One symbol for London? Try 44.

When we were asked to help create a new inward investment brand for London, the first question we asked was, what sums up London? The Underground? The Taxis? Red Buses? That's tourist London – what would persuade a company from the other side of the world to establish their European HQ in London, not Paris, or Munich?

Brand identity

Our brief was to persuade businesses to see London as a viable potential home. As we began to look for visual solutions and symbols, we quickly realised that summing up London’s difference and diversity in one single symbol was a tricky task.

We started looking at skylines. But it was only when we rotated the actual skyline and built a new one out of all the real reasons why you would live and work here, that we started to make progress. The parks, the music, the football, the ballet, the fashion – these are the real reasons to be here (amongst many others). Before long we had built a memorable symbol made out of 44 separate icons, and one that we could bring to life in digital applications.

At first the symbol’s complexity seemed almost overwhelming, but we soon discovered that it worked very well at all sizes, and especially well at huge sizes in their head office at Canary Wharf, etched onto vast glass walls.

From the earliest applications we wanted the symbols to be useful visual material for telling Think London’s many stories. So for reports we stacked the logo’s icons to create charts and graphs, or sliced of extended the symbol where required.

By choosing blue as the lead colour, we could also allude to the river Thames when necessary, or use the blue line of the river as the linking device running through the designs. For invitations and general graphics, we often used the icons as separate graphic devices, effectively ‘mining’ the new symbol for visual devices whenever we needed something to link back to the core identity. In doing so, we created a visual thread that ran through all of their work.

Awards

2006 Benchmark Awards | Public Sector | Winner

Credits

Strategy collaborator: Circus

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