Yukon government defends $493K rebranding exercise

The Yukon government says it was high time for an overhaul of its website and official logo, and makes no apologies for what critics call a "pointless" exercise. 

"We heard from Yukoners that they often found our communications confusing and frustrating, and they weren't always sure if they were actually dealing with the government of Yukon," said government spokesperson Kendra Black.

"So we think this will make it simpler, easier, and more efficient for the public."

The rebranding project cost about $493,000, and involved redesigning the government's main website and its "visual identity." A new logo — made up of the name Yukon with a sun setting behind a mountain silhouette — along with new supporting graphics, will now be used on all official materials and publications.

"We found when we did the research last summer, that we had over 100 different logos that we were using, across the Yukon government," Black said. "It just created a lot of confusion."

The opposition Yukon Party, however, professed confusion over the government's priorities.

"This pointless rebranding is wasting close to $500,000 of taxpayers' money. Can you think of any better uses for half a million dollars?" MLA Brad Cathers tweeted.

Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, also weighed in.

Wudrick tweeted an image of the old Tourism Yukon "Larger Than Life" logo alongside the new government one, saying, "This cost $492,000" (the two logos are visually similar, but the new one will be used by all government departments, not just tourism).

New website mobile-friendly

Spokesperson Kendra Black, however, says the logo redesign was just a portion of the overall cost. The bulk of the money — about $250,000 — covered the cost of redesigning the website, which she says was sorely needed.

"Not only were we having lots of issues with it, it's not mobile enabled — which meant that the 56 per cent of our clients who access the website, 80 per cent of them on smartphones, had a really difficult time finding what they were needing to find, or wanting to find on the website," she said.

Some Yukoners, checking out the new site, were impressed and not too bothered by the price tag.

"It looks a lot nicer, it's a lot cleaner," said Reid Vanier. 

"Half a million dollars could probably be better spent elsewhere, but I think probably on the scale of this type of work and what people usually charge for it, it's probably not all that bad."

Derek Crowe agreed, and said the old government website "was incredibly tragic."

"I think that it needed an update," he said.

Correction : An earlier version of this story said the government's old logo had been in use for a decade. In fact, it's been used since 1982.(Feb 21, 2018 12:37 PM)