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Open Manifesto

A sensitive issue, right down to the letter.

A design report by A.A.
{22nd of July 2009}


Australians love to bash a new logo, or brand. Often a new design will enjoy a raft of public comments during a brand launch which include: that brands cost too much, we don’t like or understand the design, can’t public money be spent in better ways, designers are fat cats swanning around in black clothes, apartments and cafés.


The new City of Melbourne brand developed by the Sydney office of the global brand megatron Landor, (back in the old days—Andrew Lewis Design, Lewis Kahn, Lewis Kahn Staniford, LKS Landor) and depending what else is in the news, Landor is well in line for a good serve of brand bashing.


The speed of modern communications came into its own. In the case of this new brand—at 2.42pm today Katie Lahey from the Melbourne Age newspaper posted a piece on the new design, an article was posted at the Herald Sun as well. Within twenty minutes the first email came our way looking for comment. At 4.30pm I went into a client meeting. Ten or so emails relating to the big M later, an urgent call was logged from a colleague stating that Ms. Lahey would interested in my comment for The Age. [This was] at 5.52pm. I wasn’t out of my meeting until 6.15pm and spoke to Ms Lahey at 6.30pm, but I was too late to contribute a comment for the story as it was posted. Wow! News certainly travels fast and the brand bashing process is well under way.


It was interesting gauging the comments and compiling my own thoughts of the new City of Melbourne brand. After reading Ms. Lahey’s piece the opening paragraphs, in particular, caught my attention: “Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has unveiled a new logo for the city, which will replace the previous M and leaf symbol introduced in the early 1990s. Cr Doyle said the old logo was “a bit daggy” and Melbourne needed a new design to reflect its cool sophistication on the world stage.”


(The rest of this article is available, in print, in Open Manifesto #5)


Andrew Ashton founded Studio Pip and Co in 2003. His clients have included the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Paper, Chamber Music Australia, Computershare, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Moonlight Cinema and Spicers Paper.


Ashton is a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), Switzerland. Ashton’s graphic design work has received industry awards and recognition. He has served on numerous design awards panels in Australia and overseas.


Along with commercial projects, Ashton produces an array of studio publications and paper products. Ashton volunteers for a range of cultural and industry organisations, periodically teaches design, writes often, takes photographs and chases after his young family.