By now, you may have heard about the new logo for the city of Raleigh.  If you haven’t seen it, here it is.

The city spent a quarter of a million dollars on this thing – $83,000 on outreach and studies, and $143,000 on design and marketing itself.  Reactions have been mixed, with some people loving it and some hating it.  I’m neutral.  It seems fine to me – not brilliant, but not terrible.

I have rather stronger feelings, however, about the price tag.  $226,000 is a lot of money.  I know it’s only a drop in the bucket when you consider the entire City of Raleigh budget, but I’d still like to think the city is being careful with taxpayer money.  As the saying goes, “Mind the pennies, and the pounds (or dollars) will take care of themselves.”

I question this whole exercise.  It seems to me that the city missed an opportunity here.  We have high schools all across the city with art departments.  There are magnet programs in art and design.  And Meredith, NC State, St. Augustine’s, and Wake Tech all have art and design programs.  So why not, instead of spending all that money, hold a contest for high school students?  Or high school and college?  It would have given every art teacher in the city the opportunity to work with their students on a real life project.  It would have given students experience dealing with an actual client, an important skill for work-readiness.  And it would have given one winning team a pretty good line on college or job applications.

And it would have cost the city nothing.  Thats a win for taxpayers, a win for the city, a win for schools and teachers, and a win for students.

I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.  One local business is organizing a Citizen Logo Contest to come up with an alternative.  I guess, when you’re the city and you have lots of other people’s money to spend, it’s just easier to hire someone than to engage your community in creative ways.  What a shame.