Philadelphia Water Department resolves identity crisis with $63,000 logo

 The old and new Philadelphia Water Department logos (Images via phillywatersheds.org)

The old and new Philadelphia Water Department logos (Images via phillywatersheds.org)

The Philadelphia Water Department is dishing out more than $60,000 for a fresh logo as part of a new branding initiative.

Part of the reason for the brand reboot? Customers were often mixing up PWD with PGW, which stands for Philadelphia Gas Works.

“We did hear that that was sort of the top item of confusion. People did not often know. Even when we got letters from customers, or emails, they would say PGW versus PWD,” said water department spokeswoman Joanne Dahme.

Sure, both logos are three letters. Both are blue. Each utility has vehicles that might show up in front of your house when problems arise, or they might send you bills that you really don’t want to open.

But the water department is tired of getting calls about PGW. So the department is ready to end the misunderstanding; it’s tossed out the three-letter logo from the ’80s for a new one that plainly states “Philadelphia Water.”

Over the coming months, the new logo will appear everywhere the old one did: on vehicles, letterhead, office windows.

“I think it will be very clear. When they see our vehicles, when they see our staff on the streets, they’re going to see Philadelphia Water, and they’ll have no confusion as to what utility is on their block,” Dahme said.

The pricetag, first reported by Philly.com, is a slice of a $350,000 contract handed to LevLane, a Philadelphia advertising agency.

The department’s old logo? It was developed by an art school student in 1987 for $250.

Longtime local government wonk Phil Goldsmith said other agencies that have been hit with controversy – Department of Licenses & Inspections and the Fire Department, to name two – could perhaps use a branding reset more than the city’s water department.

“The only time people really notice it is when there’s a water main break, and then everyone gets annoyed,” Goldsmith said. “Other than that, they can flush their toilet every day and take a shower and bath, and I think the water department has had a good reputation.”

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