"The graphic reminds me of some paint I spilled once on the garage floor ..."
— Story comment on brandonsun.com
When it comes to art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
And when it comes to public art — not to mention public institutional art — you’d better be ready for some hot and heavy criticism from a few armchair art critics.
We think the six new highway signs to be installed at the entrances to the city this summer — including two that will stand some 20 feet tall — are more like pieces of art than simple "Welcome to Brandon" markers.
That’s why we appreciate the modern design, the swirl of earth-tone colours and the simple "Brandon."
You needn’t jumble the canvas up with a bunch of useless words — of course you’re ‘welcome’ to the city, unless you’re a court-banished criminal — so the sign doesn’t have to say that.
It doesn’t have to say "The Wheat City" either, as most folks know that’s our nickname. And most folks scooting along those highways should also know that Brandon is Manitoba’s second-largest city.
What the city tried to do — and we believe succeeded nicely — is to show that Brandon does has some class, a dash of flair and some appreciation for style and substance.
That over a giant rock, banana or turtle.
A Sun online poll — which are always more of a novelty, than a scientific sampling — showed that 38 per cent of respondents either loved the new signage, or at least said they were OK.
However, 61 per said clicked on the box marked "Ugh!"
For those folks who would stick every service club logo, or try and cram in every feature or attraction that Brandon has to offer on a highway sign would be simply defeating their own best intentions.
Passengers in vehicles moving fast don’t have time to digest all that info — they would need to take notes to get it all down — and we also don’t want to be distracting drivers.
So we welcome the new signage that will, for years, greet highway travellers coming into Brandon no matter what direction they come from.
By way of background, the six new highway signs will be installed at the entrances to the city — including two that will stand some 20 feet tall.
At the time of the announcement last March, officials said the signs, designed with an earth palette to reflect Brandon’s agricultural heritage and affinity for nature, feature a logo that has been used to market Brandon for several years.
"Ultimately, the sign size coupled with its impactful, but timeless design conveys to the motoring public that Brandon is a vibrant, full-service urban centre," says Sandy Trudel, Brandon’s director of economic development.
"The linked ‘D’ and ‘O’ in the Brandon word mark symbolizes the sense of belonging that is the most common reason people site for staying or returning to Brandon. It speaks to the importance of community, family and support for one another and the fact that we are stronger together."
The two largest signs will be placed on the Trans-Canada Highway, east and west of Brandon.
Smaller signs, standing about 12 feet high, will be placed near Kemnay on Highway 1A, on Veterans Way, and both north and south of the city on Highway 10.