When designers accepted the challenge of creating a new logo for the city of Delaware, they had plenty to work with.
That might explain why the city has used so many logos throughout the years: a depiction of City Hall, a silhouette of downtown, a horse and sulky, and a letter “D” that incorporates a wheel and spokes, affectionately known as the “wheelie-D” by city officials, among others.
Cathy Fromet, of Cleveland-based Studio Graphique, told Delaware City Council on Feb. 24 that the city represented many things to many people, leading designers away from one dominant image, such as a wheel, for the logo.
“You have a lot ... of visual assets, and not one specific asset (that) said Delaware,” Fromet said at council’s Feb. 24 meeting.
With input from city residents and officials, Studio Graphique designed a proposed logo that features only lines and letters.
The words City of, in dark blue, are bounded by horizontal, brick-red lines to the right and left and sit atop the word Delaware in a larger font. Below Delaware sits Ohio, bookended by wavy brick-red lines meant to evoke the architecture of the city’s historic downtown.
Fromet said the logo matched Delaware’s many characteristics, which are sometimes a bit contradictory.
“We were looking for something that felt established and solid – a little bit historic, but not old,” she said.
In addition to the logo, the studio designed “traditions badges” that can be used to promote individual aspects of the city such as Ohio Wesleyan University, the Little Brown Jug and the historic downtown. Fromet said those badges, complete with stylized drawings, could be used on signs, banners and even lapel pins.
“We came up with a few to start, just to express the idea,” she said. “This is actually meant to be something that can expand over time because your city changes and grows.”
The city also has a badge with a block “D” that can serve as an alternate logo.
City Council members’ reaction to the new logo was largely positive.
Councilman Chris Jones said he preferred the redesigned Delaware logo to the logos of other cities in the area.
“Ours stands out as old and traditional, but also modern,” he said.
Councilman Kent Shafer said the logo had “a real clean, professional look.”
Councilman Joe DiGenova said he still liked the “wheelie-D” logo, but added, “The more I look at (the new logo), the more I like it.”
David Efland, the city’s planning and community development director, said discussions of the new logo began last summer as the city began a wayfinding and rebranding project. He said the varied audiences the logo and other elements of the city’s “brand” needed to appeal to led to an involved and lengthy research and design process.
“It’s a little different than trying to brand Alka-Seltzer or a Nike shoe,” he said. “We’re much more complicated than that.”
The wayfinding aspect of the project is intended to improve signs throughout the city and help visitors and residents find parking and destinations in Delaware.
City spokesman Lee Yoakum said the total cost of the project was expected to be about $30,000. About $10,000 of that expenditure would go toward the logo and other rebranding efforts.
Efland said he needed council to approve the new logo and branding before the city started working on the wayfinding aspect of the project again. He said he hoped to start implementing the project’s proposed changes in the fall.
Council is set to discuss the logo and the branding plan again at its March 10 meeting.