Private rebranding proposals for the City of Hillsdale’s logo and official tagline have left some residents and members of city council perplexed.
The redesign proposals — which would cover the city’s website and marketing efforts — have been discussed for the past several months and are a result of the city’s efforts to attract more businesses to the area. Provided by CGI Communications, the new branding would feature a generic Neoclassical facade of a state building with one of these three taglines written under it: “Traditional Values, New Vision,” or “Where Tradition, Education and Innovation Thrive” or “Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future.”
These new options would not replace the city’s current seal, which features a tree and Hillsdale’s charter date, but they would become official branding in areas where the tree would have been used before.
Some residents complain that the new proposals detract from the city’s distinct character.
“The original seal represents the Hillsdale community,” Ward 1 City Council candidate Dennis Wainscott said. “The tree represents more of what Hillsdale stands for than a building with pillars.”
Ward 4 City Council candidate Penny Swan cited a Facebook poll she created that overwhelmingly supported retaining the seal without any new branding.
“It really doesn’t speak to Hilldale,” she said.
Members of the council also took issue with either the logo or tagline.
While he said he liked the tagline, “Where Tradition, Education and Innovation Thrive,” Councilman Matt Bell said the city ought to add an Oxford comma to make it look more professional. He also suggested re-thinking the new logo, stating that the proposed state house looked too bland for official city use.
Councilman Bill Zeiser said he agreed with Bell on the Oxford comma issue and added that he would not want to see the seal removed from city use, since it has been incorporated into so many things — police cars, welcomes signs, council chambers — that mark the city as distinctly Hillsdale.
Zeiser proposed that the city draft a proclamation that the seal cannot be replaced without legislation.
“We should show that it is part of our history,” he said.
Councilmen Will Morrisey and Adam Stockford said they prefered “Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future” to “Where Tradition, Education and Innovation Thrive” because the former seemed less manufactured to them.
“I think it’s kind of clunky,” Morrisey said.
Stockford added that although he preferred “Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future,” the tagline is already in use in other towns, so the city might appear unoriginal by adopting it.
Councilman Patrick Flannery said he disagreed with the whole idea of corporate branding.
“Why do we need a tagline?” he said. “We know who we are. People will know when they come live in the city, and we can point to that.”
The council unanimously voted to table the discussion to a later date because of the dissatisfaction with the current options.