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'Pretty exciting': Calgary's 'Blue Sky City' logo revealed


Calgary's new logo for its 'Blue Sky City' civic brand has officially been revealed as creators of the design hope it sends a welcoming message and acts as a nod to innovation.

The visual identity developed by Calgary Economic Development (CED) and Tourism Calgary uses beadwork to symbolize the story of each individual Calgarian coming together to show the "sum of their parts is greater than the whole."

It features a traditional red colour palette, but also incorporates blue and yellow.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek says the logo showcases the city as a place of confluence where people's lands, cultures and ideas come together.

It will be officially unveiled to the public at the First Flip – the first official Stampede event of the year.

"Our city has been through many challenges over the years, but we are resilient and community focussed. When we come together, there is no limit to what we can overcome and achieve," she said.

"Stampede is about our city coming together to celebrate that community spirit. I can't think of a better time to share this milestone with Calgarians."

The new visual identity follows the release of Calgary's new Blue Sky City brand in April that hopes to evoke "blue-sky thinking" and portray the city as a place of "unexpected possibilities."

A blue sky also serves as a reference to Calgary being the sunniest city in Canada with an average of 333 days of sunshine annually.

"As a city evolves – so too does its brand," said Alisha Reynolds, president and CEO of Tourism Calgary.

"Tourism Calgary works every day to attract national and international visitors to our city, which in turn injects billions of dollars into our economy. Having a strong brand – one that honours our past while also embracing who we are today – is an investment in our city."

The new brand investment itself cost millions of dollars – $4.8 million to be exact – and has been in development for over two years.

In 2022, city council awarded $1.8 million to CED and $3 million to Tourism Calgary to redevelop the brand, involving engagement work from 129 organizations across 26 sectors.

To date, $1.7 million has been spend on brand development and rollout with the remainder of the funds to be spent over the course of the next four years.

It's not yet known when Calgary's former 'Be Part of the Energy' signs will be removed, but the city will decide on next steps.

President and CEO of CED Brad Parry says engagement efforts through workshops, cross-country focus groups and surveys was essential to include a broad range of individuals, taking into account age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and geographic location.

"Calgary's story doesn't belong to any one group; it belongs to all Calgarians and it's a story about our collective voices that come together to tell a larger story about who we are as a city," he said.


Looking to the future

CED and Tourism Calgary says research it conducted showed Calgary's former brand didn't resonate with Calgarians or people outside Alberta.

President of Decide Campaigns and co-host of The Strategist podcast, Stephen Carter, says the logo sends a message of "looking to the future."

He notes that the various visual identities are also a nice departure from the past single logo and that getting away from 'Be Part of the Energy' or 'Stampede City' allows the city to expand beyond those singular themes.

"It was telling during the water advisory with people worried about the water situation impacting Stampede and the city said, 'Well, don't worry about it, as many people leave the city as come into the city for Stampede," Carter said.

"It tells you an awful lot about how Calgarians think about the stampede city brand, or how we thought about the energy city brand, this Blue Sky City brand has different connotations.

"I think we're thinking of it right now as the beautiful sky that we see above us. But I think that others will see it as an openness of thinking and that I find pretty exciting."

Carter adds that the price tag might see some criticism from Calgarians, but says it's justified based on the work of professionals.

"Expensive people get paid expensive rates and they deliver expensive products," Carter said. "It adds up to a lot of money though when people do significant amounts of outreach and engagement."

He suggests there could have been a little less emphasis on that element, but admits "engagement with Calgarians to be very challenging."

"The average Calgarian just doesn't care that much about these things. So getting them to engage (and) getting them to think about these things – it's hard to do and therefore the price goes up higher."


How was the money spent?

CTV News viewer Wayne Webster in particular was one of those Calgarians upset about the cost. He has since submitted a freedom of information and privacy request to CED and the City of Calgary to find out how the $4.8 million was spent.

"I was thinking the other day that they could have saved a lot of money just by holding a contest among all school kids in Calgary to come up with a new slogan," Webster wrote in an email to CTV News Calgary.

"It probably would have cost them about $100 in total and they could have done it all online. I am sure that any kid could have done a lot better than what Calgary Economic Development and Tourism Calgary came up with. The city then could have used the $4.8 million to build housing for the poor." Top Stories

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