Why did this cost $250K?

I jokingly shared an article today about the new logo for the UNC system, saying it was "hideous," but it got me thinking about other egregious examples of graphic design and its cost to taxpayers. 

The UNC system has a new logo, which is horrible. It looks like someone was making a flag of North Carolina but ran out of the other two colors. I can understand wanting to rebrand the system, given its new leadership and everything, but really? At least we can take some solace in knowing that, given its quality, it must have been pro bono work.

But no. UNC System President Margaret Spellings says in the N&O article that, "the process to create the new look cost about $250,000." Wow. And they have been working on it since April. So just about a year of effort and a quarter million dollars later, the state of North Carolina can proudly showcase a blue, geometric rendition of the state with N★C in the middle. 

You really can't lay all the blame at the feet of Spellings, though. Just in the last few months, Charlotte and Raleigh both forked up massive sums of public money to create lackluster logos. Raleigh spent $226,000 on this gem, which looks like two designers couldn't decide on a logo and just stuck together two bad ones. 

I think Charlotte did much better with theirs, but I guess a crown isn't too hard to flub. What strikes me, though, is that Charlotte spent one-tenth as much on their design as compared to Raleigh. I admittedly know little to nothing about graphic design, but these prices are crazy. $25,000 sounds like a lot still, but in relative terms I guess it's pocket money.

I really have to stop being so negative, though. I do have to give credit where credit is due: Durham really knocked their logo out of the park in the recent redesign. And, would you believe it, it was the cheapest logo of all these examples. Their budget for the logo, among other standards, is just $20,000. 

Maybe people wouldn't think of bureaucracies and government as so wasteful if not for examples like these. Wouldn't it have been much better if each of the 17 schools had submissions for the logo, and the people who pay for and attend these schools decided? It would be even more representative of the state than if an overpaid designer made it, and at little to no cost. 

With all that said, if any municipalities or school systems are interested in passing their logos by me before you drop thousands on it, I'm always here.


Note: I appreciate that the logo itself likely didn’t cost the entire $250K, but the cost breakdown isn’t in the article. I would bet my pants that it was preposterous and in the tens of thousands, at least.