Being in Exeter, it couldn’t escape my notice that, just up the road, Torbay Council has recently rebranded. I saw this mostly from local news and my Twitter feed. The new rebrand has been a bit hit and miss with people all over the region. So I thought I’d take a closer look and see if it deserves such derision.
The old logo has been in use for over 20 years in the Torbay region. It had been used on signage, stationery, and websites. It features a serif font in a dark blue, with a stylised sand beach and sea. One of the major reasons cited by the council for changing the design was due to it being too large and hard to read on phones and websites. The council also felt that this design, and its added elements, had become dated.
The new logo chosen by the Torbay Council has stripped back the old design details and gone with a much simpler look. We can see a sans-serif font in use now, with the same font in bold to highlight “Torbay.” An added yellow line has also been put under the bold text to highlight it even more and to add another colour to proceedings. In creating the logo, the council followed the RNIB, dyslexia association and the UK association for Accessible Formats guidelines to get an easy to read design. The design is certainly easy to read , but you can’t help feel that the overall look and appeal of the logo had been neglected.
One of the main issues levelled at the new logo was that is didn’t scream Torbay like the previous one had done. After looking at the old logo you almost got a taste of the place with its beaches, sand and sea. The new logo could easily be interchanged with almost anywhere in the country. Would you bat an eyelid if the “Torbay” in the logo was replaced with “London”?
You can certainly see where the council were coming from. The old logo was beginning to look a tad outdated. I’ll give them that. But the new logo looks so generic that it could be used for almost anything. You can see why a former Mayor of Torbay said the logo looked “Stalinist.” Not because of the colours and type, but by how simple and uninteresting it is. I think with a bit of time it will just become ubiquitous and we won’t even notice it, but it does feel like a change for the sake of it without much thought put into the final design other than ticking certain boxes.
I had a bit of fun mocking up a new logo for the council. Its not much, but its a bit of an amalgamation of the two designs. Its got a sans-serif font which is easier to read, but also has the same beach and waves feature too. I changed the colours up a bit to not look as gaudy as the old design.
In the end, I feel this whole rebrand just goes to show that sometimes ticking boxes and playing safe, can sometimes not hit the mark. The new logo isn’t objectively bad nor is the old one exceptional. But its seems a shame that the final result is something bland and uninteresting when it represents such a nice part of the UK.