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The Oak Park Penis: Does the Village's New Logo Look Like a Phallus?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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What would you do if your municipal branding consultant suggested at a public board meeting that your town's new logo look like a penis? That happened this week in upscale Oak Park, Illinois. As local bloggers and Twitter users in the west-suburban village continue to voice shock over the new logo, I put it to you, Chicago. Does Oak Park's new logo look like what I think it does?


This afternoon, my Twitter pal, Oak Leaves town hall reporter John P. Huston (@oakpark), posted to his News Peg blog an entry about Oak Park's proposed new logo. The official logo, pictured below, was proposed on Monday to the Village Board by Ed Barlow, director of client services of "community branding experts" firm North Star Destination Strategies, for use by the Oak Park Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Proposed Oak Park Logo

The logo and, um, strap line (I swear, the correct term) are meant to convey Oak Parkers as risk takers. I'd love to know how many of you out there think "risk taker" when you think about residents of Chicago's closest west-suburban neighbor. Progressive? Absolutely. But status quo? Overwhelmingly. (I suppose that's what you get when you a give your local branding campaign to a company in another state--North Star's HQ is in Nashville, TN.)


However, I'd much rather ask in the spirit of the impending holiday season, ahem, do you see what I see?  Especially when you compare Oak Park's potential new logo to these--for want of a better term--other phallic logo fails:



Apparently, lots of surprised Oak Parkers do think their village's new logo is in the same league as the above graphic (design) offenders. This post from Oak Park resident Christopher Richardson (@ursusmaritimus7)  on the Village's Live Here blog, written in advance of shortly after Monday's presentation, quickly generated some, er, pointed comments about the proposed logo. Among them, "giant diaper pin," "marital aid," and my personal favorite, "I can't believe they paid an agency for that," as well as the frankly restated logo sitting atop Chicagosphere today from @wbreaves.


The opinions on Twitter were even more blunt. So much so that the Oak Leaves saw fit to write about them yesterday. The tenor of those comments? How about, "That logo is bad" (@hotfunk), "No no no" (@robtwalicki), and "You have to be kidding, this stinks" (@skishome).


After learning of the logo debate from Richardson and Huston today, I asked my own Twitter followers whether they thought the logo really looked like a potential municipal penis. Here's what some of them had to say: 



About those ads that @egculbertson noted, they were proposed by the same branding consultant at the Village's board meeting. Here's one below featuring famous former Oak Park resident Frank Lloyd Wright. Look at where they put the logo--thankfully, not a little bit further to the left. (Download a PDF of the entire Oak Park brand logo presentation, including other sample ads utilizing the proposed logo, from this Oak Leaves mirror.)


flwoppenis



Incredibly, according to this Oak Leaves article, Barlow actually told the Village board during Monday's presentation:


"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not around. Every community has a reputation, but few have the effective means to manage it. Branding is the practice of managing your reputation."


I'm betting the public reaction to North Star's seemingly pubic logo isn't exactly what he had in mind. Of course, this is mostly the reaction from Oak Parkers. What do your eyes tell you about the potential logo?


And more to the point...WTF?!

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29 Comments

smiley said:

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Let me guess, Bruno was involved here

Marc Felion said:

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Oh My! I never go out to Oak Park. I may have to rethink my position.

Tracy Samantha Schmidt said:

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As a native Oak Parker, I am...not shocked by this.

Mike Doyle said:

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Tracy, your comment made me laugh out loud. As someone who spends a fair amount of working and social time in the O.P., I know exactly what you mean. How can a Village whose board can obsess over the placement of a sapling in a parkway margin at length at a public meeting be so clueless here? Actually, I think the best word about that board would be humorless...and that's probably why they didn't get the joke. I wonder, has anyone actually told them?

erwin said:

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This logo has nothing to do with the municipal government of Oak Park! It was proposed as a logo for the tourism & convention bureau. I guess journalism is dead now that blogging is in vogue. Let the misinformation flow.

Mike Doyle said:

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Erwin, a CVB logo 1.) becomes the public--or in this case, pubic--face of a municipality to the outside world; and in this case 2.) is being vetted by the municipality's own lawmakers. Your distinction is semantic. This phallus is being proposed as and will become an unfortunate symbol of the village. You know, to the other 6 billion minus 50,000 people who live outside its borders.

erwin said:

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Semantics are everything in journalism. It is called getting your facts straight. You did study journalism, right? This logo was part of a study presented to the village board, not vetted by them. I know little details like accuracy don't matter much in today's world of citizen journalists, but they should. Perhaps your obsession with phallic symbols says more about you than how others might view this.

erwin said:

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By the way, did you note the phallic symbol the Chicago Tribune provided for my profile?

Mike Doyle said:

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Erwin, I leave it to you to look up the meaning of vet. The review by the Oak Park Village board was exactly that.

In regards to the Tribune providing you with an avatar resembling a phallic symbol, in the newspaper's defense, perhaps it thought you could use one?

nick petticrew said:

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Mike, I haven't laughed this hard in a while. From a senior designer such as I, I can tell you that the caliber of this rebrand is beyond repairable at this point.

After reviewing O.P. new rebrand, I'm still trying to get a grasp over how something like this could slip up. It's utterly embarrassing and comical all at the same time. Too bad because I love O.P. and for it to come out with this, it is beyond disappointing. Sends all kinds of messages that don't account for what O.P. is about, or does it?

erwin said:

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I am going with the Tribune thought you would like it.

M. Wolff said:

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"step out of line" yet the logo is very much in a straight line. so the logo and strap line contradict each other. yikes, they paid this company how much?

Fernando Diaz said:

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a little bit of photoshop and that logo could be moved to the left and pointed in a different direction. thanks for pointing this out Mike, as I'm sure OP's leaders might want to reconsider. Someone could modify the image to display what many are thinking.

Shelaysanegg said:

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ok I totally read ...moved to the left and pointed in a different Erection....

viachicago said:

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Whats wrong with the old one? This is definitely a case of "if its not broke, why fix it?"
http://www.oak-park.us/images/header_op_logo.gif

Chasse Rehwinkel said:

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Hilarious, this made my day

Mike Doyle said:

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Actually, the logo looks like a penis IN a condom. Rethought in the light of day!

TimH said:

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Penis forrrr sure.

Mike Doyle said:

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There's a great update on this story from John Huston in the Oak Leaves today. Rich Carollo, CEO of the Oak Park visitors bureau, says of it, "It'll grow on you!"

You can't make that stuff up, folks. See here:

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/oakpark/news/1894108,oak-park-new-logo-phallic-111909-s1.article

He says the logo isn't going anywhere. And what's more, the CEO of North Star, Don McEachern says the whole debate about the logo "sounds a little sophomoric."
So the 95% of you who read this post and think the logo looks like...what it looks like have just been pwned. Does it hurt much?

Here's what I'd really like to ask Carollo and company: How long do you think it will take for an unfortunate new nickname to crop up for Oak Parkers who are now going to be officially branded to the world by a logo that looks like a penis? I can see it now. Oak Park: Village of Dick*****.

Oh, the humanity.

voluptuousrobot said:

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More like "Peter North" Star Destination Strategies.

googlymoogly said:

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"How long do you think it will take for an unfortunate new nickname to crop up for Oak Parkers who are now going to be officially branded to the world by a logo that looks like a penis?"

You mean like Poke Park?

Marc Felion said:

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I take issue with you calling the phallus an "unfortunate symbol." Why be such a prude about it? It's just a penis after all.

Mike Doyle said:

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Marc, of course no penis is unfortunate. Well, except for that guy I met when I was 19 who was heavily on the steroids, but I digress. I said the nicknames would be unfortunate, more than likely. And as I see from the comment above yours, they already are! Uh-oh...

doowop said:

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I suppose it might look like a penis...if you're Beavis and Butthead.

*dan bradley said:

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If it's not a penis, it's certainly a bullet, or, sideways, a bomb.

crimson said:

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You people have way too much time on your hands if you automatically think this looks like a penis, or else you are screwing some really weird people!

Shelaysanegg said:

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Well the penises I've seen look kind of like that...but without the letters...

Lorelei said:

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Oak Park- AND I LIVE HERE- mis-spends tons of money on tacky shit and things that don't reflect the overall personality of the people who live here... and ALSO those whose tax $$ get bled into aforementioned TACKY SHIT.

Since I'm posting here, can we comment on the RETARDED RAZOR-BLADES being used to advertise the so-called "Harrison Art District"?

minnie said:

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I think the logo is pretty accurate. Oak Park is made up of a bunch of the aforementioned symbol who *think* they are so progressive but could not be less tolerant of opposed to their own. Remember the middle schooler who wore the McCain tshirt to school? Surprised she wasn't stoned. No tolerance here for the middle-of-the-road crowd.

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