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Simply Walsall

In the last few years, two public organisations in Walsall have undergone renewals, and both have choosen to reflect this change with simpler identities.

Walsall Council

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, after many year under Labour rule, became a Conservative council in 2004. This led to a number of construction projects being initiated in the area, most notably upgrades to the ring road, canal-side developments on Wolverhampton Street, and the creation of a new Civic Quarter in the town centre. Possibly to reflect this change in direction, in 2005 the council revealed a modernised logo, and simplified its name to Walsall Council.

Walsall Council: The original logo and the revised version (2005).

The new logo is cleaner and more contemporary than it’s predecessor, and from what I’ve seen only available in one colour — great news for tax payers as this significantly reduces printing costs.

Whilst most councils tend to prefer abstract representations of leaves and trees when they rebrand, perhaps in the hope that it will make their respective locations look greener than they actually are, Walsall Council chose to retain their coat of arms. However it has been redrawn, no doubt with an eye to better reproduction on screen (note the thicker strokes outlining key elements of the design). The word-mark, after some detection work, appears to be set in Cronos Pro. This sans-serif font, plus a consistent font size and upright letter-forms drastically increases legibility over the previously italicised serif incarnation.

As you can tell, I’m really pleased with the updated logo. Whilst it won’t win any awards, it’s beautiful in it’s simplicity — cheaper to reproduce, easier to read, contemporary whilst at the same maintaining an element of tradition.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to find any information about who was responsible for this identity. Please leave details in the comments if you know.

Walsall College

Another big regeneration project nearing completion in the town is the new campus for Walsall College (the buildings currently on St. Paul’s Street will soon be demolished to make way for a Tesco supermarket). Perhaps it’s no surprise that this organisation recently revealed a new identity too. Previously known as Walsall College of Arts & Technology (such a mouthful that it was often shortened to WALCAT), it also simplified it’s name to just Walsall College.

Walsall College: The original logo and the revised version (2009).

Unlike the Council, there seems to be no desire to retain elements from the previous logo. Frankly I never understood what the previous logo was meant to represent, although I guess the wave like shapes were intended to be wings of some sort (where wings equate to aspiration and reaching higher). The new logo does keep the wing-like motif, yet is equally vague, with the wings coming together to form a rib-cage like shape. Again, if you know who was behind this logo, please let me know.

Remarks Kris Angie Tuffill Kevin Williams Dan Slee Edward Black
  • Kevin Williams

    The re-working of the Walsall Council logo was the work of my graphics team in the in-house Walsall Council Print and Design Unit. We branded the council back in 2004 and continue to manage the brand development. Thanks for your kind comments.

  • Dan Slee

    Thanks for the positive feedback (although I’m not quite sure about the Womble reference, Angie!).

    The logo was re-designed in 2004 by our in-house Print & Design team. This was to make the logo less busy and more accessable to people.

    It’s black and white to minimise reproduction costs although the Mayor’s Office is entitled to use a version that has a colour crest.

    It was very much a conscious decision to rebrand as ‘Walsall Council’ rather than the legally accurate but its-a-mouthful-to-say-it ‘Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.’

    Legally, we remain Walsall MBC but there was a drive to refer to ourselves as Walsall Council across all media. It’s simpler. It is, afterall, also what residents refer to us as.

    I’m told that the designer responsible in Kevin Williams team was one Steve Bagley.

    Dan Slee
    Walsall Council press office
    Twitter: @walsallcouncil

  • Edward Black

    Regarding the new Walsall Council logo. I’m (not) sorry to say that it isn’t as good as its predecessor. During my thirty years in the business I’ve always found that imagination is free.