Durham County

City of Durham changes logo, spends less than Raleigh

The new logo for the City of Durham drops the “City of Medicine” tagline and 1869 founding year. It also changes the font slightly and makes it blue, not black. There are horizontal and vertical versions of it.
The new logo for the City of Durham drops the “City of Medicine” tagline and 1869 founding year. It also changes the font slightly and makes it blue, not black. There are horizontal and vertical versions of it.

The city of Durham’s logo is changing, but not too much, and the redesign cost a lot less than its Triangle neighbor’s.

Keeping the blue, red and yellow colors, along with the seven stars, the change may escape the average Durhamite. But for those who have strong feelings about text and fonts, they’ll notice the city is dropping some letters and numbers.

Mayor Bill Bell, who has held the office for 16 years, said he focuses on the city’s flag, which remains unchanged.

“I really never thought about this as a Durham logo,” he said. “People look at the flag and say, ‘Oh, you’re from Durham.’”

No longer will the logo include 1869 – the city’s founding date. Nor will it include the tagline “City of Medicine.”

Instead, it will say “City of Durham” in blue capital letters underneath the field, or what is considered the flag.

The City of Raleigh changed its logo this month, too. Raleigh had been using its city seal of a full oak tree surrounded by an oakleaf garland. It spent a year creating a new green logo in a general plant shape.

Raleigh spent $226,000 on its new logo. Durham spent only $20,000 to review and “refresh” its logo.

The city paid $226,000 for the new logo. What do you think?

“What you guys did was good, I like it a lot. I think it’s interesting,” Mayor-elect and City Council member Steve Schewel told Beverly Thompson, who leads public affairs. If the city wants a different logo in the future it will have an open process, but in the meantime he said he is happy with what the city staff presented.

The council approved the refreshed logo design unanimously Monday night.

Schewel said Durham’s new city logo is “cheaper than the $200,000 Raleigh just spent for a tree ... Our logo is a heck of a lot better than theirs.”

He also noted that he had personal experience using the city’s flag recently.

On the night he was elected the city’s next mayor, Schewel and other candidates endorsed by the People’s Alliance political action committee took photos with the flag at their election night celebration.

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People's Alliance candidates celebrate outside 106 Main on election night Nov. 7, 2017, holding the City of Durham flag. From left are John Rooks Jr., Mayor-elect Steve Schewel and council members-elect DeDreana Freeman and Vernetta Alston. Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan dvaughan@heraldsun.com

Durham’s logo featuring the “City of Medicine” and 1869 was created in 1991. The city’s identity as a health-care leader was its primary strength then, according to the staff proposal, but now “other terms such as diversity, entrepreneurial, foodie, and technology could easily describe the community as well, and that the tagline never accurately represented the services and programs of city government.”

City Council member Charlie Reece said it was not a revolutionary design, “but a step away from more antiquated design.”

Someone from each city department was asked for feedback, including Reece from the council, as well as outside opinions from representatives of Duke University, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Blackwell Street Management Company/American Tobacco and the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. The “resounding” feedback was to drop the year and tagline from the logo. The words “City of Durham” are below the flag or next to it, depending on the vertical or horizontal logo design.

Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden said the process should have included input from the city’s youth commission, too.

The seven stars represent the stars in the Taurus constellation and the “new spirit” of Durham. Taurus is, of course, a bull, and Durham is known as the Bull City.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: 919-419-6563, @dawnbvaughan

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