1. Hi Chris, when I linked to this yesterday I remembered a story a musician once told me – that the Council agreed to fund their music video only if the Birmingham City Council appeared within it. Can you imagine? A music video being all funky then that logo appearing? They apparently had to decline the money and seek it elsewhere.

    Perhaps it’s more a problem of association and therefore the image of the Council itself. When I see that logo I think of my perceptions of the Council – a sluggish, slow bureaucracy with too much red tape that makes getting the simplest thing sorted feel like wading through custard (it took a year and a lot of effort on my part for them to sort a very mediocre Council Tax problem out for me).

    That logo arouses some negative feelings in me that I personally have about the Council, so when I see it associated with something else, my head may connect this negativity with that too.

    Not really sure what the answer is to that?

  2. I don’t have that much of an issue with the council tagging it’s logo onto events, just wish it was a bit nicer! However from a designers point of view it is something that happens often, you put together well considered layout and then struggle to fit the associated logos on without compromising the look.

    Does anyone know when the logo was created, looks quite 80’s to me. Could do with a rebrand, maybe with the marketing birmingham identity in mind.


  3. Ah yes, of course, I remember seeing that. If the inclusion of the logo on the video was a deal breaker then you have to wonder what the motive for funding would’ve been. Does reflected glory more important than the art itself?

    I’m not sure what I think about the whole logo thing yet. I think the easy conclusion is that the logo sits ok in some places ( for ‘establishment art’ like the Symphony Hall and BM&AG’ but is hugely inappropriate in others (like the music video).

    So yeah, what’s the answer? Well, the typical blogger’s solution would be for the council to have some sort of space of their own where they could talk about what they’ve been involved in, assisted, facilitated and so on. They could say what their input was and why they chose to support whatever it is.

  4. If their presence on marketing material was more than just a logo on a piece of paper it’d make a difference.

    Also, is there any flexibility in how the logo looks? Do they have b/w version? Does it have to always appear with the text?

  5. It wouldn’t turn me off an event now but that’s only because I understand the process that put it there and that it’s ultimately meaningless.

    A few years ago it might have done, though, if I was looking for something interesting and exciting. It’s sort of like your embarrassing dad approving of your music taste. The good thing about things like Urban Fusion is while they’re council initiatives there’s a perceptual barrier in place. BCC need to realise that their job is not to be exciting and cool – their job is to make the city work so exciting and cool things can happen here.

  6. What Antonio says.

    What we have is a one-size-fits-all approach, when the thing that would send a signal about creativity is a range of styles and a bit more sensitivity.

    The complaint is that one logo represents the bad as well as the good. The council reserve the right to plaster it over anything it touches. Pwned by the BCC! They are not about to rebrand, as that would be an unjustifiable expense (along with so many others). But a series of alternative logos would do a lot of good. I just hope none of them look like the 2012 Olympics thing…

  7. On an aesthetic point, I would rather the arrow pointed up – a sign of aspiration?

    On the issue of whether I would turned off an arts event if that logo was present, I look beyond the logo. I am dismayed that the logo promotes as festival where some people are paid for their work in performance and others are not. Who is to say that one musician’s twenty years of dedication and skill are worth more than another’s? Who decides which acts are to be chosen and to be paid or not paid? That is the real debate about the Council’s engagement with the arts.

    Having lit the blue touch paper, I am retiring to a safe distance.

  8. I know it’s nothing to do with the department involved with the arts, but when I see the city council logo, my main association is “oh yes, the people who over-billed us for council tax, sent threatening letters about county court judgements, referred us to a debt collector after we had paid, and have yet to refund me £150 paid in error.”

    Perhaps it’s these types of associations, rather than the idea that art with this logo on is somehow dull, that cause a negative reaction in me.

    Could they develop a sub-brand logo for their creative endeavours that wouldn’t be tarred with the same brush?

  9. Do we really need to plaster public institution logos over everything? It’s not hard to count 5, 6 or even 7 logos on the bottom of posters. LSC, AWM, BCC are the main culprits. They are not on for commercial gains, just annoyance and turn off factor. If it was a radio station sponsoring the event then yes, have it on.

    What’s next, events endorsed by Whitby himself with his photo on the bottom?

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