$89K logo redesign “saving taxpayers’ money”: Ford government

In comparison, Nike co-founder Phil Knight obtained the sneaker company’s famous ‘swoosh’ design for just $35 (USD), or $220 inflation-adjusted dollars.

Jason Unrau Montreal QC

The cost of addressing Ontario’s apparent identity crisis is $89,000 according to government officials after a preview of the Trillium logo redesign appeared last week at the unveiling of a new provincial driver’s license and plate.

The new logo appears to be an updated version of the original Trillium “woodmark” designed in 1964 and updated by then-premier Dalton McGuinty in 2006 at a cost of $219,000.

Premier Doug Ford’s version is intended for government rebranding across all communications and service platforms and his Treasury Board president Peter Bethlanfalvy even claimed that redesigning the logo and deploying it across Ontario constituted “saving taxpayers’ money.”

But this arguably unnecessary expenditure flies in the face of the Progressive Conservatives’ election promise to cut wasteful spending in the provincial budget and shore up Ontario’s spiralling debt.

As the peanut gallery of Twitter commentators reacted to Ontario’s newest logo and its cost, this guy illustrates, quite literally, how easy it is to achieve the same result in a few minutes:

The snarky Tweet does bring to mind the story of how Nike co-founder Phil Knight obtained the sneaker company’s famous ‘swoosh’ design for just $35 (USD), or $220 when adjusted for inflation.

It was a simpler time, before computer-assisted design and outrageous billing fees when Knight was teaching accounting at Portland University in the late-60s to support his fledgling sports business.

Carolyn Davidson was a student in Knight’s class, where she was studying graphic design. Overhearing she needed a job, Knight hired her for what ultimately became promotional work that channelled her passion for design.

When Knight needed a logo for a new shoe line he was releasing in 1971, he asked Davidson to come up with something different from the competition – Adidas and Puma. Given the instructions that the logo had to look like speed, Davidson came up with the ‘swoosh’ and the rest is history.

And Ontario’s latest visual signifier could be its final incarnation as, according to the provincial government, a new directive will prohibit new logos of the future, noting that through the previous seven years, “ministries and agencies of the Ontario government wasted more than $2 million on visual identity work”.


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