Wake County

Raleigh has a new logo that cost six figures. What do you think?

After a nearly year-long discussion process, city staff unveiled a new logo for Raleigh Wednesday afternoon, which the city council approved on the spot.

Raleigh’s city government didn’t have a logo to speak of before Wednesday. The city often used its official seal – a stylized oak tree surrounded by a garland of oak leaves – for all official city branding, in addition to an eclectic mix of program-specific logos.

Those images sometimes didn’t even resemble one another or use the same “visual language,” Raleigh communications director Damien Graham said Wednesday.

“We’ve butchered the seal and abused it,” Graham said. “It’s lost leaves, gained leaves, and frankly, we’ve been disrespecting this seal for a long time. Our goal is to preserve it and use it in capacities it’s designed for, in official capacities.”

The new logo also leans on the city’s tree motif, using a palette of greens and yellows. It mixes rounded and blocky shapes, evoking both organic and digital themes that appear to represent the confluence of the city’s high-tech industries and forested parks and streets.

The council also approved a mission and vision statement developed in conjunction with the new logo, as well as two fonts meant to be used across the city’s branding. Graham said the new materials would emphasize the city’s role as an enthusiastic service provider and focus on sustainability.

Raleigh contracted with two firms to complete the branding process. The city paid Oklahoma-based consultants Cubic $83,000 to take care of outreach and studies compiling resident and employee perceptions of Raleigh government. Local design firm The Assembly was paid $143,000 and tasked with developing the branding and logo itself, using Cubic’s research.

Council members were unanimous in their praise of both the process and the result.

“I want to thank you for not being afraid of the fundamental strength of our oak tree and embracing it in this logo,” Councilman Russ Stephenson said.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan