Designers criticize Tainan’s ‘rash’ city emblem poll, urge public talks instead

By Hung Rui-chin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sun, Oct 20, 2013 - Page 3

Members of Greater Tainan’s cultural sector recently established the Anti Online Municipal Emblem Voting Alliance to oppose the local government’s holding of an online election to select the municipality’s emblem, an action the alliance denounced as rash.

The group is instead calling for in-depth dialogue between the people and the city government to decide the matter.

So far, 600 people have signed the petition on the alliance’s Facebook page, the group said.

Since the then-Tainan city was merged with Tainan county and upgraded to the special municipality of Greater Tainan in 2010, it has yet to be designated an emblem.

Online voting for the emblem began on Wednesday, with voters offered nine designs to choose from.

However, the alliance said that the Greater Tainan Government had failed to provide any standardized instructions regarding the emblem to contestants, resulting in two of the nine designs incorporating “Tainan” using the Chinese character for tai written in the traditional way (臺), while another two feature the shorthand way (台).

“If a standard is not set, how are designers supposed to make emblems that correspond to one another?” members of the alliance said.

A professional designer nicknamed Godki added that since the emblem would also be used as a logo, it could be compressed to as small as 0.5cm, rendered monochrome, or grayed out, meaning that guidelines were needed to ensure the designs would be conducive to multiple usages.

“All the nine potential emblems become jumbled and blurry when shrunk to that size,” Godki said, adding that even if the Greater Tainan Government were to dismiss aesthetic considerations for, its usage could still pose significant practical problems.

The alliance said that while it was not against the municipality choosing an emblem, it was wary of the closed process used to select the designers.

Despite the alliance’s complaints, the online poll has drawn a lot of interest from Greater Tainan residents and had garnered more than 15,000 votes as of Friday.

So far, of the nine contestants, design No. 4 — which features the window design unique to Greater Tainan as its outer frame and Fort Provintia (Sakam Tower) in the center — is in the lead with 7,200 votes.

Design No. 2 is in second place so far, having garnered 2,800 votes. It features a bowknot representing the union of Tainan county and Tainan city that is usually used in weddings to symbolize joy.