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Edinburgh rebrand

By The Drum, Administrator

June 2, 2005 | 6 min read

Rob Morrice, chief executive, Citigate Smarts

I’ve read a bit of the usual negative press, which tends to surround initiatives like this and the truth is I’m sick of the whingers. Why shouldn’t Interbrand get the job – after all they are experts and they won it in a fair fight. Who cares if they don’t come from Edinburgh? Not me and certainly not the vast majority of the target audience. The strapline is very good (I wish I wrote it) and I like the logo. It’s simple, classic and will stand the test of time – unlike some other location marketing monstrosities I’ve seen recently. As for the quoted fee, it includes massive application costs. Edinburgh is a big city after all and you have to embrace an initiative like this wholeheartedly. If you strip away these, the core fee is probably what you’d expect for a job of this size. PS Citigate Smarts recently won a big project to rebrand Middlesborough and the people there welcomed us with open arms.

Richard Bissland, director, 999 Design

‘Auld Reekies new logo reeks a bit of the ‘Emperors new Clothes’. Inspiring Capital [undoubtedly] with new uninspiring brand. It’s a bit disappointing. I really hoped it would be a knockout. What is that graphic device on top of ‘Edinburgh’ representative of? Hills? Fireworks? A back-scratcher? It had to be relatively simple to meet the demands of all the various applications but this looks like something the Mac has sicked up. I wish I’d heard the creative rationale for this baby. It must have been good. My real sympathies lie with the excellent creatives that live and work in the capital. They must be really flattered that Edinburgh Council doesn’t believe they have the nous, skill and talent to create branding of this quality. And at £800,000.00 a pop. Wow! There must be more to it than this. That level of investment in an Edinburgh consultancies work would probably have employed a few people and given a big boost to the local design economy.

Graham Scott, director, Nevis

Another poisoned chalice! Projects such as this are always difficult to be totally objective about. Obviously it would be easy to shoot it down in flames – Yes a Scottish or an Edinburgh design company could have done as good a job if not better, mind you so could a Canadian one or a Costa Rican one etc. etc. The problem is Edinburgh is a far more vibrant city than it was 10-15 years ago: it has always been inspiring but not always vibrant. Also we are being asked to judge the marque in isolation, to see its application would be more interesting and lets just hope it is inspiring.

Andrew Lindsay, creative director, The Union

It’s all very subjective but it looks like the designer had a breakthrough during a trip to MacDonald’s. What does disappoint me though is that the design community in Scotland appears not to be seen as to be up to the job. For me the budget would have been better lining a Scottish pocket... The outcome would no doubt have been just as hotly debated.

David Reid, managing director, 1576

Personally I like the design and find it refreshingly modern and untraditional. It would have been far too hackneyed and dull to go with a cliched skyline image of the city as has been suggested by many here in Edinburgh. It will be interesting to see how the branding is used in an advertising context.

Iain Hawk, Partner, 60W

A logo is a logo, a stamp of identity – a signature even. It is the signature that sums up the message and, even if the logo is not inspiring or inspired in itself, it will (hopefully) be supported by images, products and services that are in themselves inspiring. The resulting communication should be capable of inspiring people around the world.

Whether this particular logo/strapline has the power to inspire the citizens of Edinburgh, only time will tell. But it starts from a position of mediocrity. I’m convinced there are plenty of Scottish companies capable of acquitting themselves better than this. But the choice was the client’s and they chose from the best London could offer. They also, presumably, chose the resulting design.

Although the design company will get most of the flack, it is the client who is largely at fault. At the end of the day any blame for being less than inspiring must rest squarely on his/her shoulders.

Victor Brierley, client services director, Citigate Smarts Design

Inspiring capital? Absolutely appaling. What’s inspiring about it? Can you imagine Barcelona, Berlin, Prague or even any of the much lesser, second-string euro cities coming up with something that bad? It makes “Glasgow Scotland with Style” look like a work of genius.

James Young, managing director, D8

Maybe I’m just a child of Thatcher but any time I see the word capital (lower or upper case c) I think of lot’s of fat men rubbing money all over themselves. Adding the word Edinburgh does alter the picture slightly in that they are drinking whisky instead of port but that’s about it. I utterly fail to understand who or what this is meant to appeal to. I really wish one city somewhere would have the balls to show a sense of humour by going with ‘Edinburgh – slogans are for losers.’ In summary, it’s rubbish but it’s still better than Prestwick Airport’s.

Nick Ramshaw, chief executive, Elmwood Scotland

“Firstly I have to admit to a vested interest as Elmwood has just been appointed to prepare the implementation plan for the new brand, but here goes .... a new city region brand is definitely a good idea and, done well, will help to bring all manner of benefits to Edinburgh. From what I have seen, the consultation process seems to have been very thorough and the thinking behind the “Inspiring Capital” brand looks very good. As usual, those that have criticised the brand have done so in response to a single representation of the logo and topline report of the money spent, rather than a full understanding of the brand and its positioning. Its success will ultimately depend on the levels of investment backing it and the way the brand is brought to life over the next 2 to 3 years.”


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