Sunday, August 19, 2007
New City Logo: It appears that many people are very unimpressed with the proposed city logo. I happen to be one of them. The proposed logo is bland – it has a cookie cutter look to that would fit ANY area city. But what I find most disturbing is the political overtone of the “Reaching for Tomorrow” language affixed at the bottom. Like it or not, the simple fact is that “reaching for tomorrow” is synonymous with a political faction in Raytown. That is the truth. And any thinking person who votes in Raytown is well aware of it. It would be the same as if Lee’s Summit created a logo that with at tag line that read, “Lee’s Summit . . . a Republican stronghold east of Kansas City. Or, if Wyandotte County in Kansas had one that read, Wyandotte County . . . the most Democratic County in Kansas. City logos should speak for all the community – not just to those of a political club or faction. How about a contest? I’ve received calls this past week from individuals within the community who believe that Raytown should conduct a contest of local artists to design a logo that reflects the heritage of the Raytown area. It is not a bad idea. The large mural at the back of the Raytown City Council Chambers is the result of just such a contest. The mural depicts Raytown’s past and present. Hundreds of local artists vied for the honor of creating the work of art. Local historians tell me that a non-partisan commission chose the winner of the contest. The mural can be viewed anytime city hall is open. I’ve also heard it said that it may be too late to conduct such a contest – because so much time and effort has already been spent on the “new” design. Time spent does not especially mean that we must accept the result. The new design will be another straw on the camel’s back that would further divide our community. There is room for compromise here. But compromise is not defined as a political faction flexing its muscle on the City Council. Other area cities have been down this road before. We should learn from their mistakes. Years ago the City of Kansas City, Missouri dumped their logo for a design that looked like four paper clips stacked on top of each other. The public reaction was so negative that the design was scrapped in less than two years. The current design was created by an ad agency that ballyhooed the number of fountains in K.C. being greater than that of Rome or Paris. Hence, the tag line, the city of fountains. Last year an article in the Kansas City Star exposed the claim was bogus. But the lesson learned is that simply adopting a poorly designed logo (such as the paper clips) was not and is not a wise move. Trying to create an image that does not fit is also a bad idea. Some marketing analyst at an ad agency probably thought the “city of fountains” tag line was clever. It was also untrue. The end result is a logo that does not fit the city it represents. Ultimately the effect was just the opposite, by leaving the city open to ridicule. The Raytown area is rich with history and people who want the City of Raytown to succeed. Many want to help in that endeavor. Open the creation of a new logo up to the citizenry – give the people of Raytown a chance to prove themselves. Hold a contest to learn what the people of Raytown have in mind for a city logo. The City Council is scheduled to vote on this item at its next meeting, Tuesday, August 21st at Raytown City Hall (meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.). The meeting is open to the public. Any interested Raytowner may address the City Council at a time set aside for public comments at the beginning of the meeting.