‘Simple,’ ‘lame,’ and flat out ‘garbage.’ The new Tennessee state logo is being called plenty of things, and this week, it earned the title ‘Pork of the Year’ in a poll organized by the Beacon Center of Tennessee.
The organization surveyed hundreds of Tennesseans, asking them to weigh-in on the biggest example of government waste. 47 percent of participants chose the $46,000 logo project.
Beacon Center spokesman Mark Cunningham said the logo project serves as a perfect example of wasteful government spending.
“It’s a very simple logo that anybody could have done. It took them nine months to create this graphic and it was terrible,” Cunningham said.
The ‘them’ Cunningham is referring to is the outside agency GS&F, a Nashville design firm awarded the logo contract after submitting the lowest of three bids.
“To spend $46,000 and nine months to do that is crazy,” Cunningham said.
Aside from the money used for Tennessee’s first official state logo, Cunningham said the people polled said the logo’s simple design — a red square with white letters ‘T-N’ inside, floating above a single navy line — was unimpressive for that kind of money.
But Tony Treadway of Johnson City’s Creative Energy ad and marketing firm said it’s unfair to fault the design firm without understanding the objectives outlined in the agreement between the State of Tennessee and GS&F.
“Change is always hard. But I think we really ought to undtri star puberstand the challenges that community or that company had with creating the logo before we place all the blame on that agency or that company,” Treadway said.
Governor Bill Haslam is standing by his decision to approve the state logo, calling the simplicity a way to create identity continuity.
“The state of Tennessee right now has 172 different logos, so people think well what are you replacing? Well we’re not changing the state flag or the state seal, we just want to have one consistent identification across state government,” Haslam said.
Many critics argue that the symbol of the three stars representing East, Middle and West Tennessee on the state flag should have been used for the state logo, but Haslam’s administration said the tri-stars could not be trademarked because it’s a public domain symbol.
The Haslam administration said the new state logo will be unveiled on the redesigned tn.gov website in the upcoming weeks.
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