The branding and waymarking of the new community campus in Melksham is going to be one of its headlines and something that will set its enduring memory into the future. And it's because of that important role that a subgroup of the Community Opererations Board - the COB - looked at the whole look and feel, with a reachout to consultation with the local community, about 18 months ago.
At the tail end of last year, at a very poorly attended COB meeting, Wilsthire Council's graphic area representative presented her ideas, seemingly oblivious to the work done to that point, and (I am told, for I was one of the ones unable to attend) specifying very specifically the sort of thing acceptable to the council. That's fair enough under the rules - the COB is only advisory and we know that. Common branding is the mantra - so that services who use lots of campuses know how to find things and don't get confused by a differing style of signage, and perhaps because it's much easier for Wiltshire Council staff to go with a single design for 20 places, with just text and a symbol, and perhaps colour, changing.
Cutting a long story short - with an invitation to council staff to learn a little of the history and ethos of Melksham accepted in principle but never put into practice, and with information released reluctantly and late to the COB, we've been maing the levelest we can of a sloping playing field. With the key team member off for a period in early January, back for a very short while, and off again now on three weeks holiday, it's little wonder that there hasn't been the time to produce something that's "wow". And on that basis, looking to make the best of a mediocre job, I cast around for comment on the six of the designs that 'they' are prepared to put to the area board for filtering, and perhaps to public vote, this evening.
Image No. 1 - this is "Melksham Bridge" though it should be 4 arches not 3, and several of us feel it looks more like the viaduct at Chippenham than Melksham's Bridge
Image No. 2 - Milk Churns. Added by Wiltshire Council as an alternative to the Bridge and to a turret that was intended to appear to be the front of Melksham House, but looked more like Ludlow to several of us.
Image No. 3 - a stylised couple of trees and river. From Wiltshire Council.
Image No. 4 - a more defined OAK tree - added as an option to make it more "Melksham" than option 3
Image No. 5 - Community artwork, and there's an M in that symbol
Image No. 6 - Wiltshire Council originally suggested the Melksham Coat of arms - however, a stag and armour perhaps signify a past of hunting and war which may not be the right image, so the community's graphic artist drew up a new shield, with the symbol of the Long family who owned Melksham House for many years, celebarting also the oak link and local industry in the form of the rope - Melksham was a big rope making centre, and we still have "Rope Walk". In the four quarters were graphics represensting the activity areas of the campus - Library, Police, Sport and Medical. These representations have been removed by the council as they say it makes it "too complex at the scale needed", even though it's no more complex that the Melksham coat of arms, and have put forward as No. 6 what I consider to be a picture frame with no picture - potentially this community work is going to get public ridicule and show that Wiltshire Council knows best :-( ...
I have questions remaining
- what IS too complex / what are the sizing rules?
- Why is the "Where everyone matters" on the left in no. 1, when council rules for external designers say it must be on the right (we had quite a big re-arrangement of rail posters over that). I guess the rules are for externals, and don't apply to council staff.
Let's see what happens at Area Board tonight. Chances are that it will results in a public consultation where the public is given 3 or 4 options, and whatever wins that will go. So a veneer of public input, but in reallity the choice made by the council for the most part. And - heck - that's their right. Except we pay for and vote for the council, and they haven't exactly given a level playing field over this one in my view.
P.S. There just may
be scope for a last minute / next stage entry. I don't have anything with a "wow" factor to suggest, but if anyone's brave enough to put something forward and notices something / an option we haven't, please get in touch. Desparate for a good outcome for Melksham! (written 2015-02-11, updated 2015-02-12)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesZ405 - Melksham Campus 
Melksham Community Campus - which of these potential signs do you like? - (2015-02-07) 
The Campus in Melksham - name, logo, and livery choice - (2015-01-18) 
Melksham Campus - how is it going - October 2014 - (2014-10-06) 
Questions from children about Melksham Campus - (2013-05-26) 
Art, Catering, Transport - Melksham Campus Elements - reaching local experts - (2013-03-19) 
How much parking should there be at Melksham Campus? - (2012-10-21) 
What a difference a year made - Melksham Campus - (2012-10-12) 
The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 1, Campus and Chamber of Commerce - (2012-07-22) 
Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus - (2012-06-03) 
Low carbon and other environmental lessons for the Melksham Campus? - (2012-05-23) 
Abstraction - (2012-05-19) 
A walk around Melksham this morning. Can you place all of these? - (2012-05-17) 
Quintessentially English - scenes from our Wiltshire town - (2011-11-14) 
Melksham House / Melksham Campus - Seniors Input Sought - (2011-11-12) 
Melksham House - a community facility - (2011-10-31) 
Campus Shadow - a great responsibility - (2011-10-30) 
Some thoughts in answer to some Melksham Campus questions - (2011-10-14) 
The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14) 
Letter to The Editor - (2011-05-06) 
Between a rock and a hard place. - (2011-05-04) 
Melksham - the way forward. 26th April, Well House Manor - (2011-04-13) 
Campus - answer to business questions - (2011-04-01) 
Melksham Campus - a win / win opportunity, but a severely lacking decision process - (2011-03-31) 
Melksham Campus - any last minute inputs from Melksham businesses? - (2011-03-26) 
Melksham Campus - what, why, questions, concerns and how you can input - (2011-03-04)
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