Apparently the buzz around downtown today was all about "branding Hartford". I think before we worry about a new logo, it might be more important to identify what we hope to be as a city.
One of the most discouraging things to me though was that this "branding" is more about downtown than it is a city as a whole. Downtown's contribution to the grandlist is not what identifies us as a City, it is the individuality of of our neighborhoods. That is where Hartford's strength lies if any of the outside consultants took the time to look at that.
I might also ask how many small business people have been approached by these consultants or even when was the last time they were approached by anyone from the Metro Hartford Alliance to see what they need as small business owners. I guess the same question could be asked though of the taxpayers employees working in Hartford's Economic Development Department.
With a mill rate for Hartford at over 71 mills, the highest in the State of Connecticut by almost 30 mills over the next closest town, "City of Hartford" and "Economic Development" seems to be an oxymoron. How can any business compete in this market, fancy logo or not.
I only stayed for a few minutes of the presentation at the Library tonight and as I looked at the cast of characters in the room, it seemed as though many of them were City employees, and unfortunately I didn't recognize any small business owners in attendance. That makes sense though, most small business owners are working 12, 14, 16 hours a day to stay afloat and be able to pay the outrageous taxes in Hartford.
I also was not impressed with the presentation. I have always felt that if you know and believe in your topic, a script is not necessary. Maybe talking points or notes to cover the topic, but to read from a speech shows you don't believe in or know the subject well enough. And no marketing companies from Hartford could have handled the contract?
And finally, I know that when the "New England's Rising Star" logo was drawn up, there was another City using almost an identical logo, except the arc of the shooting star went in the opposite direction of Hartford's. Now I find this new "branding" proposal eerily similar to Hartford Hospital's new logo.
Maybe the designers all attended the same seminar on logo "branding" design techniques.
The old Hartford Hospital logo was the two blue "H"'s forming the cube. Recently Hartford Hospital changed to a more modern logo for "branding" all of their operations under the Hartford Hospital umbrella. Do you find the circular pattern, and even the position of the colors, similar to the proposed Hartford logo?
To read more about Hartford Hospital's "branding", click here. They seem to know why they did it as opposed to Hartford's need to fix its identity crisis
Maybe the Colt's Dome or even the Soldiers and Sailor's Memorial Arch might be more identifiable than a knock off of the Hartford Hospital logo.
The Courant story is more interesting to read the comments, click here to read Jenna Carlesso's story, but be sure to scroll through the comments and read those. You can also click on the link to the right for Jeff Cohen's take at WNPR