Of the images conjured up during a city council work session on how to create a brand for Raleigh, the most memorable came from communications staff member Eric Bannister, a senior graphic designer.
Council members were hearing a presentation Tuesday from the Tulsa, Oklahoma, marketing firm Cubic
, which had spent weeks in Raleigh interviewing employees and officials as part of an effort to define Raleigh's essence for a new logo and mission statement to arrive in late June. During Cubic's display, Bannister was seen describing an ancient Apple computer, complete with floppy-disc drive. It's possible to get work done on one of those, Bannister told council members, but not quickly or easily.
"This computer is really, really slow," said Bannister.
He also displayed an image of a candle alongside a progression of technically advancing light bulbs. "At the end of the day, they all provide light,” he said.
The message seemed to be that the city contains multitudes of different eras, styles, workplaces, leisure spots, schools, and government institutions, some of which need to be brought up to date. The $83,000 study was designed to come up with a unified vision and to fix Raleigh's "logo problem," according to minutes of the January 3 council meeting.
Communications director Damien Graham noted that all city departments use different logos and images, including the city seal. The new brand is supposed to represent Raleigh as a government organization, not to portray the entire city.
Shawn Kruggel, director of creative strategy for Cubic, said the firm's interviews brought forth a number of different concepts of Raleigh, some competing. They included Raleigh’s presence as a "servant leader," the inside-/outside-the-Beltline contrast, the influence of New Raleighites, its role as state capital, and residents' desire to make sure growth takes place responsibly.
Cubic is completing its work on the project, which Graham called the development of a "narrative foundation," including the vision and mission statement. The steps of creating a visual/ graphical representation of that brand—including logo, style guide, and some marketing materials—will be handed off to the Raleigh company called the Assembly
, which bills itself as "a shared studio space and platform for independent creatives, located in Raleigh's warehouse district."
The Assembly, working under a $143,100 contract, will present its portion of the branding project to council members in late June.