Top 10 City Logos

Top 10 City Logos

Does a city need a logo design?

Who are they competing with?

Why are they trying to stand out?

The answer to these questions is fairly straightforward when you consider that cities should be seen as ‘brands’ and that their brand is what drives their success.

In many cases with cities, success will be financial, through tourism and business; culturally, through their social activities and programmes; and in popularity, through the people that reside within their boundaries and pay the taxes.

However, the strategy of gaining that success can be oftentimes even more specific, with cities branding themselves as an ‘eco-city’, ‘tech city’ or ‘garden city’ depending on their aims.

If a city is notoriously polluted, cleaning up the infrastructure is only half the battle – their reputation as a dirty city will still remain unless a rebranding process and marketing campaign that educates people on the improvements.

A vital part of any successful brand strategy, in general, is having an effective logo design, and cities are no different in that respect.

Below, in no particular order are my top 10 city logos from around the world.


1 – Belfast City

Belfast City Logo Design

Starting off with the capital of Northern Ireland, and I may be a bit biased, but I like the simplicity of the Belfast City logo design.

Simple in its form, the heart symbol combines with the “B” in further branding campaigns with slogans such as “Be welcome”, “Be part of it” and “Be vibrant”.

A city with a troubled past, this new identity aims to promote tourism and inward investment to show the rest of the world just how much it’s changed in the last few decades.

2 – City of Melbourne

Melbourne City Logo Design

An instant favourite of mine when first released in 2009, the Melbourne logo symbolises a dynamic and progressive city that’s open to forward thinking.

The primary logo design, above, is part of a wider set of adaptions in form and colour, offering a great potential for sub-brands where necessary.

3 – Amsterdam (Gemeente)

City of Amsterdam Logo Design

Allegedly costing €100,000 to move the word “Amsterdam” onto a second line, where previously it sat aside Gemeente, the ‘rebranded’ Amsterdam city logo is already a classic.

The updated typographic arrangement has really assisted in the design of further collateral, arguably making the initial outlay worth it in the long run.

4 – City of London

City of London Logo Design

The City of London has an incredible history, mirrored in it’s crest-like, coat of arms logo design.

Central to the mark is the St. George’s Cross, the flag of England used since the crusades.

Aside from it sits two dragons and above it, a Knight, again harking back to the historical nature of the emblem.

As with many coats of arms, the Latin motto is included which translates as, “O Lord Direct us”.

5 – Stockholms Stad (City of Stockholm)

Stockholms Stad Logo Design

Rebranded in 2013, the City of Stockholm introduced a revised identity with a custom-made typeface to sit aside St. Erik – the patron of Stockholm.

The brand as a whole is incredibly refreshing in its contemporary design, but the portrait logomark works so well in the range of colours within the vibrant palette.

6 –  Visit Berlin

Visit Berlin City Logos Design

Focusing on a simplified form of the iconic Brandenburger gate, the Berlin city logo appears prominently on their tourism website, accompanied by ‘Visit’ to show their attention to welcoming people into the city.

7 – City of Venice

City of Venice Logo Design

Despite a poll suggesting that almost half of all Venetians disliked the new logo, I feel it is an elegant combination of style and history, in a form that feels typically Italian, despite being designed by a Frenchman!

8 – Prague/Praha/Praga/Prag

City Logo Design for Prague

Focusing on the multilingual aspects of the City of Prague/Praha/Praga/Prag logo design, this simple visual element offers great potential within an adaptable identity system.

Breaking the name into the almost consistent prefix and changing suffix, colour is consistent to the reds and yellows of the cities flag.

9 – City of Montreal

Montreal City Logo Design

This logomark for the city of Montreal has been around since 1981 and was based on the combination of the letters “V” and “M” (from Ville de Montreal).

Each petal of the rosette shapes a heart, with the four quadrants representing it’s four ethnic founding groups – the French, English, Scottish and Irish.

10 – Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo Logo Design

Whilst I’m not a fan of busy or complex logo designs, this mark for the City of Sao Paulo symbolises the party atmosphere perfectly.

Like an explosion of colour from a firework, the vibrant logo can be seen as representative of the diversity and variety of cultures in and around the city.

I would go as far as to say it lacks a specific cultural angle, instead of covering the feeling of the city over the people that inhabit it.


So there you have my personal top 10 city logos – what town or city have I missed out that you feel deserves recognition?

Does your city have (or need) a logo design? – let me know in the comments below.


If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, email us at: [email protected]

Related Article:  61 Creativity Hacks for Designers & Freelancers

Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency that is passionate about effective Graphic Design, Brand Identity, Logos and Web Design.

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34 Comments on "Top 10 City Logos"

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You can’t be serious to include Amsterdam in this list.

Steve

I agree, I think that is a huge expenditure for a basic logo – which is really no more than a wordmark from and existing font. I read that there were icons and planning associated with the 100,000, but still, looks like a design school project. As an outside viewer, I don’t get it – what do the 3 x’s represent?

Hey Steve, the 3 x’s are the coat of arms of the city.

Jaer

More about the Amsterdam logo and why the 100.000 wasn’t just for moving “Amsterdam” to the second line.

http://www.edenspiekermann.com/blog/it-s-not-the-logo

Viktor

Logo must be recognizable. The best way is to write it 🙂

Glad to see Montreal’s logo up there! I had no doubt that it would be though!

Renaca, Chile branded with the seagull

I like London’s logo a lot. Things like Belfast seem just a little too simple for me. Nice post.

Geoff Naylor

Apart from Melbourne, which I don’t particularly like, they all look so dated. Not one of them makes you think ‘I’ll have to go there. It looks great!’
Some of them pose questions about the logic used, like the strange colour chosen for Belfast (a sort of pinky magenta? For an Irish city?) and the value of adding ‘Gemeente’ – which means ‘Municipality’ or ‘Community’ I believe – to Amsterdam. How does that help the recognition of a city of canals?
These solutions look like woolly thinking to me; design by committee.

The subliminal sexual message behind Amsterdam’s logo is so subtle lol

Steve
I don’t think any of these work particularly well as a logo, not for long-term and not from a professional standpoint. Of course, I have seen some pretty terrible logo designs for cities, so maybe these are some of the better out there, but I wouldn’t pay more than $100 for any of these designs. The Belfast logo may be the strongest, given it’s simplicity, clarity, and it even has a bit of thought behind it – you get that reaction of “oh, I see the B and I see the Heart.” The polygons in Melbourne are already overused/dated so… Read more »

I may be biased, but I love my city’s logo! The Visit KC logo has two different colors to illustrate our stateline city. There is actually a Kansas City, MO AND a Kansas City, KS!

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