I do not think the city needs to rebrand at all (and I am not a fan of the current logo), but if it is done, it needs to be done with at least the appearance of transparency and inclusion, rather than as a means of affirming historic exclusion. This is a post script to this letter.
The proposed “refresh” of the visual identity differs enough from the old logo that it requires both the financial costs of replacing all previous iterations of the it as well as, and more importantly, the social costs of achieving broad public recognition. Additionally, actively adopting a new logo of a sailboat, rather than passively continuing on with the status quo of sailboats, affirms that Minneapolis government chooses to embrace its identity as whatever the sailboat might represent. To me, as well as a majority of the few dozen people I chatted with, this is a city that wants to be a country club/exclusive/ignore its residents of color.
It’s one thing to save money by sticking with a logo design, which I certainly understand. It’s quite another to put the weight of the city behind rolling out a new design that still tells the story only of a small portion of the people. That comes across as much more purposeful/intentional omission, rather than accidental or historical (but perhaps no longer relevant).
I also did not point this out in my letter because I see it as secondary to the identity issues raised, but the proposed logo is not well executed technically, at least in the version that appeared in the city’s online materials and in the news two weeks ago. As a colleague of mine noted, the tittles (dots) on the “i”s are off-center–they skew slightly to the left. It appears to have happened because the round dots replace the square dots that are in the font originally. The font is FF Din and is used in its original form with square tittles in the logos of the Minneapolis City Convention Center and minneapolis.org.
While an expensive rebranding might not be the right answer for Minneapolis right now, I certainly think that this particular rebranding comes with high social and financial costs. If Minneapolis needs to rebrand, it needs to do it right and in a manner befitting the city. What has been proposed is an embarrassment on many levels. If and when we choose to rebrand, it should be taken seriously and done with care and input.