Leggo my logo

Chapel Hill taxpayers authorized town manager Roger Stancil to spend money on designing a logo that has a specific color and font for the town to use on street signs and elsewhere. Yet when local stores want to put their logos, in color, on a street sign, some council members waffled or flat out refused. What’s up with that?

Council members, along with town staff and a dozen or so intrepid residents, stayed up well past midnight Monday to tease out the issues of the proposed change to the sign ordinance. We appreciate their diligence. Signs matter, not only to the health of businesses that feed our town coffers sales tax and property tax revenue, but to residents whose property taxes must make up any shortfall from other revenue sources and spend time and expensive gas to drive out of county to shop after local businesses throw in the towel.

In a budget update earlier in the evening, Stancil admitted that the economic downturn had outlasted his short-term fixes and it was time to “reset the service levels to match the revenue.” We can’t afford to alienate businesses, yet University Mall manager Peter Deleon told of problems recruiting new tenants without adequate signage.

Council members agreed (some grudgingly) that our commercial centers need more effective signs. The disagreement came over whether to allow stores to use their colored logos. For those, like Penny Rich, who don’t know what a logo is, it’s the way a business presents its brand. It includes name, typeface (also known as font) and color. All three work together to allow buyers to “consume” rather than “read” a business name. When Wal-Mart shifted its target market from budget-conscious working class shoppers to budget-conscious middle-class shoppers, it replaced its patriotic red, white and blue brand name, written in a John Hancock-signature style font, with sensible, block letters and a sun-yellow asterisk. The idea is that the asterisk will instantly call up in consumers’ minds everything good they feel about shopping at Walmart, just as the red bull’s eye does for Target.

Sally Greene nixed logos and would consider only the store name in a uniform font and color. Rich might allow some variation in font, but no color or icons, specifically objecting to Chick-fil-A, whose logo has a rooster comb over the C. Jim Ward, Gene Pease and Matt Czajkowski supported logos in color; Lauren Easthom and Donna Bell hedged on the color.

The hour was too late for town attorney Ralph Karpinos to craft new wording off the top of his head. But council members were close enough on agreement to passing a new ordinance that they told Peter Deleon he could place an order for a new sign at U-Mall.
– Nancy Oates

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
Next Post
Comments are closed.