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?

You may find the top 10 alcohol and beer logos interesting – take a look.

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]

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

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36 Comments

  1. Avinash

    Bengaluru has got a new one….

    Reply
  2. Haider

    It is few months old post but yet I guess it would be good idea if you can add the “Dubai logo” in the list which is one very good example to support the claim of this post… and the amazing beauty of that logo is not only in its simplicity but it combines English Arabic language soooo beautifully and perfectly… and I think it is far better example than the ones you have here… Thanks

    It can be found here also “http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/501167108_1280x720.jpg”

    Reply
  3. Julian

    The Melbourne Logo looks nice. I love the colors.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    BOLOGNA??

    Reply
  5. Sharon

    I wonder what people will say about the Singapore city logo. I’m from Singapore, by the way. :p

    Official website: http://www.yoursingapore.com

    I’m in no way in any affiliation to the tourism board or the creator of the logo.
    Simply curious what the world thinks.

    Larger size of the logo
    http://www.andrey-andreev.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/YS-Master-Logo.jpg

    As for my favourite for this list, it has to be Melbourne’s. I remember seeing it when they first launched it, and I still remember it when I unpack the image from my memory.

    I think for a logo to be effective (or successful), people can recall it even without looking at it (think McDonald’s, Nike) and for me, Melbourne has done that. With regard to the rest, I haven’t seen them before (Maybe because I’m in Asia) so perhaps there’s also a little bias toward Melbourne then. 😉

    Reply
  6. Edward

    I am not a huge fan of the Melbourne logo, I think they have went a bit overboard with the polygon effect. Maybe if this logo was refined slightly it would make for a better identity.

    Love it or hate it the Amsterdam logo is has got people taking, I love how they have refined the cities coat of arms to create an instantly recognisable logo and a strong identity.

    I agree that the Belfast logo is the strongest, it’s simple yet effective.

    Reply
  7. Warren

    A note about the logo for Venice. In marketing terms, if half the people like it, its a success.

    Should you have different versions of the logo for different mediums? London one would struggle as a favicon.

    Reply
  8. Robert

    All the mixed opinions are a sign that you have a really good article/list of logos on your hands!

    My 2 favorites here are Belfast (super simple and creative) and Stockholm (simple + the face reminds me of playing cards).

    I really dislike the Venice logo. It seems really dark, and not just the color. The face has a very sad/downtrodden expression. From what I’ve seen and heard, it is a beautiful city, but I don’t think that logo reflects it properly.

    And the Montreal logo reminds me of a bank, which I wasn’t too crazy about. Although simplistic (not a bad thing), it is very plain-looking for a city so filled with culture.

    Reply
  9. Freedom Studios

    These are truly inspirational. They sure do beat the bring traditional type of ‘state’ branding found all over. I wish more cities, especially those in Africa would follow this trend.

    Reply
  10. Gary

    I remember when the Montreal logo was announced. I was kinda surprised at the time as it was almost identical to some other logos. I assembled a list at the time of 8 existing and very similar designs (and that was before google)… just saying, even then it was not unique.

    And agree about Amsterdam and the strange Xs, but then maybe I’m just jealous – would have liked to earn 100,000 for shifting a word downwards.

    Reply
    • Geoff Naylor

      The three x’s in the Amsterdam logo come from it’s historical coat-of-arms I believe. They’re as old as the hills therefore and have nothing to do with the city’s famous red-light district (which apparently doesn’t exist any more). But, as I said earlier, why add the word ‘Municipality’? How does that help the recognition of Amsterdam as opposed to Rotterdam, for instance?

      Reply
      • Stuart

        Oh wow, didn’t even realise that was the origin – makes it even better in my mind.

  11. Kevin Donnigan

    My two favorite is Belfast I absolutely love the simplicity and ‘B’ outline for the heart. I like the logo mark for Melbourne as well.

    Reply
  12. Natalia

    Hello, here are two more interesting logos:

    Logo of Lisbon, a silhouette of a ship and two crows. The crows are symbolic for the city, their meaning goes back to middle age legend of Saint Vicent. The symbol is used not only in typical promotional materials of the city hall, but it also decorates the street lamps in the city center.

    Logo of Lodz, Poland – it was inspired by the modernist De Stijl and Constructivism art movements and works of such artists as Katarzyna Kobro and Wladyslaw Strzeminski who lived and created in Lodz. The logo of Lodz’s airport is a derivative from the city’s main logo.

    Reply
  13. Lauren

    Thanks for sharing these city logos! It was interesting to see all the logos in one place. I’m a fan of Berlin’s logo!

    Reply
  14. James Scott

    What is the purpose of the city’s logo or branding to begin with? The logos may have little effect on you and I from abroad but may have been designed with the purpose of enhancing the connection between the city and it’s residents.

    I feel no connection to the Venice logo and it’s the only one on this list without a written name. If I hadn’t been told it was for Venice, I would have had no idea. How does this logo make residents feel? Reviewing the poll attached to the link, yes 49.3% are not happy with the logo, but another 37% seem pretty apathetic. But if the logo is to add city branding to products & services for a fee than why would the city care what local residents think?

    Regarding the Amsterdam logo, after reviewing the edenspiekermann link I can see the benefits of the changes. Again, no connection to myself living in Canada, but I’m guessing the fine tuning is appreciated locally.

    I enjoyed the article, thanks.

    Reply
    • Stuart

      Thanks for the comment James.

      I guess cities are being increasingly run like businesses – they have a lot of the same things to consider in terms of ‘marketing’, relationships, income and communicate their ‘brand’ to the same effect that any company would. A logo is a huge part of that.

      The connection being enhanced between the logo and the local people isn’t as relevant as creating a connection with those from outside, those who bring things ‘in’ to the city, be it financially, culturally or socially. Personally, I haven’t been to half these cities, but I now want to visit Stockholm (the extended branding makes the city look beautiful) and Sao Paulo (looks like great fun) – is it fair to say that the logo has, in part, been successful?

      Reply
  15. budlix

    London is most crappy.
    Glad to see Prague’s logo, but for me the best is Belfast and Montreal (Montreal for its whole CI system).

    Reply
  16. Carolyn Anderson

    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!

    Reply
  17. 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 they will have to pay for a redesign soon. And really, what on earth do the 3 x’s in the Amsterdam logo mean? Is it representing the red-light-district?

    Reply
  18. Matt Cannon

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

    Reply
    • Stuart

      you gotta love it!

      Reply
  19. 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.

    Reply
  20. Donald

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

    Reply
  21. Mika Douglas

    Renaca, Chile branded with the seagull

    Reply
  22. Wiliam Pawlowsky

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

    Reply
  23. Viktor

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

    Reply
    • Stuart

      Thanks for the link Jaer – Yes, the 100k was of course for more than just rearranging the words, but that was the response of those who simply saw that as the only change.

      Reply
  24. Erik van Erne

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

    Reply
    • Stuart

      I feel it an incredible case of branding – at least from an ‘external’ position. Is it the visual or conceptual message you disagree with?

      Reply
      • Jasper Witjes

        I think the ‘I amsterdam’ logo is way better. Catchy, great concept and all tourist made a picture in front of the the huge sign at the central station!

        http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/

    • 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?

      Reply
      • Luc Van Malderen

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

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