By Barbara Wood, Special to the Almanac
In December, Menlo Park City Council members rejected all the new designs for a city logo that had been prepared at a cost of $24,000 and asked to keep the current 1960s-era oak tree they've been using all along.
This week, at their Jan. 14 meeting, the council nonetheless decided to spend another $24,000 having the same contractor, 2Sisters Design of Redwood Shores, come up with a "style guide" for using the city's use of graphics, including that venerable tree logo.
It turns out, Community Services Director Charise Brandell told the council, the city already has a signed contract with the design firm to do the additional work, which was initially approved by the council two years ago.
So council members, who had initially appeared ready to put an end to the project to modernize the city's graphic design standards, agreed on their favorite treatment of the existing logo. The logo will get a slight upgrade -- a new typeface and different organization of the lettering and be incorporated into the style guide.
Ms. Brandell did promise the council that a huge amount of money won't be spent changing all the city's signs, stationery and brochures. Instead, the new style guide will be used when things need to be replaced or redesigned.
City Manager Alex McIntyre gave his strong support for the redesign effort, especially the style guide. "We put out crap," he said. "We look like an unprofessional organization." City departments, he said, do not have unified standards for materials they develop and spend staff time that would not be necessary with a set of standards for the look of city materials. "I would rather have us look more professional," he said.