The Yukon government’s new logo is shown with some approved variations. (Yukon government)

Yukon government launches new website and logo

Opposition slams $500K project cost as a waste

The Yukon government launched a new website and logo today.

Yukon.ca will replace the old Yukon government website. The price tag for the re-branding and the new website comes in at a total of about $500,000. That includes $250,000 in the 2017-18 fiscal year for planning, design, development and assessments of the new site.

The new logo is not exactly unfamiliar. It’s essentially the former Travel Yukon logo with mountains and a sunset. In the new version, the mountains and sunset are shifted over one letter and the word Yukon is in a different font.

“We talked to members of the public through a series of focus groups last summer and we found that there was considerable attachment to the Larger than Life logo. So people really liked the logo, they thought it reflected Yukon well,” said Kendra Black, a spokesperson with the Executive Council Office.

Every government department will be using the same logo. Even Travel Yukon will switch over to the new design though it will keep the Larger Than Life tagline underneath.

Black said that people the government spoke with said they found the multiple logos that currently exist with different departments confusing. She estimates there were at least 100 different logos being used by the government.

“What we heard from the public was that they were often confused about whether it was actually a government service or not,” she said. “It wasn’t unusual to have two or three or four logos from different government departments on one publication.”

The government has gone so far as to recommend that departments stop referring to themselves as departments at all.

“Whenever we can, we will refer to ourselves as the Government of Yukon rather than by the department or branch we’re in. This is clearer for the public and helps communicate that we are one government with the common goal of serving Yukoners,” according to the government’s new 44-page brand standards.

“This means we’ll no longer give our departments individual names, such as ‘Environment Yukon’ or ‘Yukon Education.’”

The new rules lay out exactly how the new logo is to be used and when.

Black said the government has estimated it will save up to a million dollars a year by having rules around colours, fonts and design standards in place.

“Right now, every time we produce a government publication we start from scratch on design, and colours, and fonts, and how we’re going to lay it out,” she said.

The official Opposition is questioning the government’s decision to spend this kind of money on a re-design.

The Yukon Party said the cost does not include the cost to re-print business cards and letterheads for example or re-do Yukon advertisements.

“At a time that the Liberals are taking Yukon into a deficit they have chosen to waste taxpayers’ money on a needless redesign of the government logo and website,” said finance critic Brad Cathers said in a statement.

“This money could have been better spent on addressing hospital overcrowding or investing in community infrastructure.”

Black said the government won’t be re-printing all its letterhead or business cards just yet.

The plan is to replace things only as government employees run out. Larger projects with the government logo on them, like signs, will be replaced as they reach the end of their lifecycle, she said.

“We’re going to be looking at it a year from now in terms of where we are, but we’ll be taking a very cost-effective approach to this transition,” she said.

“You will see both brands existing for the next little while for sure.”

The government’s old web hosting technology was more than 10 years old, said Mark Burns, the government’s director of e-services for citizens.

The new hosting service, Drupal, is open-sourced and is the same service use by many websites including the one for the White House, he said.

Being open-sourced means it will be easier for the website to connect with programs used by different departments. It also means the government will be able to work with more local firms because no one company owns the right to work on the site, he said.

The government estimates it will cost $75,000 for ongoing annual maintenance and support of the new web platform. It says that’s about half of the cost of the old system.

Burns estimates the government has about 11,000 pages to migrate over to the new site.

He said the old site will remain active for approximately a year.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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