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How A City Logo Works, From Image Makeovers To Attracting Tourists

The city logo for Bengaluru was launched at a grand event.
(Source - Image tweeted by Karnataka Minister KJ George)

India Ahead

How A City Logo Works, From Image Makeovers To Attracting Tourists

Several cities across the world have taken the logo route for an image makeover.

Bengaluru and its citizens have been patting themselves on the back after the Karnataka capital became the first in India to have its own city logo. The logo, which has three letters, b, e and u, in red with the rest in white, was unveiled at the Bengaluru Habba festival on Sunday.

So, why is it such a big deal? For one, as State Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said, the logo will help in branding the city and showcasing its culture and heritage in a better manner.

We look at the global trend to understand more.

Image Makeover

Several cities across the world have taken the logo route to position themselves better by getting an image makeover. Well-known cities that have a logo include New York, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Toronto and Hong Kong. Many cities have designed logos to provide a distinctive brand identity for the purpose of tourism or business.The I Love NY logo is one of the most popular city logos.

(Source – Pixabay)

The I Love NY logo, unveiled by the New York administration in 1977, is perhaps the best-known example globally. This was an attempt to give the image of the city and the state a much-needed makeover just a few years after New York had filed for bankruptcy.

In the case of Melbourne in Australia, a new logo was designed about a decade ago to give the city a modern, stylish image.

For Amsterdam, the “I amsterdam” city logo and campaign has worked wonders in creating a distinct identity as well as a feeling of oneness.

So, do city logos, particularly those which have been redesigned or created afresh, always work? An article in The New Yorker provides a good answer by exploring the logos of some major cities. It also goes on to explain how city emblems can be traced to twelfth century Europe, a period that also saw a rise in the use of coats of arms.

Face Of A Concept

Logos are a critical aspect of marketing and are intended to be the “face” of a concept or an entity. Being a major graphical representation, a logo anchors the brand and becomes its single most visible manifestation. Through colours, fonts and images, they provide essential information about the concept that allows people to identify with the brand.

Smart Cities

Closer home, there aren’t too many cities that have a logo but many of those who have made it to the list of Smart Cities have started thinking of having a city logo.

Earlier this year, the Shimla Municipal Corporation in Himachal Pradesh invited citizens to participate in a contest to design a logo for Mission Smart Shimla. It received 145 entries though a winner is yet to be announced.

Several other cities that have made it to the list of Smart Cities have seen contests for designing an innovative logo for their projects. This includes Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore and Chennai.

Logos for Tourism

Just the way the country has the Incredible India logo and campaign to attract tourists from across the world, several states also have their own logo for promoting tourism. Some well-known examples are Kerala; Rajasthan Tourism; Gujarat Tourism and Goa.

Brand ambassadors have also been used for this purpose, the most successful example being that of Gujarat which used Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan in its campaign.

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