Mayor Rob Doyle’s big M has been getting caned and tarred (and a tiny bit of lovin’). What do the Melburnians hate more? – that the letter cost $240,000, or that a Sydney firm had to do it because, as the mayor explained, ‘We could [have], but I wanted the best product…’

As an accurate symbol of the city, comedian Dave O’Neil said: ‘If Melbourne is a 1990s rave party, then sure!’ Also spinning out at that rave party was Mayor Doyle, who said of the period when the previous logo was designed, ‘If I recall accurately I was listening to MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, and I still can’t understand that.’ From sunshine, gumleaf, Roman column and Vanilla Ice to … another kind of ‘ice’?


crystal_methm2As a graphic designer, I’d say the M is as shiny and exciting as crystal meth. And less proletarian than the other big Mmmm. But maybe lacks heart? And, mm, imagination? If you must use an initial as the city signifier, perhaps a bit more soul, a lick of charm would be nice. I’m thinking of Belfast city’s new logo from last year. B Belfast, B happy, B here now. Bouncy, memorable and altogether unearnest.


iloveny11Also, lest we forget, New York’s de facto symbol – the rebus I.heart.NY, from 1977. And, Melbourne city councillors, eat this: the legendary designer Milton Glaser worked pro bono, donating it to the city’s marketing campaign. Gratis, free, $0. After the 9/11 horror, Glaser contributed another effort, published by the Daily News. Bit of a stretch to imagine a similar conceptual extension with the bloodless crystal M. New York and Belfast, all heart. Melbourne, crystal meth.