Rhode Island: Tepid & Vapid

At least mine rhymes. It certainly didn’t take long for the negative comments to kick in on social media regarding the state’s new logo and slogan — Rhode Island: Cooler & Warmer. But initially at least the response to the associated two-minute video spot had been favorable. Until it was pointed out that a few seconds of the promo feature a skateboarder zipping by in Reykjavik. Wow.

On Monday night this promotional initiative was being presented to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the quasi-governmental agency that has involved us in this million contract with a design firm who has taken the opportunity to make use of some old Iceland footage they never got paid for. Let’s not forget that the Commerce Corporation is the new name for the old Economic Development Corporation (EDC) the fine folks who brought you the 38 Studios debacle. The rebranding was supposed to hose off the stink so we could march optimistically into the future making better decisions with our money. (More at ProJo 3.28.16)

And why is the insipid color palette of the new design so similar to that of our last campaign (see below)? I just couldn’t bear to put the new logo on our front page, but luckily local photographer, musician, and man-about-town, Frank Mullin, has given me permission to use a version he whipped up. It still looks like crap but at least it makes me laugh.

I have a theory that the members of the Commerce Corporation, like most political appointees and government officials, are very insecure about making decisions in the area of design and marketing because they have no idea what the hell they are doing (sort of like video gaming that one time). But everyone has heard about the wildly successful “I Love New York” campaign, so they hired that guy . . . because he’s the guy who did the only campaign of this type that anyone has ever heard of. Even if it was 40 years ago.

And that man is the respected graphic designer Milton Glaser who, at 86 years of age, will probably not live to see next year’s all-new, exciting rebranding effort. Glaser took the bold step of drawing us a sailboat. Commerce Corporation CMO Betsy Wall told AdWeek.

. . . the state tapped Glaser because it wanted some “inspired design brought to this, we weren’t just looking for some corporate logo that—nothing against anonymous art directors—but that an anonymous art director was doing at their computer but something that really spoke to Rhode Island’s passion for design, nautical history and history of original thought. We wanted to make sure the mark reflected that.”

A sailboat for the Ocean State? There’s an original thought.

(The Font-apalooza below was supposed to help with our lack of self-esteem.)


1 thought on “Rhode Island: Tepid & Vapid”

  1. John McGrath

    Clealy you don’t fget it. That logo is supposed to be viewed only under the influence of drugs (LSD works best). And that’s not a sail, it is white candy kiss. The guy next to me, on LSAD and viwing the logo, kept joyfully shouting, “Beaches and Bitches and Bruiges and stuff.”

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