The image of the Cité de Mission is getting a facelift.
Councilors voted unanimously to begin a rebranding process on February 7, which includes changing the slogan, fonts, colors and logo bearing the steeple of Westminster Abbey on a hill overlooking the river Fraser.
“The visual identity of the mission must have the depth necessary to authentically nurture cross-cultural knowledge, celebrate multiculturalism and foster inclusion,” the report states.
The project has been in discussion since 2019, and staff see an opportunity to revamp the “underdeveloped brand” alongside Mission’s reclassification to town last June, communications manager Taryn Hubbard said.
The staff report says the 15-year-old brand “reduces the breadth of our history,” when it should reflect the diversity of its residents and their stories, and inspire civic pride and belonging.
According to staff, it is currently a single graphic and its elements that are used inconsistently and inefficiently across the city.
Mayor Paul Horn said it was never intended to be the city’s logo, but was adopted by the city’s economic development corporation as a cost-cutting measure. He added that the Mission community and business leaders strongly support the rebrand.
“It’s not just a name change, but literally and clearly a change of ethnicity that we become a city,” Horn said. “Part of that will be capturing the words, stories, images and turns of phrase that describe who we are.”
The report says Westminster Abbey did not move to the city until 1954, the community is not emotionally connected to it, and the religious symbolism may be seen as insensitive given the legacy of St. Mary.
Com. Carol Hamilton said she disagreed with the complete removal of the steeple from the mark, as she and other longtime residents identify with it.
“We can’t lose sight of it,” Hamilton said. “When you drive west into Mission, you see the steeple.”
Hubbard said there are other opportunities to expand Mission’s brand beyond the primary logo.
The rebanding process will take years and happen in phases.
Phase 1 has a budget of $90,000 and includes a community engagement process in the winter of 2022, hiring a graphic designer the following spring, screening, and then initial implementation in the fall .
Community engagement will include public surveys and concept interviews with local First Nations, residents, community groups, local businesses and students, to name a few.
“These comments will inform the material that is given to a professional graphic designer, who will take these ideas and distill them into three ideas,” Hubbard said. The board will then have to make a decision.
The brand will then be implemented throughout the mission. The City’s website will also be completely redesigned.