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City's image to get update following branding project

Brand guide sets out new standard for corporate logo and Mr. P.G.
An image from a presentation to council on the city's branding project.

An ongoing branding project will deliver incremental changes to the city's visual identity.

The three-line "confluence" deployed as the corporate logo will stay with some modifications and the Mr. PG image will be put to greater and more formal use, city council was told during an update provided on Monday.

Nick Richards, the chief creative officer at Vancouver-based Will Creative, described the results as an "expansion of the look and feel."

"It's not about revolution, we're not changing our name or dramatically coming out with something completely different to what we are today. But it's about sharpening, elevating and expanding upon what we have today," Richards said.

A 70-page brand guide has been produced to set out the "do's and don'ts" surrounding use of the images.

The typography and the colour palette for the corporate logo has been refreshed and a suite has been produced for the various applications. The navy blue will remain the primary colour "but we're looking to inject a few more accent colours to bring in some of the energy that is P.G...a bit more spirited in our colour palette," Richards said.

Some vibrancy and intensity was added to the Mr. P.G. image.

The work was part of a broader effort to develop an "identifiable brand" for the city.

The aim is to build "community pride, foster recognition and loyalty by developing a brand that represents the community's lifestyle and the people," city communications manager Julie Rogers told council. "It will help shape and promote growth and revitalization. 

"The brand will be evident in visual elements such as buildings, art, park benches, even bike racks, the city website and reports."

Saying she knows "some people are going to be critical of the project," Coun. Cori Ramsay defended the work.

"Having a brand standards guide really articulates use of that intellectual property and how it's presented out in the world," Ramsay said.

"We are a huge city and our logo and Mr. P.G., they're used in so much graphic elements that having a guide that tells how you use him, here's the colours that you're supposed to use, here's how you identify logo placement - those things are really important because if they are altered it really kind of detracts from that brand and what we're trying to represent." 

Asked by Coun. Ron Polillo if any thought had been given to a tagline and whether one is needed, Rogers said that during the public consultation on the effort, "it became clear that was more about our personality, and who we are and how we present ourselves, rather than coming up with a thing that you just slap on every sign and it almost becomes kind of meaningless."

However, Rogers said that if one is used, "we might use 'A Gathering Place' as bit of a tagline, but not necessarily something that we place everywhere." 

Coun. Kyle Sampson said he now  sees an opportunity to partner with a business on a profit-sharing basis to create Mr. P.G. swag according to the standards set out in the guide.

In response, Rogers said the image is currently limited to use by Tourism Prince George, Exploration Place and the University of Northern British Columbia bookstore.

"Certainly at the City, we are hoping that now that we have a bit of a personality for Mr. P.G. - he is a bit fatherly, very friendly, very welcoming - we are going to be using him a little bit more at the City in our communications and hopefully as we need things - stickers, tattoos, mugs, thing that we can hand out at community events - we're more likely to put Mr. P.G. on it than the corporate logo," Rogers said.

The project included a community survey that drew 822 responses plus a dozen workshops with key parties.

Asked by Coun. Brian Skakun about the cost of the work, Rogers did not have exact figures but said the amounts were taken from her office's annual budget. Similarly, costs of rolling out the revamped corporate logo on the City's vehicles, website and so forth have been built into the various departmental budgets, council was told.

Skakun also asked for an update on moving the Mr. P.G. mascot from its current location at the corner of Highways 16 and 97 and was told staff is working on it.