open it up to the public. ... You can’t have the community design a graphic.”

Instead of direct public input, the design incorporates different perspectives, including insight from more than 100 business owners, nonprofits, city institutions and residents. Those interviews were conducted by North Star’s team of designers when they visited the city from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25. While the logo was presented as a finished product to the city in early May, the end product was North Star’s best effort at capturing the city’s many defining characteristics based on their interviews and observations, Mullins said.

“They took all those feelings and ideas and they consolidated it into this [logo],” Mullins said. “It’s welcoming, it’s diverse, it’s historic, it has deep roots to history and pays homage to our outgoing and engaged community.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, 66 percent of a total of 299 votes cast in an unofficial poll about the logo that was posted to NextDoor, a social network for community and neighborhood discussions, expressed dissatisfaction with the new logo, while only about 5 percent said they approved of the design.

Susan Ledford, who rated the logo negatively in the poll, pointed to comments from others as justification that not enough public input was solicited. The remaining 28 percent of voters in the poll expressed confusion regarding the question.

“When I go to do research to find out, ‘OK, how did this happen?’ I’m not finding anything except for word-of-mouth, and everybody else seems to also be saying, ‘Yeah, how did this happen?’ Nobody seems to know,” Ledford said. “Who was involved in the process of choosing this? Was this just the mayor? Was there a board? Because there obviously was no citizen input.”

Cathy Anderson, who posted the poll on NextDoor, agreed with Ledford. A former volunteer for the mayor’s Strategic Opportunities Advisory Committee, Anderson also sat in on a focus group about the logo. Referring to her experience, Anderson drew an distinction between designers talking to community members and actually including the community in the design process.

“It is misleading to say that we as a focus group had a say ... because we didn’t at all,” Anderson said when reached for comment. “We might have had some insight into the logo but we did not have any input into the logo.”

O’Connor said he appreciated Anderson’s work on the advisory committee, which he said helped to make clear the need for a unified visual message for the city.

“Based on that report, one of the things that was made clear to us was that the city didn’t have that clear and cohesive visual messaging, everything from the consistency of signatures on emails or color schemes on fliers,” O’Connor said.

Prior to the new logo, which was unveiled by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department on June 13, the city used an old-fashioned font borrowed from the city and county’s tourism council as well as the city’s official seal — an outline of the many church steeples that give the city its “clustered spires” nickname — as a stand-in for an official logo, Mullins said.

“This represents Frederick, founded in 1745,” Mullins said, referring to the original seal and text combination. “But, for telling the world about Frederick, Frederick is more than just 1745. ... We’re proud of our heritage, but we’re also very excited about the future.”

Mullins said the push for an updated logo came from the city’s Department of Economic Development’s need for a design to sell the city to businesses, investors and new residents. While the city seal will remain in use on official city documents, the newer logo will help the city capitalize on its modern assets without abandoning the city’s historic roots, Mullins said.

Still, many residents expressed frustration with the very idea of a logo, especially considering the price tag that came with North Star’s winning bid during the city’s request for proposals process.

“I just feel like, who are the rest of us, are we chopped liver? Because we pay a lot of taxes here in Frederick,” Byrne said. “If [the city administration] wanted it, then let them pay for it. Why have the taxpayers foot the bill?”

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(201) comments


Thanks Obama! Also, the logo has five portions made of various colors. How many letters in Trump and Obama? Coincidence? Yeah right! Primary Colors is also a book about Bill Clinton's campaign in 1992. It's all so obvious.


A drunk person with no hands could’ve done a better job! Fraud,waste and abuse at it’s finest.


Here is the scope of work 1. a 3 to 4 day visit to Frederick to have “immersive meetings with City staff and external stakeholders” 2. “Research Competitive and Current State”… presumably of City branding 3. “Positioning statement” 4. “Internal Brand statement” 5. Logo development with three rounds of revisions plus three departmental brands and also three rounds of revisions 6. Tagline 7. Formalized Brand Guidelines 8. Key marketing messages 9. Expanded Brand Style Guidelines 10. Rollout Plan. Was the immersive meeting in Carroll Creek with the water lillies? And here are the invoices 1. 2018/09/30 $2,100 for Research: 12 hours paid 2018/10/19 2. 2018/11/30 $11,725 for 67 hours work including full report of findings from visit (17 hrs) competitive community analysis (14 hours), formation of key insights (15 hours) and 21 hours for Strategic Platform/DNA formation and two presentations on this… paid 2018/12/14 3. 2018/12/31 $6,256 Progress billing for professional and creative services in December 2018, estimated 35.75 hours, specified as “continued development of the Frederick, Maryland brand,” including “project leadership and creative development of two rounds of brand straplines, prior to the finalist line being chosen 12/28" paid 2019/01/11 4. 2019/01/31 $6343.75 for estimated 36.25 hours January 2019 work on “logo/identity creative development” and a client meeting, work on 2 rounds of refinements including “client counsel on approval matters.” paid 2019/02/15 5. 2019/02/28 $2,100 for 12 hours of “refinement and finalization of the city logo” including the color palette for the brand, paid 2019/02/15 6. 2019/05/31 $2430 for ‘final charges’ including 13.5 hours for ‘final design of the creative deliverables, development and sharing of roll out plan recommendations and descriptive language for press release.” Paid 2019/06/14


The city should ask for a refund. Looks terrible!!


"You can’t have the community design a graphic." No but the community can vote these folks out of office.


[crying]As to my previous post the "f" is not upside down unless you look at the suggestion for the logo on a t-shirt on the North Star Ideas website.


"You can’t have the community design a graphic."..... um really you can't? How about you save the taxpayers dollars, offer a contest to LOCALS with a smaller prize amount and something to add to their portfolio, (which by the way that money, if they are locals will go back to your city) and it also makes for a more meaningful logo because that person already knows the City and loves the City.. thus meaning the citizens of your city will be happy with the redesign. Might I remind you of all the great artist and graphic designers we have in this City...Town... County... STATE? ALSO, if you had opened this up to high school students did you think that MAYBE it may have helped with their portfolio for college admissions, and prize money could have helped pay for college? your words are hurtful, that you can't have a community design a graphic.... it says you don't believe in this community... Your words should say, I don't want my community to design this graphic.... But NO, you spend taxpayers money on a logo no one likes to a company in FLORIDA..... You Idiot


For a view of North Star Ideas other designs go here: After viewing this it's pretty clear to me that Frederick did not get North Star's best effort. And have you noticed that the top of the stylized "f" seems smaller than the bottom. Upside down, maybe. Anyway, it looks like an "s", as in Seminole, as in Florida State University. Time to bite the bullet and do over.


Patty Mullins: …."welcoming, diverse, historic, deep roots in history, pays homage to community...…". What the 'f'? It's a letter that says nothing. Just more "Pop Secularism". Making things up to do. Ridiculous process and a black mark on our City.


Crazy, just look at how Citizens where informed. Started in June at Parks and Rec.? Than on 7/2 on Facebook, on MextDoor a week later, FNP even later. Very sad we are looking for a common brand but can not communicate enough to make disicions or dismemate same.


Now we change all the signs to read “Welcome to Pueblo Frederick”. Maybe our new mascot can be a Kachina doll? Someone should investigate this fraudulent waste of taxpayer money.


Hahaha, the artist is related to someone there.


Zero reflection of the county’s heritage and culture


"not everybody is going to like it, and, unfortunately, those individuals who are not happy are going to be the most vocal,” Mullins said." When a newspaper poll shows 1.6% liking something and over 89% voting it atrocious, I think that is an overwhelming statement about the symbol, the process, and the people who decided to jam this down our throats.


I know Frederick from visiting with friends that live there. Right now, Frederick is known for its artsy AMAZING dowtown, amazing restaurants and 90 Day Fiance. I can forgive the last one. The other two is the REAL reason I come to Frederick. This logo is an abomination. Honestly. It does NOT represent the heart and soul of Frederick. It is a joke. It is simply, ugly. Who designed/approved this? The Mayor? His wife who likes Southwestern design? Not a designer, that is for sure. This is a completely let down. $45k wasted. 100%.

Kent Island

[unsure] "The red weather vane is both a homage to" A weather vane!?! It looks like a flaming and bloody arrow; I am offended by its violent nature and incensed at the cultural appropriation aspect of it.


Offend easily do we? I just see a tomahawk. Oh, does that offend you also?


With thee black background and a yellow core (solar energy) I see a space ship on the way to the stars and with a red ion exhaaust and even with wide solar sails. Why not? We can see what we want. And even want what we have.

The Grape of Wrath

Upon further study and evaluation, it looks like a flimsy male figure suspended in outer space, given the black background, passing gas out his butt to the left and aiming his semi-erect phallic organ to the right. Perhaps that is appropriate for the letter F. The exhausting gas would provide a slight thrust to propel the figure from left to right, and the rainbow colors give it a gay, all-inclusive ambiance. Let us celebrate the utter stupidity of the whole effort by painting it all over the city. I don't know about you but I would NEVER sign a letter with that stupid logo on the letterhead.


What imagination.


Lol. Of all the things to be outraged about...a logo. Yeah, $45k seems like a lot for something so trivial...I tend to get my bile up for things of more consequence.


Finally - a voice of sanity. But it is the "dog days" and fussing seems to keep our minds working. Just be a fussbudget. Or not.


So much for “get it downtown.”


We have had a logo before . In 1995 Mayor Grimes unvieled a special logo and a slogan - Unity with Momentum -. to celebrate the City's 250th anniversary . .It showed up on letterhead pins pencils mugs ( I think I still have one somewhere ) It was a half circle with the spires / skyline and red and blue stripes arching over .You may still see it on older city trucks still on the road . I do not remember anyone asking about the cost to design it although I do remember there was a consultant hired to help organize many different 250 th anniversary celebrtions that year. It was perhaps a one off for that occassion but we did use a logo for a time - until it just faded away . . .


Also Jim, there was a “tag line” contest held among City employees and a tag line was was years ago. Its on file at the City.


I agree with the writer who said it looked southwestern! I think it might work in Albuquerque or some such place. Frederick has such a rich history, and this is what was the final? And why was the design firm from Jacksonville, FL? Have you ever been there, it is a dreadful city full of leather like people who have been in the sun too long. Obviously, the design team must have come up with this logo while sitting out in the parking lot! Ugly and does not fit Frederick at all. Get your money back!!


It looks like a worm impaled with a flaming arrow.

The Grape of Wrath

Oh that would be so appropriate for Frederick.


What a stupid waste of taxpayer dollars. With all of the important issues to be addressed in Frederick, why expend time and money coming up with what turns out to be a foolish looking logo that I suspect will be abandoned in due time?


For once I agree with you. [thumbup]

The Grape of Wrath

Then the money would have been better spent on subsidized abortions for the poor?


Is this "out of left field?" Or what?


Really? There are other more needs in our City and County.


[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Mr. Bickel!!!


A contest with local elementary school students could have done a better job.


Why do people feel the need to be hateful? Colorful is not the same thing as Pride colors. Newsflash: There is no conspiracy to make things “gay.” Sheesh. Red, blue, and yellow are primary colors; maybe the green represents green space. Not sure where people get a rainbow flag. I think there are too many colors in the logo, but from a cohesion and accessibility perspective. Here’s a thought: Spend less time hating on LGBTQ people and your life might get better! Keep dissing inclusion and watch folks steer clear of your city, along with their discretionary spending at your shops and restaurants. Cheers, mate!

The Grape of Wrath

Yellow is not a primary color.


Ummm, yes it is, along with blue and red.

The Grape of Wrath

No, green is the other primary.


Troll level xp +1000


Trollin’ trollin’ trollin

FAUX just keeps on trollin’

Good Lord!


The 3 primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. Blue and yellow make green Blue and red make purple Red and yellow make orange, etc. Are you joking are just being uneducated?


Unreal. My five year old granddaughter knows that yellow and blue makes green and that green is not a primary color. I’m straight, but equating the colors to gay pride is kind of homophobic.


Kinda looks like a distressed bird letting out a squawk as it flies from right to left.


$45 K for this joke? What does it represent? Looks like a tool my dentist uses to scrape plaque off my teeth that was just hit with a torpedo. My grade school children could do better at NO taxpayer expense. What a WASTE!

The Grape of Wrath

"The Chamber worked with a local Frederick firm, Octavo Design..." No wonder the logo is so limp! That's the lousy firm whose evil wench of a boss lady fired a graphic designer just because he dared call out Dumb Dubya on his lies about the Iraq War, and wouldn't take a brush off for an answer. That lousy firm should not get one dime of public money! Not one dime!


Well well well. You are ALL missing the point! These Democrats have done it again! Multicolor...inclusion, gay pride, liberal garbage! Frederick is spires. So I'll bet that the designing firm has a connection to the administration. Ugh, when does it stop!!!!?????

The Grape of Wrath

Hahaha! I said it looked like a gay swan struggling to fly but the FNP wouldn't post it. I guess when you write "gay" you must always follow it with "pride" as you did in order to pass the censors.


I never thought about a "gay issue" until I read this. Is this where it starts?


The whole thing is so bad and the process such a debacle, you have to wonder what else, much more important and expensive, has been or is being bungled by the Mayor?




Dumb design, does Frederick need a logo? I think not.


Hideous. What the f-word????


And, by the way, now I know why the City limits are constantly being expanded into the County. City officials just want more tax money to spend on garbage like this.


Hideous. Don't have time to read all the comments, but they should have gotten a local company to deign the logo. Even better, have a contest where Frederick residents come up with original designs and the winner gets a $500 gift card for downtown merchants/restaurants.


Follow the money... whoever got the $45,000.00 for this garbage is related to somebody in the Frederick City Government. A five year old would have done better.


This new logo forced upon the citizens of Frederick was unnecessary. Frederick is all about the Spires. What was wrong with that logo? The mayor and alderpersons are out of control, spending tax dollars willy nilly.


In the article Susan Ledford is quoted as saying "How did this happen?". Well, it might have happened like this: Mayor O'Connor says the process that was followed for selecting the new logo was one recommended by North Star. Then, North Star;s suggested logo is accepted. Does that in any way sound like conflict of interest?


Having a logo or a brand is fine and many organizations do it. What's not fine, aside from blindsiding the taxpayers with the unveiling of the logo, is the City devoting scarce municipal resources to a tertiary priority when vulgar & intimidating loiterers, drug dealers and trashers of our City have overrun and laid claim to our business district and creek linear park. Our elected officials need to recognize the reality and "Join Our Story" because a manufactured "brand" can't overcome what is actually happening to the City before our very eyes.


"our very eyes?" Perhaps your eyes, but I have never seen this and I go downtown. It is full of life; well dressed and polite people. I am never out late at hight. I might have missed what you saw.


The attitude is typical of a non election year. Just like Monocacy blvd closure on the last mayor! Or maybe when the town graffiti goes around and adds a “u” after the “f”. What about known as the city of trees? So much wasted money. Pack his bags! Take RWeldon with you! Just as amazing as

Obadiah Plainsmen

If this logo gets shot down don't waste it. Frederick city can change all the " one way" street signs with this. It would add a little pizzazz instead of those old large font arrow ones.


The black background shown above is a mistake. I know because I am a graphic designer and when I supply files to clients for their logos, they: 1) have adequate clear space; 2) print and web versions are supplied, WITH instructions on which files to use in which situation. The black background indicates it is either a PNG file with transparent background, or a GIF file, neither of which should be used in this situation. There are too many colors in this logo. Color should not be used as a prime identifier because approximately 10% of the population is colorblind (there are several different types of colorblindness) and it is NOT ACCESSIBLE. When tax dollars pay for a good or service, responsible stewardship means to look for vendors in the places where the money originates: the city, the county, the state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states there are over 3,000 graphic designers in Maryland. Why wouldn't they look in their own back yard first? This is a total slap in the face. I disagree with posters who advocate for a contest. Design contests are inherently a beauty contest, whereas a logo (and the accompanying branding activities and assets) has a job to do. A logo is a strategic marketing tool. Also, why should graphic designers be expected to work for free? This is our business, our expertise, our livelihood. When is the last time you held a contest for a plumber, a lawyer, a secretary, a teacher? That said, a logo for a city should absolutely take into account the citizenry, in addition to business and marketing goals. AND, in most cases, a complete redesign is a mistake. A logo REFRESH with incremental changes that keep the best of the old and introduce small contemporary or clarifying aspects, is a better approach. If Frederick is uniquely known for clustered spires, then to do away with them is just plain dumb. Just my $2 worth of opinions. --a designer in Silver Spring


I advocated for the contest. Not intended to take anything away from design pros, but if they paid $45,000 and that's what they got, maybe a contest isn't a bad thing. That said, should have tasked a local designer for the task.


There is a lot of room between $500 and $45,000; and sometimes what we might think is a lot of money has legitimate justification. FYI, the Graphic Artists Guild survey on pricing puts the range at $10-25K for a logo from a design firm. Not exactly the same as place branding, but it doesn't appear they've done any branding. A logo is not a brand. Apply a logo to something is not branding. Completely agree they should have "bought local."


The only thing this "f" represents is the grade these officials get for making the decision to spend that much money, to a firm not even from our own county, or even state, and the overall design. How many local businesses or people could have benefited from an opportunity to earn this contract. What other poor decisions are you making if you make decisions like this? And what’s wrong with public opinion on something so irrelevant, there’s nothing critical or time sensitive that you couldn’t consider our opinions. Certainly going to hear a lot more of our opinions now and not so supportive. PATHETIC fAILURE!


I am stunned. What is the symbolism of the red shapes? What about this says "Frederick?" I am CERTAIN there are artists in this area who would have done a beautiful (much better) job of this for under $5K. Waste of money.


It looks like an American Indian totem pole.


...and, unless FNP printed it upside down, it looks more like a " j " than it does an " f."


So, out of 119 comments (and counting), exactly ONE person seems to like this new logo. If the comment section is an accurate representation of the citizens as a whole it would appear this is an absolute epic fail on the part of the mayor and aldermen. They should be embarrassed by what they have done. An apology to the citizens and taxpayers is due. With some luck, they will realize how bad this decision is and reverse it. Unfortunately, the $45K will be a loss.


No, the article said if you don't like it you are in the minority. Everyone that doesn't say anything or know about it loves it.


Flooding homes, parks in need of restoration for citizens enjoyment, no bike paths to commercial areas but we have a new and unnecessary 45K logo. Whose priority was this? Apparently this mayor and the entire administration is out of touch and should be replaced ASAP. VOTE and be VOCAL!


I don't think Mayor Randy would have been so tone deaf about this. Why switch from the perfectly fine clustered spires to a big "F"? This is a no-brainer. AND we actually paid for this and plan to go ahead with it?


I agree with all of the above comments. In a community known for it's art why would we hire someone in FL?? If we needed a new logo so badly this should have been a contest among local artists and designers. My Grandchidren could have used that $45,000 to make this design. Shame on all involved!


Wow......that's really an uninspired, ugly, and terrible piece of work. Can we get our money back?? The City of Frederick deserves so much better. (But...I loved the old logo, and didn't understand the push for change, anyway). Somewhere one of our fellow posters below stated it appears to be a bad design that's "overthought"....and that may be the best descriptor of all for bad design.


We used fiverr do develop our logo at, cost $20, took 3 days. Some dude in Ubekistan did it.


They might as well go ahead and change the name to Fredgomery county. The left has changed it enough to all the places I have already left, that soon I’ll be leaving here, too. Good luck with proven failed perspectives.


Yes, it was so much better when Fredneck was Klanistan.


User postalsusan points out a freat article from the design firm's own webpage: By my count, this effort checked off 7/10 of these branding blunders. It appears that communication, a key to successful undertakings in any organization, was severely lacking. My hope is that lessons will be learned, and courses corrected where possible.


There are many local design firms who do nationally acclaimed brand design in Frederick. There are also 2 National design related organizations who have regional chapters based in Frederick. AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Blue Ridge and American Advertising Federation Greater Frederick - both organizations could have helped get the word out to local designers, and could have helped with the bidding and judging process, they hold regular design competitions, on a national scale. The design should have come from one of our local award winning designers. The logo would be more visually informed and suite our community better.


Sorry about the typo - I meant to type suit, not suite! Also, would be nice to see the old and the new side by side - wish I could upload those images.




Absolutely, We should use local businesses because they understand Frederick and have a vested interest in it. Also, it stimulates the local economy when we use local businesses. Is this rocket science?


My thought, the Citizens of Frederick City should understand with enough 'appropriate' communication to the Mayor and BOA, 'Administrative Decisions' can be reversed. The opportunity is now, for the majority wishes of the Citizens of Frederick City to make their opinions known at the next scheduled Mayor/BOA public meeting - to reverse the action, avoid all the associated future costs to replace a logo clearly not in favor by the Citizens of Frederick City, and take the loss of $45K plus as a lesson learned.






This really shows how the city truly feels about local artist. Also how they feel about local small businesses.


Hiring a firm from FLORIDA is the most unforgivable, ridiculous part of this whole thing. I've spent my career in a marketing firm's creative department, and I don't understand the "f" at all.




The clustered spires painting was created by famous local artist Miss Helen Smith in 1945 in celebration of the city's bicentennial. In 1979 the city adopted it as its official symbol replacing the previous "FSK" monument at Mt Olivet cemetery. Miss Helen's painting JUSTICE is still hanging in city hall. Justice was placed there when that location was the Frederick County courthouse. Miss Helen spent her entire life involved in art in our city until she died at 103 years old. Shame on any elected city official that allows this change to be finalized. I like Richard Griffin but his reccomendation is I'll advised. Must have adopted the Frederick Chamber of Commerce strange thinking when Rick Weldon changed the Chamber's logo to a stylized letter F. Wonder if they used the same marketing firm. If sounds like the firm has an obsession with the same letter of the alphabet.


The Chamber worked with a local Frederick firm, Octavo Design, and solicited broad input from our membership to develop our new logo and branding. Our "F" is an upward moving arrow, and our tag line-Moving Business Forward-reflects the input we received from our private, public and nonprofit sector members. I'm very comfortable that we followed an affordable, structured and locally-driven process to update our members.




F up?


Girl Political, you are absolutely right. The Clustered Spires logo is perfect and doesn't need changing. I am more loyal to it now knowing the history behind the woman who designed it. Thanks for sharing.


This should 100% have been a community project! No question about it!


To me what makes Frederick Great is that local residents have the knowledge, skills and experience to present the city in its best light. To go far out of town to have an expensive design firm prepare a logo that none of us recognize as related to our town was a mistake. At $45,000.00 that is not a small mistake. The city should have enabled artists and designers who actually live in Frederick to bid on the project. I agree with Ellen Byrne that, regardless of the piecemeal explanation of the components of the logo, the end result looks "foreign" and appears to belong to Southwestern United States and not Frederick. Please get a refund and start over.


for those who say someone local could have done the design, there was a bid put out and this company won it. Not sure how many local companies applied for it.


How many even knew?


This is what happens when you put democrats in charge! Careless handling of our tax dollars and when we as tax paying citizens express our displeasure with not just the design but even just the idea of giving a company from Florida 45 grand to do it, the mayor has the nerve to have a my way or the highway attitude! No way! I would’ve rather given that money to hard working illegal aliens trying to become citizens! Another L in the books for the Democrats of Frederick!


Oh puhleeze, Johndoe1. After what Trump has done to the national debt you sound petty.


If you'd like to see the actual numbers per year for the national debt, and an explanation of what was happening during that time, go to the following:

then decide.


It seems that city residents could have been "treated" much better and that their "journey" in this process could have been much improved. Based solely on the comments I've read, it sounds like very few people knew this was going on. So the City could have started with announcing the initiative. This also gives them the opportunity to "sell" the idea of branding and why we feel it is critical to future success. There could have been updates posted about the progress of the project. They may have even shown a sampling of potential logos. I do agree with North Star that it should not have been put up to a public vote. No one wins those. But they also could have said that the final logo will be chosen by graphic artists and economic development professionals. And even if the winning bid for the re-brand (which includes more than just a logo) came from a Florida company, the final approval could have included local artists. What we got instead was a lackluster reveal of a difficult to interpret southwestern-style logo with a late explanation. The mayor's dismissive response is especially troubling.


This design screams "do-over". A design competition managed by FCPS would achieve a better result and a nominal dollar award would sure cost us a lot less.




Also rethinking my vote for Mayor. So tone deaf to spend $45k. Either use local artists, or even have the high school art departments compete. The fact that it's stupid looking is secondary to me - it's the lack of fiscal discipline that bother me


The left side is obviously a stylized representation of the designer chuckling about having put one over on the city administration.


Glen, don't blame that on the left, moist of the left feels this was wrong, except for the Mayor and the aldermen.


Uh...excuse me, Dick....I was talking about the left side of the logo, which kinda looks like a goose (or duck) head honking (or quacking) derisively.


I agree that outsourcing this logo was a huge faux pas, and the result is obvious--no Frederick designer (and we have so much talent in that field here) would produce something as inane as this logo.


This constitutes mismanagement in my opinion. It it right up there with the criminal retirement buyout from years ago.


This was an absolute waste of $45,000. They have nothing better to do with money then you pay for a company to draw a 3 colored letter f? A city employee could have easily designed a logo.


Looks like a twisted bow and arrow!


1. Why did we outsource this design when Frederick, who touts itself as an art-loving and inspiring city, has plenty of local artists to commission? 2. It's not good. At all.




Has Prince risen from the dead?


Yep. The city got rolled by Northstar to the tune of $45K. Think about that when you start writing your property tax checks this fall.


I may be completely off-base, but Mullins' comments are telling. The word "diverse" as describing this design has nothing to do with the "nature" descriptions of the colors (as stated as an attachment to the main article). The colors are symbolic of the "rainbow" used for the gay movement. Since Frederick has hosted that "Pride" parade in recent years and makes a big deal of welcoming and supposed tolerance of gays, I tend to think that this new symbol is a thinly-disguised "welcoming" project for "diversity" in people - gays, migrants, "whatever." There are specific cities that encourage gays and they are not necessarily the cities that one thinks of; e.g., San Francisco. Indianapolis is one such city. Just from my general reading, this is the case besides local officials promoting this idealogy. That being said, $45,000.00 is ridiculous. There are so many issues in Frederick where services are sorely lacking. One of which is help for people with life-threatening diseases and the disabled. There are no funds available for specific needs. I know this because of my adult daughter's medical problem, of which she is dying.


I think this is the most absurd thing that has ever been done in Frederick!!! A beautiful, charming city does not deserve this embarrassment of a logo nor the expense of the design. Moronic!!!


It's just plain stupid.


Brilliant decision making, I would use this as the central plank in my reelection platform.


FNP should post both logos side-by-side and have a survey seeing which ones the readers prefer.


Yes, yes, yes! Great idea! Put up both the old and new logos... a picture is worth a thousand words - everyone should be able to see...side-by-side...the disparity of the two.


Interesting... As a former Frederick City resident, and still living in Frederick County, this whole process / result is peculiar. 1. Frederick is always touting itself as an outstanding Art Community. 2. You mean the Mayor couldn't find one local Artist or group to give $45,000. to to design a "logo" instead of sending it to Florida?? 3. There's seems to have been a lot of secrecy and misdirection going on. 4. The "official" comment about "diluting the value of the Frederick Seal" smells like B.S. Maryland still uses the State Seal and it seems to have held up quite well and is easily recognizable - the new Frederick logo is rather pedestrian and easily forgettable. Will the taxpayers be paying for printed guides to hand out so visitors will know what it means??


Good grief. This looks like something you’d see on the door of a funeral home. Or a drug clinic. Just for the record, I am a left of center moderate politically, and I don’t see this as any political statement whatsoever, it’s just incredibly less than mediocre as a symbol for this town.


The font is ugly. The colors are jarring. It has no readily apparent meaning. The motto has no connection to anything. This could be anywhere - especially anywhere with absolutely nothing special to offer. We could have had a contest with a $1000 prize, let a committee vote, and come up with something much better. Please don't throw good money after bad and put this on anything. The existing seal and "Frederick" script is way more attractive. The seal shows the clustered spires, which a) connects Frederick to history b) connects Frederick to literature c) connects Frederick to the civil war d) connects Frederick to architecture. e) actually shows Frederick. The old font is fantastic - it evokes history, but is still lively and beautiful.


It must be a generational thing. I sure don't get it, but maybe millennials and Gen Z do? I didn't see the lower case "f" at all until I read the explanation. With the colors and design I saw something that looked like it came from the southwest and that someone sneaked a lower case "j" into the design. I didn't get the "f" because of the breaks in the design. As far as colors, why not use the colors of the Maryland flag? I had to laugh when I read in the article "...Despite the negative reviews, the city stands behind the $45,000 design by North Star, a Jacksonville, Florida-based design firm, said city spokeswoman Patti Mullins said. While Mullins agreed that public input is important, she argued that the idea of choosing a single design by popular vote was “never a workable option” for city officials...." Of course they stand behind it otherwise they admit they wasted $45,000 (plus as sevenstones1000 mentioned, the additional costs replacing/repainting everything that has the old logo) that could have gone to feeding children, protecting the environment, replacing any aging EMS equipment, etc. Just think of all the ink that will go into printing a black background. The "Join the Story" almost seems to be an afterthought. It certainly doesn't stand out with its location, size and color. Each time I look at it, my eyes are eventually drawn to the huge black void. Maybe that is the subliminal message they are trying to get across about where the tax dollars go.


Millennial here. Nope, it’s objectively terrible. We have so many talented local artists and graphic designers that could have done a better job.


Whattttt???? I am rethinking my vote for the new mayor. The previous mayor would not have allowed this crap.


Very first year. Very immature. Very lack of vision. Very overpriced. Stock logos can have more substance. But that’s not really the central issue for me: With all their local rhetoric, local business support, local, local, local. The presiding democrat government chooses to travel to, how many states to spend our treasury capital on a high school project? We can overlook the stunted use of typography used for Frederick. We can get the "Beer Bottle" brand look. We can get the laughable, and wholly dated the tag: "Join the story”. Really? Sure it’s not “Join the Party” What can not be overlooked is the cynicism this "Brand" represents. This explained logo tells us what the democrat thinks of Frederick and Maryland: There are no local talents, in Frederick, Baltimore or any other part of our Free State. No one here simply doesn’t have the talent to create a comprehensive, inspirational and substantive "Brand”, built more for articulate endurance, and less for “party cool”. Any graphic design professional with their billable, knows the brand work of Rand. Rand wrote that a logo could not communicate every aspect of the entity the logo is meant to represent. The logo represents the idea of that entity, and as the entities strengths grow, the logo begins to radiate that entities character of meaning. It is up to the place, or service - not the logo to define the substance of that brand-identity mark. /// I for one can appreciate the need to ditch the current scroll font, and those annoying outlet style way-finding signage for Frederick. Creating an identity that grows with Frederick, extolls its virtues. Modern is substance of character. History, as Frederick has proven vividly - can be removed. Very much like this logo. Shelf life? Two years upon adoption. Or until the next buddy recommends his friends shop.

Crusty Frederick Man 64

I think it would be great if someone went to the Mayor and Board meeting tonight and read all these comments at the public comment part of the meeting.


Nothing is to good for the Taxpayer!? what a waste of tax dollars think of all the good that money could have been used for


Ridiculous logo. Absolutely ridiculous.


Why did we have to get a designer from outside of Frederick? We are a city with a lot of designers. This is unbelievably ugly. It needs to be explained before you can understand it! What is the sense in that?


At first glance I thought it was some kind of religious symbol. After reading the explanation my reactions was, What? It still reminds me of some kind of religious symbol.


When is the next city election?? We need all new BOA including a new mayor in city hall. Is a Lego for Frederick city even need??????????


BOA had little, if any, input


You need? I am quite happy with our Alders and Mayor. Tell me why I should want change so early?


You are right, Gary. You don't judge anyone on one specific incident, even if this one was ridiculous.


Thanks Dick. I like a mature view.


Can't explain how disappointed I am that this new City logo surprisingly popped up on the front page of the newspaper today. What in the world does this "logo" say about America's beautiful, historic Frederick??? Frederick is FULL of amazing history and this - in no way - shares an inkling of that. We have amazing local artists...there could have been a local contest...there could have been public voting from Frederick City (and even County) residents! To hire some outside group at to come up with this strange, substandard representation (with evidently no serious input from the community) and then have it approved for official use is... well... disheartening and very sad!


Oh right, the design company said “Don’t get any public input on this....”. What a surprise. This is terrible. Looks like a child’s fidget spinner.


It's atrocious. Ugly. And a headscratcher. Your first thought is: what on earth does it represent? A logo needs to be immediately recognizable picking up on some obvious local scene or character. A competent designer would have started with then clustered spires as their theme since they are the most celebrated representation of the city going back at least to the mid-19th century poem. And what does 'Join the story' mean? What story? How do you join a story? Interesting that this was an initiative of the City's Department of Economic Development -- the people who have spent ten years now messing around with the Downtown Hotel boondoggle, achieving nothing more than a procurement scandal. Let the DED have this F-logo to themselves while the rest of the City sticks with the spires.


Again with the hotel?


Yep, the boondoggle of the unnecessary hotel, and its undersized parking deck / foundation.


Undersized and late because of opposition and a smaller budget.


The previous one was awesome. The circle with the spires, city of frederick on the top and founded in 1745 on the bottom. Now we get a colorful lower case f. The tax payers got a capital F YOU in the amount of 45k. Maybe someone should look into this company and see if they tied to someone at city hall?


Agreed rbt. The previous logo shouted "Frederick " from the rooftops (or spires in this case).


No need to replace an older version. We can have room for both.


Was this a reject from that company's earlier attempt for another town fro the desert southwest?




It seems like city hall followed North Stars Top 10 Branding Place Blunders.


So funny. North Star violated its own guidelines. Lame.


I didn't see anything about how much was spent on having this created. Did I miss it?


Fifth paragraph; "Despite the negative reviews, the city stands behind the $45,000 design by North Star, a Jacksonville, Florida-based design firm, said city spokeswoman Patti Mullins said."




Yes, but they have to redo all the plaques and stationery and shirts and vehicles and anything that has the old logo on it. Millions.


The major fail is that there are many talented artists in the city and county who could have designed a logo that better reflects the city.


There are online logo maker that do better, faster, free.


I know I'm not adding anything new to the conversation, but I agree with everyone else. What the heck were they thinking? Outside company? So much money? And the colors don't even go together! Whyyyyy? We need an adult, I swear, to slap some hands and go "No" when they want to do crap like this.


It should read, Frederick: "Same Old Story"


When in doubt, farm it out! We could have gotten a better price if we shopped that task to India and gotten the same disconnected result. Blue for the sky and Carroll Creek? The creek is brown. Blue does not inspire me to think about the creek. Green? Like the green in the city being torn asunder to make way for sprawl. Yellow for all the dog urine along the city sidewalks. Red for the streams of blood the fire department had to hose off the sidewalk along Market St. a few weeks ago. The lower case ‘f’ says not important, and insignificant. “Join the story” should read “Dodge the dog poop” That’s the homage to different aspects of the City’s character I see.


An Image Search in Google shows the logo to be very contemporary and more like the art of Mexico which many see as "Southwestern." It is both elegant and spare with little extra lines. The colors are strong and I do like it. But there is an active segment that disapproves of government spending and in view of the history that is a reasoned way to go. But we have to remember that not all spending is bad. Some spending is productive and some is not. We are to elect our best people to do this work and it is somewhat unfair to be so dismissive of their decisions. And all views should be welcomed. How else can we decide?


Please tell us how this travesty is productive? Two stylized Longhorns cattle hornf forming a lowercase "f", and Hopi or Zuni hieroglyphs? If Frederick was in the desert southwest, maybe. What is wrong with the current logo? Change for change sake is not a good use of taxpayer funding.


Looks to me like a badly designed bow and arrow.


There was NOTHING wrong with the logo we had. $45,000 would have gone a long way to feed people, obtain low income housing, etc. Someone has a huge ego problem. By the way, I hate it.


The logo is horrible and the Mayor's dismissive attitude is even worse. $45,000 is just the beginning, next comes all the money spent to advertise this monstrosity. There is a Mayor & Board meeting tonight at the Annex at 7.00, let them know what you think about this - Hayden.


I agree we should go there in numbers if people really understand the bigger picture to this mistake! Did they even shop around frederick or even think about giving the business to a frederick business?


I just read the " Explaining the city's new logo." Would someone please tell me how anyone is supposed to know this interpretation of such a ridiculous design without reading it?


It should have been done by someone local. And it's awful. I would be embarrassed if I were any part of this.


really? that is the best they could come up with? What a waste of money


"You can’t have the community design a graphic.” This is precisely the type of project were government should seek to solicit the talents of the community. If you have "50 to 100 ways" to pursue the creation of a logo for the city and none of them involve city residents, there's a problem. If you're going to spend someone's yearly salary on a horrendous logo, why not involve our 1st graders? Better yet, a clip art competition. No, maybe a blindfolded Wine and Paint event. Surely the results would be similar.


I also thought that statement was ludicrous. How did North Star get the job? I am sure there a graphic artists in the city that would have designed a logo at no charge, just getting the credit for the design and getting their name an work out there. This seems to be a slap in the face for those people in the city with talent enough to have done this job.


Very good!


Eighth graders could come up with better logo ideas!


Agree. And they would have been thrilled by recognition and their picture in the paper. A fifteen hundred dollar scholarship would have been enough.


Talk about overthinking a project - good lord !! My first thought also was why do we have a southwestern logo. Frederick's art colony is well known and should have done this project if indeed it was necessary at all. What a slap in the face to us all.


Now the Mayor can brand his reelection campaign, a big O, for zero! This is what happens when economic development and downtown partnership are involved, more cost for little gain, and citizens are unhappy.


I have no idea what this is supposed to represent? This looks like something a 6th grader would do for art class. And correct me if I'm wrong, isn't part of Frederick's identity the art community? Hello! Delaplaine Art Center! Why are we accepting a bid from a company in Jacksonville FL? What do they know about our community?


I'm sure they learned all the history and culture of the city those couple days in October.


So Frederick’s new tagline is Join the Story? What does that mean? Did the city go through a process to develop the tagline and then ask the designer to express it in a new logo? That’s what should have happened. And now the city should be launching a campaign of some kind to explain what this tagline means. Unfortunately the whole thing feels a little random at this point.


It's hideous.


I couldn't agree more, Dick. What's wrong with the defacto logo already in use? I guess Frederick must be flush with cash if they can through money around like this.


There are many talented people in Frederick. What the City should have done is have a contest and then picked the best design. It would have been cheaper, better and got more support.




Why would Frederick go out of the City to find someone to do the logo when Frederick is home to so many tech companies? I don't live in Frederick but love the City.


Lots of fluff and stuff from the mayor's office. In my view it was a mayor thing and that's it. I thought we were finished with the "it's my way or the highway" type of dictatorship in the city. Obviously not.


This Along with $10K spent on moving statues and you see why I’m against the city being a partner on a hotel


More evidence City Officials are living in another world above the people for whom elected them. Elitist mindset. Money could have been better spent.

Crusty Frederick Man 64

That logo is as hideous as the dinosaur mural on the parking deck and neither represent Frederick ! And if you think that is bad go on line and look at the new marquee the HPC approved last week for the Weinberg Center.


IT SUCKS!!! And the BS from O’Connor is nothing more than a feeble attempt to try to justify doing something that neither needed to be done, nor should have been done. "...the process that the city followed was itself a recommendation from North Star." Sure, they're the only ones who benefited from this absurd "brainstorm." What a joke!


This logo is terrible and for $45K?? Whomever authorized and thought this was the best use of that money should no longer be in their roll. All the company did was take Google’s logo and “frederick’ized” it. Terrible.


Here we have some $45,000.00 worth of stupid. Maybe some folks need be replaced.




They sure do


Did the city of Frederick move to New Mexico and become and Indian Tribe ? That's what the logo is making me think.




underwhelming ...


I'm sure a competition sponsored by the city for citizens could have developed a logo much more meaningful and eye catching! What a waste of taxpayer money for an absolutely horrible product.




The FNP could have run the competition and a poll to choose the most popular design.


45000 for the new much more for the stationary, public works vehicles etc etc to be changed over to the new logo?

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