Federal Way City Council backtracks on new city logo

In what appears to be a back-and-forth match of ping pong, the Federal Way City Council decided on Tuesday the city will not have a new logo.

Council members will, however, use the new tagline “Centered on Opportunity,” a message that will appear at the bottom of the city’s current logo.

“We had a lot of push back,” Senior Adviser to the Mayor Steve McNey said. “The community was not buying in on it, and their initial comments were they wanted it to be put out. The consultant did not advise us to do that.”

With Councilman Bob Celski away for family reasons and Councilwoman Dini Duclos abstaining from a vote, the resolution to reconsider the new logo was passed unanimously.

On March 7, the council voted 5-2 on a logo designed by Rusty George Creative, a consultant the city hired last year. The logo featured an American flag in the background of Mount Rainier, with “city of Federal Way, Washington” circling the image. Its colors were red, white and blue.

The logo was chosen after the council narrowed down several sketches that were presented to it. All together, the project cost $62,859 of the city’s $110,o00 contract with Rusty George, but McNey said the mayor plans on challenging some of those costs since the council ultimately only used the work the business did surrounding the tagline.

The expenses covered the cost to conduct a community survey, interview community members and research and design two batches of logos over the span of about one year. The survey generated roughly 630 responses, which the city has agreed to make public.

Prior to the council vote, city staff read a letter by former Councilwoman Kelly Maloney regarding the re-branding effort.

As a member of the ad-hoc committee that led the re-branding effort, Maloney urged the council to reconsider its vote of the logo it had approved on March 7.

“The logo does not represent the city in a different light,” she wrote. “When compared to other cities in the Pacific Northwest, there is nothing remarkable that stands out in this logo that says, ‘Federal Way is a great place to live,’ and it does not say, ‘Federal Way is a great place to do business.’ “

Maloney said it is discouraging that the city spent $62,000 on a logo – an expenditure she believes should have been used for an entire brand package, ready to implement. Instead, the city’s “thin” budget should go toward other priorities, such as public safety, she said.

“Questions have surfaced as to whether [Rusty George Creative] were guided toward the vision of a single person and away from providing a logo that would have reflected the survey results,” Maloney wrote. “In the end, Rusty George Creative delivered what was asked of them by the person or persons at city hall who were their contacts for the contract. Essentially, they delivered what their customer requested.”

When asked about Maloney’s allegations, McNey said he believed she was referring to him, but that it is “absolutely false.”

“Kelly’s taken beef with it because she’s the one who pushed this process from the get-go,” he said. “She’s the one who pushed it. Susan pushed it, and we have tons of emails that go to that.”

The logo has been a council initiative, not mayoral, McNey added.

“So when the council makes these kinds of decisions – this is why the mayor postponed it, we have a heavy workload and we are moving forward with a very aggressive agenda trying to re-brand the city and the PAEC and the park and all the other things we’re doing to make Federal Way a great place to live and to improve quality of life, like the Violence Prevention Coalition and the Aircraft Noise Task Force, all of those things that we’re trying to address,” he said.

“When you add something like this on it, all you’re doing is taking more staff time.”

McNey said he directed Rusty George Creative to halt all work for the re-branding effort, and it is unknown if the city will work with the company in the future for the marketing strategy.

The Federal Way City Council opted to not move forward with this logo, created by Rusty George Creative, for its re-branding efforts, after originally adopting it March 7. They did approve using the tagline “Centered on Opportunity” in the current logo. Courtesy city of Federal Way

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