The consultant working on Huntsville’s new community brand revealed what it had come up with at the July 25 general committee meeting.
William Ferguson representing TWG Communications said they were tasked with the development of a new visual identity for the Town of Huntsville—a new community brand designed “to enhance and unify the public expression and the spirit of community while coexisting with the current municipal branding.”
The new brand would be used on wayfinding signage, for tourism purposes, economic development as well as things like citizen and investment attraction and retention.
The consultants, with input from stakeholders and members of the public, heard that the brand must convey a sense of place for the Town of Huntsville and be seen as a progressive, forward-looking, diverse, inclusive, warm, and welcoming community.
“The natural elements of the area too would need to be visible: water, forests, the seasons. A subtle recognition of the prominence the District of Muskoka plays as part of Huntsville’s identity and perhaps a nod to Algonquin Park and its internationally iconic status,” were also some of the comments, said Ferguson. “We heard through community engagement that history and culture were important and stakeholders said they wanted this to be authentic, progressive, modern, clean, simple, and vibrant.”
He said the final brand speaks to all of that. Ferguson told council the choice of colour conveys the natural environment. He said the use of multiple vibrant colours speaks to diversity, inclusion, and culture.
He told council the font for the brand was specifically designed for Huntsville and the diamond background treatment within the lettering “adds for depth and texture and offers a sense of movement and progression. The diamond grid is inspired by the details of Huntsville’s iconic swing bridge with its prominent diamond railings and truss. The brand speaks to history, a deep connection to the natural environment, a sense of pride in having been influential in the creation of Muskoka—historically, culturally, and naturally,” Ferguson told council as he presented the completed brand and a variety of uses for the brand.
Councillor Tim Withey questioned why images hadn’t been used.
Ferguson said images can be added to the brand as part of the ability to use the brand in different applications.
Councillor Jonathan Wiebe said at first glance he found the brand “not quite distinct enough that you could get lost.” But he said after seeing it displayed on different backgrounds with other materials, “I think it’s really great,” he said and gave the brand a thumbs up.
Deputy Mayor Nancy Alcock said she had sat in on one of the working group sessions and didn’t know how the consultant would put it all together. Alcock said like Councillor Wiebe when she first saw the final brand she wasn’t entirely sure “but it’s really soft and speaks volumes. I really like it. Thank you,” she said.
Councillor Bob Stone said when he first saw it he had to “sit with it for a little while” and see it used in different applications. “But then after I sat with it for a while, thought about the different applications and all the different colours… I started to really, really like it,” he said. “I think, for something like this, in my opinion, this is the kind of thing that we really need 80 per cent of the public to get behind and it’s not necessarily a decision for the nine of us. I really want to hear from the public about this particular piece before we make a final decision on it,” said Stone, noting that community members will have a month to give their input before the brand goes before council for ratification.
Councillor Brian Thompson said he thought the logo was “a little busy,” but after seeing its application “I really like it.”
Councillor Dione Schumacher questioned whether the use of colour and shade was accessible and AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ) compliant. Ferguson said it is, and added that given the ability to use it in other applications “we’ve shown ways to make it very legible in different backgrounds and for different uses…”
Councillor Dan Armour referred to the brand as unique… and said he’s looking forward to its use on a black T-shirt, to chuckles. The consultant presented council with the image on a white T-shirt and other paraphenelia with the brand.
Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano asked the consultant whether they’d be going out to the community with the final product for input. Ferguson said consultation has already taken place but it would be up to council if it wanted to conduct further consultation. “At the end of the day, one thing about art, commercial or private, it’s subjective. Some people will like it, some people will not like it. Some people will be very vocal in favour of it, and vocal against [it.] That’s typically the way with these things,” said Ferguson. “The question is does it meet the brief? Are the majority of the folks who actually have to work with it day-to-day pleased with it? Do they think it’s a platform they can build on… But again, at the end of the day you can figure out what the right approach is for you, but I would suspect if you do that you’ll find a mix of opinions,” he added. “Thank you for your candor,” responded Terziano.
In a follow-up conversation with the Mayor, she said the cost of getting the consultants to design the brand was approximately $20,000.
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