Farewell, Frederick city logo, we hardly knew ye. And that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, we suspect that there are a lot more of you out there saying “good riddance.”
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor delivered the news of the death of this much-ridiculed city logo at a press conference Monday morning. There had been rumors late last week that the logo, designed by a Jacksonville, Florida, company, was going away. Yet at the same time, city leaders were still handing out fresh business cards and signing emails emblazoned with the new logo. Now, as the mayor said, they’ll be quickly recalling those business cards and anything else that might remind us of this marketing disaster for the town.
The short-lived logo featured a lowercase “f” and four colors, green, yellow, blue and red, which were meant to represent the city of Frederick’s history and character. But it didn’t represent much to anyone other than a $45,000 boondoggle and a process fraught with problems. The city didn’t need either.
“Based on the feedback we received, we are not going to use the logo component of our branding process,” O’Connor said at the presser. “We are taking it out of circulation and we are moving as fast as we can to pull back.”
We will give O’Connor some credit for taking the blame and reversing course. We’ve all seen instances over the years that other elected officials might not have been so quick to take the heat or, worse, would have been quick to pass the buck after the loud backlash from the community. So that’s good.
That caveat aside, the process surrounding Frederick’s logo has been a lesson in how government shouldn’t work. Change is never easy, but it’s almost impossible when the community isn’t given a significant voice in the process. Though city officials have said some were consulted, the outpouring of negativity says they must have been asking the wrong people. It would have been unwieldy to have a vote on a particular design, but it would have only made sense to host a public meeting or two to keep people abreast of the process. It also didn’t help that the company selected to design the logo wasn’t from around here.
Frankly, we’re still scratching our heads wondering how anyone in city government would have seen this turning out differently. The only possible answer we have is that no one thought it was going to matter. But when it comes to a city such as Frederick, it’s going to matter. A lot. A proud city has a sense of tradition and a sense of place, which means residents and business leaders are going to have strong ownership of something as visible as a logo.
If O’Connor and other elected officials have learned anything from all of this, it should be that community involvement should be top of mind and not an afterthought.