One of the items recently approved by the St Augustine City Commission, was a new branding identity for the city. This is not the first time City Hall has felt the need to re-invent the logo used by the various offices of local government.
Anytime a business changes it’s brand logo, it can be an expensive proposition — sometimes expensive enough to stop it from moving forward. When Hugh McCall was buying up banks from his offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, creating his vision for NationsBank, he had the market cornered on blue acrylic necessary for his sign shops to re-brand all the merged banks under one logo. It wasn’t long before NationsBank merged with Bank of America and all the signs had to be replaced, yet again.
So, Historic City News readers will ask, why the need to reinvent the wheel? We had a city logo plastered all over town that was already paid for. In keeping with his attraction for shiny new things that he doesn’t have to pay for as well as a complete lack of oversight or accountability, City Manager John Regan informed the commission that this was a done deal.
No one in St Augustine will soon forget the thousands and thousands of tax dollars thrown away by the City Manager on four seperate occasions when he introduced another unnecessary version of the logo for the 450th Commemoration; none of which are in use today.
The recent branding approved is a combination of the familiar city seal accompanied by an identifier, “City of St. Augustine Est. 1565,” that adds a more contemporary look than the old-style lettering used in the past. From time to time the colors in the seal have been slightly altered when printed or used in presentations. With this new brand those colors have been standardized by identifying and using the seal’s original colors.
The seal, already well known to St. Augustine residents, was presented to the city in 1715 by King Phillip V of Spain, but it went unused until in 1992. In preparation for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyages to the New World, it was rediscovered and has been in regular use ever since.
The identifier may also be familiar since it is a variation of branding developed as part of the city’s 450th commemoration in 2015. Use of the city seal or the accompanying identifier must have approval and written consent by the city commission.
The brand will become more and more familiar in the community as it begins to appear in every aspect of city messaging, signage, letterheads, promotional materials, online social media, and the website.