Last week, we started looking at a sign off idea where the existing London brands are united with the addition of a London symbol.
We have developed this more, creating a space for people, or organizations, to express what London is for them.
Images from Alan Thornton. © Alan Thornton 2008.
The * symbol could be used to represent peoples voices…
or to represent the many organisations involved with London…
Tube Map and London Underground roundel © TfL.
A lot of the early discussion we had (especially with Scott) was facilitating the voice of the people in London (whether they’re Londoners, tourists, students or businesses). We’ve not focused on this so much over the last day, so here’s a start. More to come later on this as well.
Following on from our innit idea, how about representing different London voices through type? In it’s current form here, it’s bordering on patronizing. But the logo could be handed over to real groups of Londoners to create their own unique sign-off for their community, social group or club.
Images from The Sartorialist.
London’s architecture both the modern and the historic is so important. Is there a way of incorporating the shapes of famous landmarks subtly within the shape of the logo?… Roundels or derivatives of roundels would reflect some of London’s shapes. We could try taking these shapes and build something more structural.
Is this something worth considering?
This idea started as a bit of a throw away comment in the studio, but when we started talking about more seriously we realised there might be something in it (no pun intended). For non-Brits, innit has become a ubiquitous term amongst London’s youth over the last 15 years or so. From humble London beginnings, it has spread out across the country.
For some people, ‘innit’ is just another tag question, a contraction of ‘isn’t it’. But kids in urban Britain are using ‘innit’ to cover a wider and wider range of situations (From the BBC).
For some, ‘innit’ is a nuisance, an indication of slipping standards in communication skills (there’s a great story about that here). But ‘innit’ is something that London can claim as its own. It’s something that unites a generation, crossing race and class. It also sets up a brand that’s a bit cheeky, with a bit of an attitude. Something which matches the mood of the city.
Building on ‘innit’, we’ve started to look at ‘in it’. As in, everything happens in London. You’re invited into London etc.
How about something a little bit more playful?
It strikes me that we already have a symbol that is globally recognised as being London. The London Underground roundel. Could it be that the solution to the apparent problem is staring us in the face?
Could we simply elevate The London Underground roundel to become The London roundel?
Image from Brand New
Back in 2007, Saatchi and Saatchi were asked to elevate the meaning of the I ♥ NY to represent the state of NY rather than solely the city of NY. Their solution didn’t really work for me – but the idea that it is possible to elevate an icon and to change it’s meaning is an interesting thought… don’t you think?
Continuing on the path of a design solution using a roundel – this approach combines a roundel shape with an abbreviated LONDON. It also begins to explore how existing London organisations/entities like Think London and The Mayor of London could align to a single symbol.
Is LDN an appropriate way to communicate the UK’s capital?
Would visually aligning all the London organisations be prudent?
A second approach to capatalise on the iconic status of the London Underground roundel is to combine it with something else. Another British icon is the RAF roundel, used as identification on Royal Air Force aircraft. Here’s what happens when you combine them…
— It’s simple and memorable with a quirky story.
— It’s patriotic.
— It has a military reference which may not be appropriate.
— It starts to look like the Target symbol.
Image from the Creative Review blog
In many ways, the London Underground roundel is London’s equivalent of the I ♥ NY logo. It’s synonymous with London. But it’s also a very functional symbol around the city, directing people to public transport.
1. Taking the logo and placing ‘London’ instead of ‘Underground’ is a logical step towards a universally recognisable logo for London. But it’s not a good solution – the TfL roundel is a signpost to bus stops, tube entrances and it has to remain that way. If it starts popping up all over London where it’s got nothing to do with transport, it’ll only confuse people.
2. The next step is to try and make it distinct from the TfL roundel but maintaining a visual link back to it. This version is more like the original 1907 roundel, before the counter was introduced in the red circle. Again, this is too close.
3. Removing the blue bar creates enough of a destination from the TfL roundel, but the red circle starts to look like the Japanese flag.
4. Switching the circle to blue solves this, but it makes quite a boring logo.
5. Moving London outside the circle and putting the counter back in brings the dynamism back.
6. Switching back from blue to red helps to create a stronger link back to the original, without looking so close it could be mistaken for TfL.
It’s a simple and memorable solution, but is it special enough for London?
A symbol for London could work well as a sign-off for existing GLA logos.
This schematic shows how a symbol could have consistent and recognisable positioning with existing logos as well as becoming a powerful icon in it’s own right.