The Council has spoken

New logo for Cumberland Council

Logo before and after
Logo before and after

Cumberland Council is a local government area (LGA) located in the western suburbs of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The Council was formed on 12 May 2016 from the merger of parts of the Auburn City, the former Parramatta City, and Holroyd City councils. On 2 February 2017, a new logo was unveiled following a series of workshops, forums, online surveys and other engagement activities with the community.

The council will progressively roll out new branding across its assets including trucks, street signs, welcome signs, community centres, libraries, administrative centres, parks, town centres and communications materials.

The vibrant colours are a direct representation of Cumberland’s potential, ambition and each represent a different part of Cumberland’s diverse characteristics. The logo itself was designed in order to recognise togetherness, leadership and a strong purpose. We want Cumberland to identify with these symbols and see them as a celebration of what we are and what we want to be. Ultimately, we want to create a common sense throughout the community of a fresh platform to launch off into the future.
– Malcolm Ryan, interim general manager, Cumberland Council

Although it’s a very local design, it has caught my eye because it’s for the area I reside in. Evidently, the old logo was only meant to be temporary, and presumably hastily put together following the merger. Less than a year after its inception, amid doubts over the future of council amalgamations in New South Wales, we have gotten a rework. I’ll try to keep politics aside in my review, but I’m not making any promises.

New logo detail
New logo detail

The old logo featured a bunch of mainly rectangles of various sizes arranged closely together on a baseline. I always supposed it was meant to represent buildings – what else could it be? Now, I’m sure it represents buildings, specifically… the build-up of high-rise apartment blocks in the area, towers which have overshadowed the town centres and introduced traffic congestion. In that respect, the old logo was damned befitting!

Back on track, Emre…

The colour scheme felt muddy and dull. It would have been appropriate if all the Council did was collect our garbage each week and nothing else, but a Council does so much more for the community. Granted, the three constituent Councils each had blue in their respective logos, so there’s a sliver of a connection, but I’m grasping at straws here.

The typeface was Franklin Gothic, a classic which worked fine; its heavy weight complemented the solid mass of blocks.

Overall, the old logo was uninspiring and, with the seemingly random shapes, the designers weren’t very confident about the identity they wanted to project following the merger. Thank goodness the Council hadn’t yet implemented it on more permanent assets.

New logo in stacked orientation
New logo in stacked orientation

The new logo features three concentric “Cs” – for Cumberland, of course – which are by default in a red-blue-green colour scheme. By not wedding itself to one section of the colour wheel, the graphic is somewhat reflective of the heterogeneity of the community, and I can tell you first-hand that the area is a veritable melting pot of international cultures. However, those specific colours placed together look childish and unrefined. The primitive execution of the “Cs” also has a news network vibe, but I do agree that it conveys togetherness in the way they are nestled together.

The typeface is a geometric sans-serif (in Avenir territory) which works okay but perhaps set too small against the graphic.

cumberland-c-windows
The logo becomes a window for various imagery

The logo exhibits a dynamic side as the “Cs” can become a window for various imagery. It’s not groundbreaking, but, still, it’s interesting and would curb staleness in the future. In its usual solid state, the graphic can also assume different colour palettes for different Council services, such as waste collection (below).

Garbage truck livery
Garbage truck livery
Letterhead
Letterhead
Street sign
Street sign
Banners showing more colour variation
Banners showing more colour variation

The new logo is a definite improvement on its transient predecessor. While it feels too playful in its default colours (especially with those rounded stroke ends), it’s identifiable amongst other Sydney LGA logos. Where it comes into its own is when it assumes different colours and imagery in different places and at different times. Cumberland has such a diverse community, and by presenting an adaptable logo that can project the different facets of that community, it feels very inclusive. Given this quality, the logo should also feel fresh for a while, and I’ll be keen to see what other forms it takes on.