Let's do a little informal thought experiment. When you think of New York City, what comes to your mind? Busy streets filled with yellow taxis? Central Park? Times Square? The “I LOVE NY" T-shirts? It's probably easy for you to conjure up an image of the “I LOVE NY" logo. If you can't, no worries. Here's the iconic design.
Milton Glaser, a graphic designer, was commissioned by the New York State Department of Government to create a new logo in 1977 as part of the state's broader advertising strategy. Glaser's design became an incredible success though it's now usually associated just with New York City.
The “I LOVE NY" logo design has become forever embedded in people's ideas of what New York City is. It's a great example of just how powerful a great logo can be.
WHY DO CITIES HAVE LOGOS?
Many cities in the U.S. and around the world have unique logos. Wondering why a city would need a logo? It's a good idea to “brand" a city for several reasons. A strong brand presence can solidify a distinct personality, promote tourism and business, and bolster a positive perception of the city by inhabitants and the rest of the world.
Interested in reading more about what it means to brand a location? Check out this New Yorker article, “What's The Point of City Logos?"—it's a fascinating read and provides some historical context to the phenomenon. The author even traces city logos back to 12th century Europe.
Of course, it's not enough for a city to have just any logo. It takes a lot of work to design a great logo that evokes the city's one-of-a-kind character. Not every logo is like the New York City logo design. Find out some of the best city logos below.
Amsterdam's logo is a fantastic balance of super hip (doesn't it look like it could be an indie album cover?) and historically significant. The three red X's are a simplified version of the city's coat of arms. The Amsterdam logo design is streamlined, stylish, and memorable--just like the city itself.
Philadelphia has a rich history and is one of the oldest American cities. While the city was founded in 1682, the 2013 Philadelphia logo redesign is anything but antiquated. It's sleek and contemporary. The "PHL" evokes the cool three-letter city trend, like NYC. While the logo itself is pretty basic, that's not a drawback. In fact, it makes the logo design even more powerful and versatile.
The second-most populous Australian city arguably has the first-place logo design in the country. The 2009 Melbourne logo redesign resulted in a modern, lively outcome. It takes advantage of line and color, and it has the potential to be used throughout many aspects of Melbourne's branding and advertising campaigns.
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Need some more advice before diving into your own logo design? Check out the 5 things you need to know about designing a logo here.