A Brand for London

About this project

London is having an identity crisis. See below. It’s up to all of us to fix it.


We need one of these:

Fortunately, Boris has issued a public brief for the creative development and design of a brand for London. We think the best way to respond to this brief is to get London involved.

Because we all know what happens when you don’t ask Londoners first!

We’ve had a chat with Scott Thomas. He was the Design Director on the Obama campaign, so knows a thing or two about using the public voice to shape an identity. He believes in keeping things simple.

Follow our thoughts and possible solutions and give your feedback on our pitch blog, and send your views on London to our Twitter feed @we_are_london.

Check out what we’ve thought about already…


49 Responses

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  1. Twitted by bkcl said, on August 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    […] This post was Twitted by bkcl […]

  2. Dan Shearman said, on August 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Based on New York’s logo, it embraces the “Love” of the city. We need something with equal warmth, incorporating the pride we feel for being part of London.

    Whatever it may be, let’s hope that it overrides the car crash of a logo created by Wolff Olins in 2007, that should not have only represented the 2012 games, but the city of London… It failed.

    I have an I heart NY mug in my Kitchen.. and live in London. Let’s show our pride! And not through crude pink shapes, that could be drawn by a 5 year old.. Yes Wolff Olins… that’s you.

    • thomas said, on September 2, 2009 at 10:00 am

      for me Big Ben, The Wheel, The tube map are all worldwide recognised Icons, it is difficult to choose one from another. I believe the new logo has to encompass the diversity of the city’s landmarks, diversity of its population, diversity of its architecture, diversity of cultures. I personally would use the word LONDON and write the letters in different “shape / form” to reflect that diveristy! And use a tag line such as be part of it. Maybe cheesy, but straight to the point…..

  3. Adam Tudhope said, on August 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Anywhere you go around the world people use the tube logo as a catch all representation of London, possibly even of England. I’ve seen mugs and t-shirts with the tube logo on it in the US, Japan, Australia, etc. etc.

    The association is roughly speaking with Carnaby Street, the King’s Road, the swinging Sixties – London’s hey-day. So good associations I’d say.

    It’s such an established symbol, that I imagine different words in the box, different colourways (like the way designers use the Union Jack) would all work. It’s certainly simple.

    • Dan Shearman said, on August 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      Adam.. Not knocking your view by any means, but this logo needs to be something that makes us feel proud to live in London. Have you been on the tube lately?

      • Tia Gallacher said, on August 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm

        if you want to give the impression of, dirty, smelly, crushed trains, arrogant commuters then sure it could work

    • Moving Brands said, on August 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

      Could we miss a trick if we don’t use such a recognised symbol? Is this association something that has legs in the future?

      • Dan Shearman said, on August 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

        I don’t think so. We need a brand set apart from the London Underground symbol. Few Londoners feel any sense pride for the underground, the brand doesn’t instill positive emotion.

    • Jon Ashley said, on August 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

      As an American IxD Designer who has always wanted (but have never gotten to) to visit London, live & work in London, play London with my band, etc. ever since I was a kid listening to the Beatles… That “Underground” symbol, and the associated tube map style – is always what I think of visually when I think of London.
      Just an outsiders view… 60’s, British pop/fashion, etc. – I think you’re right Adam (It was my thought too, before I ever saw your post;)

  4. Tia Gallacher said, on August 28, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    It not just about graphic design, as a graphic designer i have always found words the most powerful, that also why the IloveNY works so well, simple is always better. Im afraid that the advertising agencies and graphic designers will do the usual ‘trying to hard’ to impress.
    I vote for something like ‘WE ARE LONDON’

    • Dan Shearman said, on August 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

      I agree. Personally, I thought the brand for Belfast was closest to the mark. Simple, but expresses the pride of living in the city. That’s the sort of brand that attracts tourism. Link – http://tinyurl.com/nrb6mz

    • Couchideas said, on August 29, 2009 at 1:36 am

      Like this http://www.fallon.com/

      Or this http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/visitingportal

      WE ARE

      I AM

      That has been done so many times.

      In my opnion they should expand the brand architecture of Saffron’s Visit London

      • Couchideas said, on August 29, 2009 at 1:39 am

        Oh and don’t forget this one


      • Tia Gallacher said, on August 29, 2009 at 6:08 am

        its not just about tourism…’visit’ london doesnt have enough ‘staying’ power

      • Couchideas said, on August 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm

        @ Tia Gallacher
        No I know, but drop think above it instead of visit or mayor of etc. Expand the Brand Architecture. This is the first logo that isn’t pretentieus or tries to appeal to young audiences for whatever reason.

        It has to be authentic for any Londoner to accept it and in my opinion this identity has that authenticity. It stays away from temporary pop-culture identity crisises and designers needs to be rockstars. It does the Job very well.

        Spend the time (read money) and effort in programs that actually benefit the Londoner.
        Here’s an example from I AMsterdam. After a check of the Red Light District it showed that there was human trafficking going on in some of the “windows”. City closed some of “windows” and put in the heart of the Red Light District start-up creative entrepeneurs. Young fashion artists, graphic designers and even a project from Heineken (little brand store, not payed for by the city) developed by young ones from Amsterdam. All of it to a certain extent subsidized. Everyone benefited literally, I mean like in the pocket!

        If your startpoint is the Londoner, then allocate the funds to the Londoner. Don’t make another (from the sounds of it) failed branding attempt.

    • Stef Jones said, on September 1, 2009 at 4:57 am

      Using ye olde underground symbol feels so un-London to me because it’s so predictable. How memorable would ‘I heart NY’ have been if they’d used the Statue of Liberty? (or if the’d said I ‘love’ NY for that matter) London to me is very liberal and creative and defiant. (but it’s a place of contradictions too; do we love London? Or do we hate it as much as we love it? )Things start here – we are innovators. We are bold. I love the ‘I am’ idea. I like it’s sense of pride and unity; I am Sparticus. I just can’t help wanting it to subvert itself somehow- it being London.

      • Tia Gallacher said, on September 1, 2009 at 8:53 am

        I didnt really think about it like that, but is so true what you say about loving yet hating! Im sure many other people would agree with you with this one.

        I think we have to accept that whatever the choice is, some will not like it, for whatever personal reason. Thats the thing with branding/design/art/music etc etc…its personal choice. You only have to look through the various posts on this page to come to that conclusion.

        Ye olde or ‘modern’ will they ever find something that fits?…..a challenge it is

  5. Louise Ferguson said, on August 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    There’s a lot there, but some more you’ve missed out :-/

    • Moving Brands said, on August 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm

      Which ones are missing?

  6. Michael Murdoch said, on August 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    The 2012 logo isn’t so bad. It’s easy to get on the band wagon and put it down.

    The great thing about the 2012 logo is that it changes with it’s location. The new London logo needs to do the same. London is sooooo diverse and this needs to be displayed. Perhaps a single logo with a changing icon, colour, pattern etc. ???

    Great that MB have opened this up too!



  7. Tia Gallacher said, on August 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    World city london

  8. Matthew Low said, on August 28, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I know everyone allready shot down poor Adam with his underground suggestion, but it realy is the only one i see working long term. Like he said, its allready a logo recognised and appreciated all over the world. As much as you all feel it represents cramped trains, is the logo for londoners or everyone else? the NY symbols has lasted, and realy thats what you want, and thats what the underground symbol can realy do, i mean it allready does do that. the other suggestions, of things resembling the dublin logo; i had never seen that logo before, and i will not remember it tomorrow. underground symbol all the way, its historic and its renouned.. those are the qualities your looking for.

  9. Aly said, on August 29, 2009 at 12:09 am

    How about

    Anyway I dont see how its an identity crisis. NYC has a different logo for its tube:

    for its tourism http://www.nycgo.com/

    for its transportation authority http://secondavenuesagas.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/mta-logo.jpg etc.

    Different brands for different things. and Tube logo is timeless, dont diss.

    • Couchideas said, on August 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

      Agree with you! There is no identity crisis.

      It’s actually quite well done if you look at all the logo’s. But if they need more uniformity the City should expand the Saffron VISIT LONDON Brand Architecture.


      And whatever the City of London chooses, they should in my opinion not go for a pay-off or identity driven slogan like: We are, I am, This is, We can bla bla bla.

      London is simply LONDON

  10. Katja Murta-Bisse said, on August 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    As a foreigner the multi culti cosmopolitan aspect should not be ignored – we all love London for it!!!

    • Couchideas said, on August 30, 2009 at 1:36 pm

      Understandable. But if you connect the London identity tot multiculturalism it will be shot down by extreem right wing parties….Don’t go there….Please…

      For every positive thing you show, they will show ten bad misleading ones.
      In the Netherlands the term multiculturalism is a definite no-no because of that reason.

      Cosmopolitan on the otherhand will work!

  11. Nigel Tufnel said, on August 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    London doesn’t need a brand.
    Want to make something boring? Give it a brand! The whole concept of branding something by function is reductive, and to condense everything in London down into a motif that looks good on a letterhead is a horrible idea and a problem that doesn’t exist. London’s “branding” should be it’s relentless variety, something that is a million miles away from an exercise in branding/blanding

  12. Katja Murta-Bisse said, on August 30, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    OK point taken….what about “JUST LONDON” , since it means, represents and evokes different things to each individual person…..

  13. Katja Murta-Bisse said, on August 30, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    ….or =) smile, you are in London …

  14. Katja Murta-Bisse said, on August 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm


  15. Margarita Colombo said, on August 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    As a foreigner graphic designer who visits london at least twice a year I have to say the LONDON (with the ON in red) has been the one that I find could work for a lot of things and that it really is unique for londON, it communicates something’s going ON in london, it’s simple and clear. Please don’t try to add some JUST LONDON, this is not Nike, you don’t need it!

  16. […] blog oficial da “campanha”, que também tem o objetivo de colocar a cidade na mídia e […]

  17. Brett Shepherd said, on September 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    if you want something simple, why not simply ‘LOVE LONDON’? Two strong ‘L’ words to play with…

  18. Robyn Sladen said, on September 2, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I love the idea of keeping it simple. How does “Breathe London” sound. It implies that it’s a rarity and that the true London is pure. It also plays on the senses, high-lighting the numerous sights sounds and smells that ar to be found there. It’s very basic but i feel it shows the diversity of London quite well…

    • Em Wright said, on September 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

      Sorry all – weighing in rather late here but very interesting idea to through this open to all.

      Sorry to rain on Robyn’s parade but isn’t London air a bit grim? Laden with pollution and heavy with drizzle – also a wee bit smelly? Plus, what’s pure about London? it’s beauty is surely it’s ever changing mixture.

      Having been to NY recently, i do reckon our tube is actually pretty good…albeit in comparison (not a day to day opinion) and think the tube logo is unique and recognisable and links the old with the new. Hate the 2012 logo, I feel a bit embarrassed of it as an international logo, it’s crude and infantile and don’t feel connected to it at all – since when were fuchsia and yellow colours associated with London?

      What about LIVE LONDON? NY own the LOVE thing and London is really about a plethora of differences that mesh together to give a unique experience…nearly everyone in these posts has referred to different experiences, sights, sounds and ahem, smells of London, it is in effect a multi-faceted experience – LIVE is quite simple, direct and conveys experience.

      • Tia Gallacher said, on September 5, 2009 at 6:28 am

        LIVE LONDON ….i think is perfect! A great suggestion

  19. Randle said, on September 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm


    LondON and on and on

    LondON the tube

    LondON St Paul’s

    Always LondON

    Simply LondON

    Breathe LondON

    Experience LondON

    We love LondON

    Diverse LondON

    Creative LondON

    Be LondON

    I think, therefore LondON

    I am, therefore LondON

  20. […] the blog. Here’s the tweet. Share and […]

  21. Robyn Sladen said, on September 4, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Yeah, i actually thought that after i wrote the post but couldn’t find the web page again until it sent me and email. But “Live London” sounds great. I was trying to play n the saying of “living and breathing” something… i guess it didnt sound quite right after the initial “eureka” moment. Oh well, i tried…

  22. Phillip Sandercock (South Australia) said, on September 4, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Although I’m in the business of creating visual identities, I think London needs a logo like the moon needs a logo. It doesn’t.

    Practically everyone on the planet has a visual impression of the city, and yet a only the tiniest fraction have ever been near it. Bogota needs a logo, Zagreb does too, London doesn’t.

    The attempt to distil the City into a single icon is futile and probably an insult to the City’s heritage, its residents and even its future.

    Graphic designers need to realise that not every problem is solved with a graphic solution. (If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail).

    Designers would garner a lot more respect for the profession if they were to simply say: “This is not a task for us, we’re not needed here.”

    And to throw up ideas for free will certainly ensure that the graphic design achieves the same integrity as the advertising industry.

  23. olivernews said, on September 4, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Breathe LondON


  24. Katja Murta-Bisse said, on September 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    lL(heart)ND(heart)N…..I agree that London does not need a logo as such but neither does New York, it just would be nice to see stickers, posters etc on various items anywhere in the world while travelling or whatever…..life is too serious anyways and maybe it would be nice to show the english humour that is worldwidely known…? After all London is an essential part of England? Just a thought :))

  25. Katja Murta-Bisse said, on September 4, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    …..eurika moment…L:)ND:)N

  26. Lex van de Vliet said, on September 12, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Or you need one of these http://www.iamsterdam.nl 😉



  27. asif3000 said, on October 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    speaking as someone who really likes the olympic logo for me the worst thing you could do is produce an icon of either Big Ben, The Wheel .. or any other london landmark. Also looking at the swinging 60s for iconography wouldn’t really reflect the limitless potential of the future for our city. i want something optimistic and bold, and i want the whole world to know that we are just about the most confident and diverse city anywhere…


    p.s – not too keen on the underground symbol – wouldn’t most users interpret this as a symbol for an underground station..? confusing… unimaginative… boring…

  28. Stacee Cooper said, on February 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Kudos from one braniac to another. 🙂

  29. […] Notably good example: Melbourne, Australia. Notably poor example: London, UK. […]

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