Following the release of the winning Auckland Super City logo last week, the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ), which was already fairly bitter about the whole crowd-sourced process, doesn't think it's too late to salvage some respectability, but only if the new Auckland Transition Agency engages a professional design agency to ensure it is developed as a “sophisticated, contemporary and effective” visual identity and subsequent brand for the city.
Sean McGarry, president of DINZ, the national organisation representing professional designers, says choosing a new Super City logo through a public competition was not a process DINZ had ever “envisaged or endorsed". But now the logo design has been announced, there's nothing it can really do about it, so the next crusade is to show how important it is to employ professional designers to translate the design into a more current and distinctive logo.
McGarry says visual identity and brand development was the result of complex strategy work and design iteration.
"Good design, while it might appear to be simple, is usually the result of a process of in-depth research, conceptual development and refinement and then implementation of the finalised design as a complete visual identity and branding programme.”
McGarry cites the example of the new Melbourne logo released in July, 2009, a stylized M which can be used in a number of colour ways and identity lock-ups depending on its application. The logo was designed by leading design and brand identity company, Landor, and was the result of a separate research process before the design work was even undertaken.
“It is dynamic, effective cutting edge design backed up by a robust design process," he says.
While dinz says the new Auckland Supercity logo had some distinctive features, such as the environmental and cultural themes of pohutakawa and koro, it also says the design was generic and influenced by 70’s modernist design, “definitely not contemporary and doesn’t make a strong statement about Auckland, its people and its future”.
There's also been some controversy over the logo's similarity to the Auckland Regional Parks logo, although the winner of the competition Jim Dean, claims innocence. Added to that, it also looks quite similar to the Wilford school logo.
You can check out some of the design community's mainly positive responses to the logo here.