Offaly County Council spend €10,000 on design of new branding

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly County Council spend €10,000 on design of new branding

Offaly County Council spend €10,000 on design of new branding

Offaly County Council's Head of Enterprise, Orla Martin, introduced councillors to the local authority's new branding imagery at the February meeting of members on Monday, February 17.

The new branding, including a new logo, was produced by the graphic designers at DesignWorks. Representatives of the company also introduced the new branding on Monday. 

They were assigned to the project in September 2019 when they set about formulating a brand that "communicated Offaly's unique selling point as a place to live, work, visit and invest."

The concept of the new logo was 'space to grow' and the resultant logo was therefore inspired by the land, air and water of the county's wide open spaces. The imagery was unveiled to councillors but is embargoed until an official launch is organised. 

DesignWorks says it created the design to reflect the "social, cultural and economic" ambitions of the council. It, therefore, focused on innovation, adaptation, transformation and facilitation since their appointment last September.

While the branding was broadly welcomed, Cllr Ken Smollen asked management: "How much is all of this costing?" He also took issue with the introduction from DesignWorks which said, "times have never been so buoyant." He asked who this assertion applied to as he referenced the number of families in Offaly on the eviction court lists. A representative of the company later clarified that he had meant to say, "times have never been so busy."

In response, Orla Martin and later OCC Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney confirmed that the design phase of the re-branding cost €10,000. Orla Martin said: "We have a strong recognition of the difficulties the county is facing but we see that as all the more reason to try and boost economic development to create and attract more enterprise and opportunities for our people."

Cllr Smollen later probed further on the actual cost of rolling out the branding in official documentation, the website, on vehicles and buildings. Orla Martin did not specify or give an estimated budget on this and instead stated that the rollout would be done "on a phased basis," adding that OCC was "mindful of the budget on that."

Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney also said the rollout would be phased but again stopped short of offering a budget. She said the council would be replacing things like stationery "as it is used." 

"We won't be throwing out what we have and replacing it in that way," she added.

She said the rebranding of vehicles and buildings would be "on a phased basis," concluding by saying, "the priority for now is getting the brand developed and launched."

Cllr Tony McCormack said €10,000 was good value, saying in his line of work he has seen other companies spend "an awful lot more than that" on a big rebrand. "It's a good job. It captures what was discussed at the meetings on it and I prose we go with it."

Cllr Danny Owens also raised concern with proposals to replace the full coloured Offaly coat of arms with a 'line art' version which would effectively become a black and white stencil on official documentation. 

While he did say the re-branding "looks well" and was a "great idea," the Fianna Fail councillor called for the full-coloured crest to be re-instated for some uses, particularly on official documentation and correspondence issued by the council. 

"The green, white and gold is something people associate with Offaly and people like to see it. I think it would only be a small change to keep that in some form," he said. Orla Martin responded by saying the retention of the coloured crest would be for members to decide. Cllr Owen's made the proposal to do so.

Chief Executive Anna Marie Delaney said the crest would be retained on paperwork and said, "we will be utilising it in some way." Cllr Owen's expressed that he was "a little worried" as to how often and in what form the crest would be used. DesignWorks said there was no problem keeping the coloured version on paperwork but said the line art version would be used on certain publications, where appropriate, and on the windows of the council buildings. The members accepted that.

Cllr John Clendennen said: "We may be diluting the proposal on the crest. We'll have it in colour, a watermark, a stencil. If we are looking to the future, why would we hold on to the old crest."

This sparked a slight war of words with Cllr Declan Harvey interjecting, "the crest is Offaly in a nutshell and it's not a big deal to keep it."

Cllr Leahy said: "We have to move to the new logo and we all accept that. It's just a matter of the crest which isn't a big part of it."

The meeting agreed to retain the old crest on the bottom of paperwork. DesignWorks clarified by saying it would be kept on the bottom of documents and on the footer of the website which will also be redesigned to fit the new branding.

An official launch of the new branding will take place at a later date.