NEW branding for many of Somerset’s public services has been approved by county councillors ahead of a unitary council being created next April.

The new Somerset Council, as it will be called, will take over all the functions of the existing county council and four district authorities.

New branding will then begin to appear on council services, featuring a version of the Somerset dragon from the county’s coat of arms.

It has been designed by an in-house team at the council and was developed after testing with staff and residents.

Council services will be badged by a white dragon’s head placed in a teal five-sided shape, representing the five councils which will be replaced by the new council.

County council leader Cllr Bill Revans said: “We obviously need to clearly identify the services of the new council.

“It is important that residents know where their council tax goes, but we have been at pains to develop and implement the new brand as economically as possible.

“This is a challenging time for council finances, and we have to make sure we are spending taxpayers’ money as wisely as possible.”

Costs were kept down by designing the branding with an in-house team made up of designers from Sedgemoor and South Somerset district councils working with colleagues from the county authority.

Councillors have also decided against a ‘big bang’ roll out of the new brand, instead bringing it in over time and accepting that branding from the councils being replaced will continue to be seen for some years to come.

The design team went to great lengths to make the new brand clear and accessible, with the key colour supporting the highest level of accessibility and using a new typeface, Atkinson hyper-legible, a font designed with the Braille Institute, in the United States.

The new branding will first appear where the council has a legal responsibility to identify itself as provider of services, ranging from council tax statements to parking signs, and a brand new single website.

Cllr Revans said: “We will also rebrand key council services such as customer service points, libraries, and waste trucks, and have made an allowance in our budget for the local government reorganisation.

“Fortunately, the cost of new waste truck livery is included in our agreement with our contractors.”

As well as the dragon’s head, the design team has included topographical outlines of 12 Somerset landmarks, from Glastonbury Tor to Knowle Hill, to link the council’s publications to the county it serves.

The new council plans to add other landmarks over coming years in response to suggestions from residents.