Gilbert’s new logo – a G-shaped logo abstract in the colors of pink, orange and navy blue – is being stamped on all its assets, including its webpage, street signs, business cards and town merchandise.
But where the public won’t see the colorful emblem is on police and fire uniform patches.
Gilbert Fire and Rescue will continue using its current design and Gilbert Police are still in the process of designing their new patch with their uniform committee, town spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison said, adding it may take a couple of months before it’s ready.
The current police patch features the old town logo that looks like a swirl.
Police and fire weren’t the only ones not enamored with the town’s new logo, an in-house branding effort that took 2.5 years.
Mayor Brigette Peterson made clear her distain for the new logo, which she placed for discussion on the March 2 study session agenda.
“I’ve been asking for like two months to be able to bring this back before things were able to get a lot further then they were,” said Peterson, who took office in January. “I kept getting kind of stonewalled. Patrick did everything in his power to get me not to bring it forward this evening.”
She was referring to Town Manager Patrick Banger.
According to Chief Digital Officer Dana Berchman, many departments have already put in orders for items with the new brand and that a production company was fabricating the final sign designs for review. The logo even has gone up at the recently opened Public Safety Training Facility.
Peterson said she’s been getting comments from hundreds of people in the community wanting to know what she was going to do about the logo.
“I kept telling them that I didn’t think there was anything I could do but I had at least wanted the opportunity to have my say,” she said, adding:
“I have never felt so passionately about something that I would go this far and bring it back to have a discussion like this ever. I have pretty much been a team player from day one.”
She said she didn’t get the opportunity to weigh in on the logo when the Council approved it Dec. 15,
“But now I’m the one that has to tell people that we’re stuck with it,” she said. “I don’t agree that this was the best move for our community.
“This logo, in my opinion, doesn’t fit this community and the comments that I am getting from people are just – you would be amazed at the comments I’m getting from people. Someone in a nearby community said, ‘it was about time Gilbert screwed up something so bad to make the rest of us look good.’
“How am I to respond to those comments especially when I don’t agree with what we have.”
Peterson said the new logo
“embarrasses” her as people likened it to Pac-Man, an icon used in a video game.
“It’s not what I envisioned for this community,” she continued, adding she had hoped the town would put it on hold and go back to the old logo and not spend the time and money to implement it.
Councilman Laurin Hendrix said he was on the Council for a short time when he sided with the unanimous vote to approve the logo but now he supported Peterson’s view.
“This logo does nothing for me,” he said.
Councilman Scott September said he initially did not like the logo nor the process in coming up with the design. Council members didn’t have any input on the logo until staff presented it to them for acceptance.
But after a subcommittee of three council members, including himself, tweaked the color palette and shape, he said he now liked the logo.
But September also said, “I’ve heard a lot from the men and women in uniform in police and fire that would not be proud to wear the logo on a patch on their uniform.
“That is where I have the problem. I want those men and women who risk their lives for us to be proud of the uniform they put on, the uniform we ask them to put on.”
Peterson said she agreed with September that police and fire “patches should be their own and they should have full say over their patches.”
She said the two departments should be allowed to come up with their own design and “that we should not be involved, other than a nod at the end to make sure it’s nothing we disagree with or find disrespectful in any way.”
Councilman Scott Anderson said it will take time for the public to embrace the new logo.
“This isn’t my first rodeo with doing logos in this town,” said Anderson. “I can tell you our current logo was not accepted by this community until six months to a year after we implemented that.”
He said if the town were to go back to the old logo, which some say resembled a flushing toilet, it would get more criticism for using it again.
“I’m done,” Anderson said. “We made a decision and I’m done. We need to give the community, those who are naysayers of this logo the opportunity to get used to it.”
Councilwoman Kathy Tilque, the longtime leader of Gilbert Chamber of Commerce until she retired last year, said she has grown to like the logo.
“Whenever you look at a piece of art, a logo or whatever it is and you have a reaction, it’s up to that individual to look at it and see the positive,” she said.
If someone sees the logo as something negative or as a Pac-Man, it might be due to their mindset in life and not the logo itself, according to Tilque.
“You’re our mayor and I think you have to be able to be proud of what we are doing,” she told Peterson. “This is a big issue for you and I understand that but I think you might have to change your mindset on it and be able to tell people the positive things of what it is representing or else this is going to be a hard four years for you as you move forward.”
Anderson said many people don’t understand the representation behind the logo and maybe it’s the town’s job to better educate the public.
“That would be a great place to start,” Peterson said. “Because I have no idea what it is.”
Banger said a lot of staff time and effort was put into the logo.
“We endeavored very hard to gather input and to come up with something that would represent this community and everyone in this community that they could see themselves in and no one would feel excluded by something that may not resonate with them personally,” Banger said.