New signs polarise opinionpoll

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

COLOUR CODE: Shoalhaven’s new signage has got the town talking.THE rebranding of Shoalhaven was launched last week with new logos and signs throughout the city. It has been about 10 years since the last signage update, and as with that one, this new look has attracted praise and criticism.

Last week’s story received 27 comments on the South Coast Register website. Most of those were concerned about the money spent on the signage.

A few people commented that they did not like the colours or the font.

Do you like Shoalhaven’s new branding?Do you like Shoalhaven’s new branding?

It was a slightly different situation on the Register’s Facebook page with 77 likes, compared to the 21 comments most of which were also complaining about the money spent on signage rather than roads.

We asked Shoalhaven City Council’s tourism manager Steve Lawson what he thought of the online comments.

He said the cost of the project was about $80,000 but he pointed out it was not money that would have been allocated to road repairs.

“This was money made available to tourism to help stimulate economic development,” Mr Lawson said.

He said it was important people understood that cost in the context of the visitor economy which injected almost $800 million into the Shoalhaven economy each year.

“Our brand is extremely important in how we are perceived and we need to update it and constantly refresh it,” he said.

“Our brand is the face of Shoalhaven and we are competing with many destinations for the tourism dollar, for business and as a place people might want to relocate to.

“All around Australia towns are refreshing their brands.

“We review what our competitors are doing. We can’t look the same as everywhere else. That doesn’t drive prosperity,” he said.

As for people’s complaints about the chosen fonts and colours Mr Lawson said the designs and colours were done in consultation with community members.

“There were also 12 focus groups around the Shoalhaven. We did a lot of work to get to this,” he said.

“Those things are highly subjective but I respect people’s opinions and the fact that some people might not like it.

“We introduced a style and range of colours reflective of our environment. We will never find a style or colour that suits everyone.”

A few people commented on the state of the poles the signs had been attached to, saying some were bent, others had steel and timber uprights and many were surrounded by long grass and weeds.

Mr Lawson said those issues would be fixed under the regular maintenance schedule.

He said those issues were not dealt with at the time the new signs replaced the old signs because council wanted to get around to all the towns in a short space of time.

“It was a big splash we were aiming for,” he said.

“I’m sure we would have been criticised if we did Berry, and then a week later Kangaroo Valley and then Nowra.”

He said council conducted research in March, April and May last year into how people perceived Shoalhaven as a place and of their awareness of it as a destination.

“In about a year we will do some research into that again,” he said.

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