Council may approve new Burien logo Monday night; sneak peek + take our poll

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The Burien City Council will review and perhaps approve new branding – including a new logo – for the city at Monday night’s (Oct. 24) Study Session.

The city has contracted with JayRay, a creative agency located in Tacoma. As we previously reported, the city is paying $93,000 – with optional products/services up to $149,300 – for the re-branding.

This initiative is one of five priority economic development goals and actions the City Council set for 2015-2016 (download PDF of the city’s RFP here).

At the Sept. 26 Study Session, JayRay presented two possible new City logos for Council consideration. Council provided direction as to the preferred logo, and asked that the logo be brought back to the Council after incorporating the Council’s requested revisions to that logo.

Monday night’s meeting (download PDF of packet here) may well see approval of the following design, which is built around the letter ‘B’ and includes the corner of the City Hall/Library, Mt. Rainier, trees and possible flooding (or is that Puget Sound?) and the letter ‘V’ in the sky (okay, so that’s a bird; click image to see larger version):


Tied in with this logo will be the slogan “Room for Life.”

Currently, the city’s logo looks like this (this is what the new one will replace):


And just for reference, here’s a montage of some other branding B-Town has used:

We’re curious – what do YOU think of this new logo? Please take our Poll below:

What do you think of the proposed new logo for Burien?

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70 Responses to “Council may approve new Burien logo Monday night; sneak peek + take our poll”
  1. Question Authority says:

    Why not add that all day library camper and his bike/trailer contraption that blocks the sidewalk outside the building to the scene?
    What that complex has turned into is nothing to be proud of, and that goes for the top floor as well.

    • LindaC says:

      How in the world could our City Council want this logo? I agree with so many of the critical comments: “Room for Life,” (prison cell); water in front of building (flooding); 3 trees already taken (Three Tree Point); bird reminds me of airplane; why a large ‘B’ ? (looks like we are peaking in–not a feeling of welcome or inclusiveness), etc., etc.

  2. Question Authority says:

    And, that logo is lame and embarrassing.

  3. Shorewood Guy says:

    Really? All that money and that is what they come up with? Sad. It’s as though one is peering through a keyhole to the outside world from being locked up. The “B” just disappears. Thank god Burien is below as no one would know or understand. A poor attempt overall.

    • Tracey Snyder says:

      Someone else noted that the slogan “Room for Life” sounds like it is referring to a prison, so I guess it goes well with the logo looking out through a keyhole while being locked up. Burien, a place for criminals….. haha.

  4. Tanya says:

    Leave well enough alone!
    Who worked on this silly thing?
    What kind of input did we have for this stupid design?
    Leave well enough alone!
    The first one is missing one small bird.
    It’s terribly wrong to mess with an original piece of art.
    Obviously there is no one there who appreciates good art work.
    Leave well enough alone!

  5. Barb says:

    It looks like someone’s house (garage on bottom, windows with view on top), trees in their yard, view of the mountains, and on waterfront property. Would probably be better for, maybe, Three Tree Point.

  6. PatHToLogic says:

    Not bad…but maybe the theme should be “Close to you”….which might be one of our best attributes…

  7. Jane Wilson says:

    Gosh. Never knew we even had a logo. Lived here since the 50’s.Where is it displayed and why do we need to spend that kind of money on a new one when it could be used more efficiently elsewhere? The old one is nice. Glad I finally got to see it here.

  8. Laurie Marocco says:

    None of these are logos, they’re illustrations and won’t reproduce well under ideal situations and not at all in black and white. Three unworkable choices for $93,000? No wonder our taxes are so high! Make JayRay come up with a real logo, these are… pathetic.

  9. Veronika Kalmar says:

    Honestly, they paid an add agency to do that? Anyone with a basic knowledge of design could pick it apart.

  10. Neil says:

    This looks like someones butt positioned horizontally. I do not like it!

  11. johnny says:

    should have some bums on it. call the place bum town

  12. Maureen says:

    I’ve been a professional graphic designer since 1975. I’ve worked in Branding for much of my career. What I see in the selected new Burien Logo is loaded with printing/imaging problems… (not even beginning to discuss the deficits of the design concept itself). What we’re seeing is NOT a workable, suitable logo! From a reproduction standpoint alone, it does not work. Will not work. Really. Truly.

    The thing about the City Branding Project is that there’s no one on the City side – the receiving end – that knows anything about design and how to gauge the “rightness” of a logo design. Unknowledgeable people are making this decision.

    Imagine it being 1/4 inch on a business card. Imagine it being printed in black and white on the many forms that the City photocopies. Sure, it’s pretty when large and in color, but it has to remain strong even small and in black and white.

    The City should have hired someone to consult with them on the receiving end to gauge what it is that they’ll be getting, to make sure that Jay Ray is satisfying the broad needs of a branding program.

    Raised here in Burien, as a resident designer, I feel personally invested and have been monitoring our City’s identity for years. I am so very disappointed in this “solution.” It is no solution at all. No improvement. It will only cost us many dollars as we now reprint and recreate all of our materials with this deficient logo. This did not have to happen. This was a great opportunity at very great expense to our City. I had much higher hopes for the results.

    • Replying to Maureen’s comment above (don’t know why a separate comment field appeared), I totally agree with her opinion. Also as a professional designer, the real problem is reproducing it at normal scale. A logo MUST be readable at tiny sizes and in one color. This is a basic requirement! Teeny things are not helpful and are just dots when small.

      In my opinion, modifying this to remove the “photo” from the B could be quite effective, as the B-town slang is quite common. Trying to use a pictorial illustration is fraught with problems, as Maureen and others show.

      I also like the “Close to You” tagline suggestion quite a bit. The “for life” prison reference is unfortunate, considering Burien’s high crime rate.

      Good luck with the project!

  13. Julie K. says:

    The V in the sky only reminds me of the noise from airplanes that have invaded our sky over Burien with recent flight path changes. More realistically, the artwork is not easily reproduced with multiple & gradual colors. Printing multicolor on publications gets expensive (and yes, hard copy printed materials are still out there despite electronic communication).

  14. Janet says:

    I’m afraid this won’t reproduce well. Too many colors, too busy. You need to think of its many applications. Letterhead, side of vehicles, brochures, business cards. Simpler is better. Existing is far superior. I get the desire to update, but I don’t think this is a good choice. Maybe just update the existing somehow?

  15. Matthys van Leeuwen says:

    This is a bad logo. Way too much imagery in the B above Burien. Also the font used for Burien indicates a town of old people, not a thriving modern town.

    Simplicity is always key in the message. A bad start for the re-branding of Burien. The geographical position of Burien is unique (bordering the Sound, close to the airport, easy access to Seattle) with a good number of quiet neighborhoods and Olde Burien town area with potential. It shouldn’t be too difficult to capture that into a catchy slogan with a simple yet effective logo.

    Back to the drawing table I would say.

  16. Paul G says:

    1. Are the 3 large trees representing 3-tree point?
    2. If that is supposed to be the library/city hall, having water (Lake Burien? Puget Sound?) right there doesn’t really make sense.
    3. If unconnected aspects of Burien are going to be put together on the logo they need some sort of dividing line like thing, otherwise it just seems weird..
    4. Room for Life? What does that even mean? Plenty of room in our parks for the homeless to camp? How is Burien different in that regard from other cities in the region?
    It does not appear that we are that congested or crowded here, especially compared to say….West Seattle. So are we saying there is still plenty of room for people to move here?
    5. Who is the target audience for the Burien Logo and slogan? What do we want them to know about Burien and what do we want them to do with that information?
    Move here? Shop here? Eat here? go to Theater here? Establish a new business here? The logo and slogan needs to meet some some sort of goal or objective.
    I can’t see what either of these would actually accomplish that would be usefull in any sort of concrete way.

  17. Nina Rowland says:

    I like the font on the new logo, but I think the artwork inside the B will be lost and hard to see when the logo is small or at a distance on a sign.

  18. Jack Block Jr. says:

    Meh. At least the trees are vertical. Ax having the city hall/library in the logo. Gonna use a big word in a sentence, “Having the City Hall/Library building included with the natural elements in the logo is INCONGRUOUS”. Pull out the eraser. Make the “B” narrower and extend the lawn and mountain. Have the bird as a soaring seagull, (flatter wings). People can then confuse it with a Horizon Air propjet. My two cents.

  19. Jim Milnor-Lewis says:

    There’s $50,000 to $150,000 well spent. Wonder how many police officers we could have hired for that money. I wonder if Microsoft or Boeing or Amazon will relocate here now that we have a really neato new logo! I finally have something to brag about to my family and friends!

  20. kitty says:

    How many complaints did you receive about how bad the first logo was that made you decide to spend so much of our tax dollars to change it? This new “logo” is an illustration. Maureen is right.

  21. KB says:

    Most of my clients are municipalities aka cities so I see the logos of nearly all the cities in the state of Washington. This design is terrible. I agree with several of the earlier comments, it will not translate well to printed items like business cards, letterhead or even check stock. I also agree that it should incorporate the natural aspects and leave out the buildings.

  22. Luke D McCabe says:

    So as a community we set aside almost $150,000 for this project. We couldn’t have spent this in Burien? We had to send our money to Tacoma?

  23. Clean it up! says:

    This all goes back to who picked JAYRAY? How were they selected? Who brought up the re-branding concept? JayRay? Oi! Maureen’s comment about ” Unknowledgeable people are making this decision.” applies to more than the choice of this design.

    I don’t know how we go about getting people with experience and knowhow on our council, but we better figure that out soon. Have you looked at the way down town Burien is about to change? We will soon have a huge influx of newcomers to the center of Burien and I hear very little about any preparation for their needs. We all can think of much better ways to have spent this money than rebranding. Heck, getting the place cleaned up would be a start!

  24. Lakeview Too says:

    If it’s paid for, maybe rework it a little and keep it as an illustration. What’s that square thing called again, next to the bookmark for a webpage? Maybe it could be used for that. Some ideas: Add some orcas swimming by, make Mt. Rainier bigger (Tacoma gets a bigger mountain in their seal), sub in one of the legacy buildings instead of what could be confused with a Boeing hanger. I nominate the feed store or old(e) town.

    • Lakeview Too says:

      Out of the cloud, days later, comes my first draft I didn’t think went through! I apologize for the duplication. See same comment with more content below.

  25. Lakeview Too says:

    If it’s paid for, maybe rework it a little and keep it as an illustration. I like the eagle and the water and the three trees. Whatever that square thing is, next to the bookmark for a webpage? Maybe it could be used for that. Some ideas: Add some orcas swimming by (Edmonds get a ferry), make Mt. Rainier bigger (Tacoma gets a bigger mountain in their seal), sub in one of the legacy buildings instead of what could be confused with a Boeing hanger on Lake Washington. I nominate the feed store or old(e) town.

  26. Shari says:

    Oy. I followed the link in this article and re-read the original post that outlined the full goals and this engagement. Looks like the purpose is to redefine Burien in the minds of people elsewhere who think negatively about this community and don’t want to live here or locate business here based on their negative impressions. Great goals, for sure. But stating the obvious: it will take a heck of a lot more than a logo and a tagline to do that. After all of the branding money is spent , will we be any further ahead in terms of practical actions that drive the real economic growth this is supposed to be targeting?

  27. ShellyC says:

    What a waste of money. That is just plain UGLY!

  28. KateBB says:

    So, it appears the consensus is most citizens don’t care for the new logo. Or slogan. Or, the money wasted on the process. I’m in total agreement. But, here’s our problem. No matter what the majority of citizens think, it will be negated and ignored by most of the City Council. Time and time again, they vote against any and all of our wishes. Remember the CARES contract barely passing – even though that was the will of the people? Kam’s secret-squirrel firing? SO depressing and disappointing . . .

  29. LindaC says:

    P.S. I do support the rebranding project

  30. Patrick says:

    It’s a step up from the current logo, and the idea sounds ok in concept. But when I look at it, I see a fancy waterfront home in a picture frame. Ideally a logo would not need someone to explain it to me.

  31. Annie Lowe says:

    Ew. What a waste of energy and money! Doesn’t Burien have other needs for the energy involved in “re-branding” what a joke! Let’s work on getting the city to be a place people want to call home. THEN maybe revisit the idea of coming up with a logo. At that time why don’t you contact someone right here in Burien who maybe knows something about this town. You would be LUCKY to have someone like David Stober at Guided come up with a design for you. Not the P.O.S. that came out of Tacoma.

  32. Deena says:

    Stay with the old it’s Better!!!Not proud to have our library in there when we cannot even get near it because of all of the riff Raff. This was a big waste of money and I hope you can get out of this deal as it is not needed here. Lame design. Thought we could do better.

    • Question Authority says:

      The Library oh my ! Just yesterday the two teenagers strung out on dope and passed out under the blanket on the SW corner made my visit so much more enjoyable. What happened to the trespass policy as that is not a residential dwelling outside or inside for that matter, but worthy of our brand.

  33. KitKat says:

    The suggested new logo seems to be referring to three tree point… Burien is much more than three tree point, much much more!

  34. Matthys van Leeuwen says:

    Go to a freelancing website and for 100 dollars an Asian graphic designer will make a much better logo than this. We don’t encourage to outsource our jobs, but we may require our own to do a better job.

    Come on, City Council vote this down and require quality in return for our tax dollars.

  35. Brian says:

    Maybe the “B” represents all the bums that are taking over. Seems the money would be better spent on cleaning up the streets, rather than making a change to a logo that there is nothing wrong with. I afree with others, the new logo is boring, embarrassing and looks to been done as an 8th grade class project. I’m sure you could have set up a contest (winner gets paid $5,000) to design the new logo with burien residents being the voters. With that much money being spent, at least make it look good! Oh, and like someone else said, keep the money in Burien, you’ve got RES Graphics right down the street, support local, support your own city!

  36. Jennifer Emery says:

    Seriously city council you had enough money to waste on this project but ignore the soaring crime rate, homeless sleeping on the sidewalks and many empty buildings. Will this new logo do anything to improve the Burien area? Will it bring jobs? A lot of money paid out for an UN nessesary project

  37. paul o. says:

    Dump the B to start

  38. Out here on the edge says:

    Well, since ‘Out here on the edge’ has already been taken by Delta. And, we’ve just got to spend this money that has been set aside for ‘promoting’. Here’s my 2nd best idea for branding our fair berg. A sign that says BURIEN – Make of it what you will.

  39. eric says:

    Corporate, bland and boring. To me it says “nothing interesting here, don’t bother.” And the tag line, “Room for Life,” what does that mean, nobody lives here? Why not something catchy like, “The best is in Burien”?

    I think when it come to logos, go big or go home. Burien went small and safe. Uninspiring.

  40. Barb says:

    Burien’s new quarterly newsletter looks really good. I hope those publishers have a hand in the new logo and other branding items.

    The old Burien logo was created by a high school student who won a logo contest held when the city was new in the 1990s.

    • Lakeview Too says:

      I’m getting caught up on “city-hood” facts and didn’t know that about the existing logo. Thanks for posting that. That is sort of sweet and authentic and very “Burien” in my opinion, actually. When I grew up, it was “If it isn’t broken…”
      What’s interesting is that, if you click on the link to the PDF file about the upcoming meeting, they have used the header from the existing webpage (which I actually think is sort of beautiful) as the “logo” at the top. Not the existing logo.

  41. Mike hart says:

    To those who think this money has been wasted so far, you haven’t seen anything yet.

    During my long career I dealt with the IT side of numerous logo, vision statement, company rename and various other changes that required modifying printed forms, computer generated forms, supplies, e-mail templates, web pages, and legal documents, to name a few. Then there were the folks who spent countless hours on product labels, vehicle repainting, signage, banners, legal review, etc.

    The logo and slogan are the tip of the iceberg, from a cost perspective.

    • Maureen says:

      Mike Hart, EXACTLY! The costs of IMPLEMENTING a new logo will be sky-high, continuous and far-reaching. I’ve consulted with city staff multiple times – for free – over the last nine years. I presented pros and cons of “Total Redesign” vs. “Cleanup of the Existing Logo” (which had NEVER been rendered professionally). If we had cleaned up the current logo, it would have been a seamless transition that could be implemented over time, at a mere fraction of the cost, and without public outcry. I don’t know whether Jay Ray helped them tally the TRUE cost of full implementation. A quarter million dollars when all is said and done?

      • Nina Rowland says:

        I too have been doing graphic design for 25 years. Perhaps we should ask the council if they’d like a seasoned review committee to help them with these decisions about the logo and slogan. I’m in.

  42. 1. The city hall/library building is not a landmark/highlight of Burien. What’s it doing on the logo?
    2. The consensus of the focus groups was that what is great about Burien is its convenience to other places such as downtown Seattle,airport, Eastside, South Sound while being affordable and friendly. What does “Room for Life” have to do with that? Having a city slogan just leads to ridicule and a sarcastic Pat Cashman column.
    3. This could become the worst city artistic decision since the infamous “Screw” sculpture for Town Square Park.

  43. LMH says:

    Having just gone through a rebranding process at work I have felt the pain of finding the right imagery and words to communicate to your audience the “message” you want them to see in and feel when they see your logo.

    Remember… they may only see your logo ONCE so it should REFLECT your the message in a way that is memorable. It should also be one that is easily recognizable, understandable, and can stand the test of time. Logos are not like soup… adding another ingredient will make it better. Often the simplicity is the beauty of the logo.

    When I looked at the “building” in the logo, it took me a moment to realize what it was. Unfortunately, it looks like a jail, which is a huge FAIL. What the logo made me think of was a jail, and rising waters… neither of which would be considered “good omens”…

    People already talked about reproducing the graphic. Horrible. Fail again.

    Clearly the person who designed the logo does not understand what draws people to Burien or keeps them here. It certainly is not reflected in that design. This is actually a very artistic community. I am surprised the Council did not first try a logo contest – I imagine that the school kids could come up with a better design than put forward. I am positive that all the artists in town could most certainly do something better than this and it would not have cost $93K…

    What is the billable rate?????? Holy Cow, that is almost the entire year budget for CARES. That could have been more law enforcement.

    Personally, I would rather have seen them design a NO LOITERING SIGN to be posted EVERYWHERE to stop the rampant panhandling (even accosted while you sit in your car in a parking lot…). To me, there are numerous other ways we could have spent the money. If we don’t do something about the crime (gunshots AGAIN on Ambaum) you can do all the branding you want… nobody will come. Your senior center will sit vacant. I drove by the other day and thought to myself… if I was 10 years older I don’t know if I would feel safe sitting here waiting for the bus… since it would be iffy right now. You are more likely to be SHOT in Burien than HIT by a car… So crime is your problem, not slapping a new logo on a street sign.

  44. Taro root says:

    I think when Highline Scools went to their new logo, it was designed with student input and I believe cost a fee of 10,000…Much different than what Burien is present paying….

  45. Tanya says:

    We had a contest for Highline high school students. The winner was Savannara Kong, class of 1991, of Evergreen school. He is now 44 & you can find him on Facebook & probably many more sites. He is quite successful & a true artist.
    A huge flag was made that is beautiful, but, for some reason it has never been seen in public. I don’t know why.
    Savannara Kong had 3 birds. Put the 3rd bird back in. The font was changed which was disturbing to me, but the council may have thought it was too modern. I could read it just fine.
    Small lapel pins were made that are beautiful.
    By the way, that contest cost nothing.
    Leave well enough alone!

  46. Jo says:

    This is SUPER sad and lame- HORRIBLE graphics. Keep the old logo.

  47. Andrea Reay says:

    This is an important step for Burien and one that should not be wasted. The logo that is represented here on the Blog is not what city staff, JayRay, or the Brand Advisory Committee recommended to council.

    I was happy to serve on the brand advisory committee as an active and engaged citizen anxious to share what I love most about my home town. The committee, staff, and consultants worked for months meeting with community members, and developing a solid recommendation to give to the council. That professionally designed logo was unanimously recommended and should be presented to the public. Unfortunately, what appears to have happened is a classic “design by committee” scenario where the council did not accept the recommendation by their hired consultants, staff and the brand advisory committee, and instead went in a different direction to the detriment of all.

    I would like to encourage the council to step back and accept the original logo recommended by the design professionals, staff and the brand advisory committee. No logo will ever be perfect or unanimously reflect the aesthetic of the 50,000 plus residents of Burien, or even the 7 council members. But, the committee recommended design was clean, modern, inspirational, creative, easily reproduced, and universal in both recognition and place. I hope the council will allow the professionals hired to complete the project, to do just that, and move forward with the previously recommended design.

    • Maureen says:

      Andrea, thank you so much for giving your time and expertise to be on the Branding Advisory Committee. You have background, experience and vision that are much needed in such a design process. I’m greatly disappointed to hear that a unanimous decision by all those on the advisory committee is NOT what’s being proposed today. (Why have an Advisory Committee if its recommendation will carry no weight?) What we’re seeing here as the current proposed logo has many weaknesses in both concept and execution. After watching the video online of the Sept. 26 City Council Study Session, I can see why. It is NOT TOO LATE to make a good decision… a good choice for the City of Burien!

    • Judy Coovert says:

      I agree totally with Andrea’s comment. This is NOT the result of the rebranding effort. I sat in hours of meetings, first on the selection group who interviewed the agencies. After that were many public meetings seeking input.

      The logo is just one facet of the rebranding effort. There was a committee of Burien citizens who unanimously agreed on a logo to submit to the Council. It (unlike this monster) was clean, concise and actually could be used in the real world. Think business cards, engraving on awards, embroidered clothing etc…..

      The committee’s decision was never considered and this is what you get. The Council needs to leave this to the professionals and stop thinking they are “designers”. They were given VERY poor input from the previous city manager.

  48. Jana Kleitsch says:

    Logos should be simple, scalable (looks good tiny or large), work horizontally and vertically and reproducible in one color. These are just the basics. Beyond the basics the logo should message the essence of Burien and allow the city to present us in the way we’d like to be conveyed. Great branding should be timeless. The current logo for Burien is awful and this one isn’t any better. I’d be happy to recommend various brand designers who can help create a brand Burien can be proud of without breaking the bank.

  49. Julie says:

    It’s terrible, everything about it ! And as one of the comments mentioned, where is the homeless shelter someone has erected right in front of the library, let’s not forget the homeless. I’m sure it will bring a big draw to the city if you include the drug addicts and homeless and thugs that the city does nothing about.
    I think a new city council is desperately needed. Lets start there.

  50. seahurst relic says:

    Our Council is considering cutting our police force by two officers, yet we are spending 150K on re-branding?? Use those dollars to hire additional police officers so that we can clean up this town and THEN develop some branding that we the people of Burien can be proud of. Because until we clean up this town anything else you put in a slogan or on a logo is just a facade.

  51. Le Rok says:

    I like everything except the building. It looks like a garage that belongs to an expensive house. And it seems that it won’t be easily printable on a small scale. Also the slogan brings up the image of a prison sentence. I know someone put thought into that but I want to be honest.

  52. Jason says:

    The logo is okay, its certainly NOT worth 93K! I think we as a community could create something much the same and not spend such a ridiculous amount of money for a logo. And shame on RayJay for trying to hustle us for such an insane amount. I personally know some graphic designers that could create this logo for a few thousand dollars. We have many better ways to spend tax payers money.

  53. The Dude says:

    The “B” really ties the logo together.

  54. Eric S says:

    The logo shown as the new logo looks amateurish at best. As mentioned previously, there must be many local artists that could have provided numerous better options.
    It is a bit disturbing that we do not seem to be looking at the actual logo recommended by the committee. What could be so difficult about providing accurate procedure and status on this re-branding; especially given the tax-payer dollars.

    Are the city council truly so removed from reality that they think $90k is appropriate for coming up with a graphic that most any high-school art student could provide?

    Can the city council actually show there will be positive return on investment?

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