Say So Long To Our City Logo – What About Our City of Homes?

Thanks to Mike McCorkle*

For some time now I have felt that Bellaire has an image problem, especially after the Harvey floods. Now I realize that the problem began much earlier, when we lost our City logo and our City motto, which was reflected in our logo. We no longer have a gateway sign on Bellaire Blvd, either.

They are going or gone from Bellaire, leaving us with little  sense of a special place to live. I decided to send an email to the Mayor and members of Bellaire City Council to verify what has occurred.

Only Mayor Friedberg took the time to reply, and at his suggestion two members of City staff responded, not a word from the other six Council members.  Notice the lack of common courtesy in City Manager Hofmann’s reply, the last piece of correspondence:

From: Jane McNeel
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2018 5:39 PM
To: Members of City Council
Subject: The Bellaire Seal/Logo

Dear Council Member,

Our City seal has been removed from numerous City vehicles and now from most of our printed matter.

Would you please advise if you approved the removal of this Bellaire symbol?  If so, please advise when and how.

If not, please advise who made the decision to do so, and on whose authority.

Thank you,

Jane McNeel


Hi Jane,

No, the old city logo has not been removed from existing vehicles and printed matter.  What you’re seeing, and as was presented and discussed extensively, is that the new visual identity approved by Council is being implemented only as items are replaced in the ordinary course.  I’m copying Paul and Cheryl who can confirm that, as well as answer any other questions you may have.

The City Council voted unanimously on March 5, 2018 to adopt the new typography and verbal identity, not including the use of a logo.  Also, on May 3 the City Council received an update on the vehicle decal for new vehicles that were on order at that time, and which you’re now seeing out on the roads.

Thanks and best regards,

Andrew

Andrew S. Friedberg
Mayor
City of Bellaire
7008 S. Rice Ave. | Bellaire, TX  77401
(713) 662-8222 | Fax:  (713) 662-8212
afriedberg@bellairetx.gov


On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 5:26:25 PM CDT, Cheryl Bright <cbright@bellairetx.gov> wrote:

Ms. McNeel,

In answer to your question concerning the logo, I have put together a background summary of how we came to the implementation of the adopted typography and verbal identity.

This information below was taken directly from the March 5, 2018 City Council Minutes:

Cheryl Bright, Administrative Services Manager, introduced the agenda item to members of the Council.  She stated that the City of Bellaire entered into a contract with Design by Principle in April of 2017 to evaluate and articulate the City’s sense of identity for both visual and verbal perspectives.  The resulting brand identity package was presented to City Council for review on January 22, 2018, with three elements as follows:  the verbal identity, the typography, and iconography (logo).  On February 19, 2018, City Council came to a consensus to consider only the typography and verbal identity this evening.

Depending on the outcome this evening, Administrative Services Manager Bright advised that the City would plan to use the typography and verbal elements to help the City to create a brand identity implementation plan.

Motion:

To formally adopt (1) the verbal identity produced by the branding exercise, and (2) the recommended typography system for the City including for signage in the new municipal buildings.

Adopted Unanimously.

From this council direction, I have been working to develop a brand identity implementation plan that incorporates the usage of the font, color and verbal identity.  Please see the presentation attached for examples of how this has been and will be implemented in the future.  This includes vehicle decals, staff uniforms, stationery, business cards and more.  It was explained that while we will not be utilizing the existing logo in the future, we were not removing it until there was a need to replace an item such as a vehicle decal or a piece of stationery.  For example, the existing logo will remain tiled in the floor of the lobby of the Recreation Center, on manhole covers and in many other locations throughout the city until there is a need for replacement.

I have also attached the memo to City Council that outlines an implementation strategy and the presentation from the March 5, 2018 City Council meeting.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Have a good evening.

Cheryl Bright
Community Relations Administrator
City Manager’s Office

Ms. Bright’s Memo and graphics:   Brand Identity Memo to Council (5)


 

This is a very sad end to another part of Bellaire’s history, Cheryl.  It’s been coming for some time due to the decisions of members of City Council.

Our identity and our image as a City of Homes are gone, many of our residents feel abandoned and ignored, and along with many others they no longer enjoy the sense of living in a small town.

We will become just another Houston suburb.

Thank you,

Jane


Paul Hofmann <phofmann@bellairetx.gov>
To: Jane McNeel,Cheryl Bright
Cc: Andrew Friedberg

Ms. McNeel,

It’s not my place to suggest how people should feel.  I will suggest that there is no reason for Bellaire residents to feel abandoned and ignored.  There is much evidence that this City Council and the Bellaire staff don’t ignore Bellaire residents.  I witness every day the responsiveness and quality work of hard working city staff.  Every Council meeting provides evidence of just how much public input matters here.  Council Members are engaged and involved in the community.  City sponsored events are filled with families having a good time.

This community took a hard shot from Harvey, and yes with a lot of support and hard work from its local government, will recover completely and not lose its fundamental identity, which can never be simply wrapped up in a logo.

For whatever it’s worth, I regret that you and others feel sad.  My staff and I will continue to consistently and responsibly do our jobs, respond to questions and concerns, and happily follow Council’s direction.  I’ll also be an advocate for how wonderful Bellaire is, and appreciate the good value Bellaire residents get for their tax dollar, because it’s the truth.

Paul Hofmann


*photo courtesy of Michael McCorkle, Life and Times Around Bellaire, Texas 1909 – 2013, copyright 2013, mmcork@hal-pc.org

One more thing – remember that $50,000 leaf logo from Mr. Hofmann’s chosen design team?  Check out Google images b with a leaf logo
Of course we have our extraordinary green font.

Email City Council in care of Tracy Dutton, our City Clerk, at tdutton@bellairetx.gov