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Perez-Fox on the London identity

London identity design Perez-Fox

And so it is decided, The Greater London Authority has confirmed that Saffron Brand Consultants has won the Brand for London tender to create a visual identity for the capital.

Saffron principal Ian Stephens says that the London marque’s launch will not come ‘much later’ than the GLA’s original deadline of next month.

Hot on the heels of the announcement, New York-based brand developer Prescott Perez-Fox published his own pitch.

Perez-Fox said, “One of the main criticisms for the whole [tendering] effort was the fact that only a handful of design firms were allowed to bid in the first place. You could almost name them before the competition started. City officials determined a minimum standard of size, billings, compliance, insurance, health & safety, and other criteria which immediately ruled out so many of the very talented 3-person agencies in the UK. (For example, how many design firms have a policy of community outreach for LGBT people, or have calculated their carbon footprint accurately?)

London identity design Perez-Fox

“My effort takes advantage of London’s graphic DNA, consisting of bright colours, simple shapes, clean typography, whitespace, and the general notion that you can combine anything,” Perez-Fox continued. “My motivation, as I imagined others felt, was to create something expandable from the start, something that creates a system, rather than one beautiful symbol crowbarred into every application.”

London identity design Perez-Fox

“The identity is hinged on an updated version of the classic British typeface Gill Sans. This new version, which I’m temporarily calling ‘Giww’ has simplified some of the characters, especially those with curves.”

London identity design Perez-Fox

London identity design Perez-Fox

London identity design Perez-Fox

London identity design Perez-Fox

View the full Perez-Fox project on his page for the London brand. He finishes the post by asking, “What do you think? Could it work in practice? What would critics have to say about it? Following the backlash of London 2012 Olympics Logo, are the British welcoming for such a design scheme? Is it recognisable, unique, ownable enough for your tastes?”

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

21 appreciated comments

  1. Anonymous Coward

    I think they’re on the right track, to be honest.

    That being said, Giww is kind of a bummer. I understand the need for it, the need to trim all the characters to a particular height, thereby mutilating the J and Q, the need for uniformity, but I can’t help but feel it’s uninspired, and lacking the insight that Gill Sans conveys. It’s looks to much like how I would imagine the bastard child from Gill Sans and Interstate.

    Other than that, the symbols over the London banner are off-putting, maybe positioned to the left would ease the tension.

    But as I said, it’s not really bad.

  2. I’m in agreement with the coward above ;)

    I think it’s not a bad solution. It may well be that Saffron’s solution to this almost impossible task is to go with simple and understated, especially in light of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed the, shall we say, ‘different’ 2012 identity. Of course, the opposite side of the fence will cry ‘boring!’ but I’d be surprised if the winning identity manages to please everyone.

    So in suggesting the above, Perez-Fox have gone for a simplistic identity which, with a bit of tweaking and refinement, could work rather well.

    I don’t like the billboards as the type gets lost and relies on a drop shadow but this is merely a suggestion by Perez-Fox, to raise discussion and like I said, with a few adjustments this could have been a nice little solution.

    Will be interesting what Saffron deliver. I’m actually quite excited about it.

  3. WP

    Prescott showed me his WIP a little while ago and I’m kind of feeling it, I think it hangs together pretty well. Agree with comments about the symbols, and maybe actually hanging everything off the word London as opposed to the left of the coloured bars would help. Other than that, the idea of a system as opposed to a single logo re-appropriated even when not appropriate (yes NYC, I’m looking at you) is a solid one.

  4. I love that they are rocking a slogan from Nightmare on Elm Street.

    Props to Saffron.

    Most likely, no one at initial pitch presentation caught it.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087800/quotes

  5. Mike D.

    I respond well to the understated quality of the proposed identity. My issue is with the use of the type over a bold block of color. Although visually I quite like the technique (and use it), it’s too trenched within current trend (due I believe to how nice it looks)— and for this reason is at odds with the timeless nature of the simplicity which I think it is—and should be—going for. Who knows, maybe type in blocks will be just as in style 10-15 years from now as it is today, but it’s more likely that the technique will shout 2010 only slightly less loud than the 2012 olympic logo shouts 2007 (although I think 80’s flourescent nostalgia is only jumping the shark right now, a mere 2 years prior to the games).

  6. I don’t think it’s horrible… but it doesn’t overly stand out to me. I don’t think it’s unique or memorable enough. but maybe it’s just me.
    And I’m another typophile who grieves for some of the letters. Ok. a bunch of the letters. I don’t like the changes to… b, g, q, and x in particular. The J isn’t killing me though. Sorry coward. I do think the old J is very nice… but the new one isn’t nails on a chalkboard to me. I’m glad they didn’t change many of the letters though.

    I think the logo works best with the posters and other material. but if you were to just put the logo in the center of a large page with a lot of white space, I don’t think it’d be interesting enough.
    But maybe that’s just me.
    With all the creative minds in the UK, I think something more memorable and unique should have come up. Maybe it was the censoring. Dunno.

    In my opinion, a Identity Mark should be able to hold it’s own, without any supporting material. I don’t think this logo, though nice when paired up, doesn’t stand well on it’s own.

    Just my two cents.

  7. Unfortunately it isn’t memorable or unique, I can see where the design has come from and how it fits in with the original tube signage and traditional longon style but we are in 2010!

    I’m not suggesting something as bold as the 2012 Olympics logo but where’s the excitement, the energy, the diversity to echo London life?

    I think the designers may have be intimidated by the outcome of the unveiling of the 2012 Olympics logo, which is understandable.

  8. …but where’s the excitement, the energy, the diversity to echo London life?
    -Gareth

    I agree whole heatedly.

    A strong identity mark should portray the company (or in this case, city) it belongs to. The London logo should be able to be on a blank page and convey London. Yes, it’s a big task. But that’s the burden of Identity Design.

  9. Alphonse

    This is a little too safe and boring. Its a decent identity system, but its the type of thing you could use anywhere else on the planet.

    I do love how that Fashion Week ad has two bald dudes on it though. Hehe.

  10. Alphonse

    Blah. My problem with this is that it could be used for anywhere else on the planet. Not to mention it seems better suited for tourists than actual Londoners.

    I do love how that Fashion Week ad has two bald dudes on it though. Hehe.

  11. I am impressed with this final design, as I particularly like the customised version of Gill Sans that they have employed. This works well with the simplistic whitespace design of the logos, and the usage of strong bold colours adds to this.

    I also like the way the colour choice seems to reflect that of the tube lines, again tying in with the theme. Having clear and strong colour choices for each area makes clear distinctions between them, and creates a nice contrast.

    I’d be interested to see what other entries were made for this, and I’d like to se the design process they went through to come to the final design. Overall I think it is a modern and very useable design that will work well in all applications (print, web, etc), which of course is the aim of every successful design project.

  12. Q

    C+ =)

  13. Alphonse

    Uh, Stephen, this was just a pitch. We have yet to see what the winning firm actually came up with.

  14. Migrainiac

    I don’t live in London (although I love it).
    Fortunately I visit it very often and every time I do, I always confirm to myself the concept of London as one of the world’s greatest cities where you can see everything, live everything, feel everything.
    Do you sense that that Perez Fox’s pitch for London’s identity conveys all of these values? I am sorry but I don’t.
    With that identity I would have called it ‘London Insurances’ or ‘London Accounting Services’ or…
    Minimal approach due to a wide target group does not mean the selection of a classic British typeface combined with the rainbow colours and the addition of boring images and titles.
    I hope the winners’ identity won’t look anything like it because Perez Fox’s is only a pitch but Saffron will get the paycheck…

  15. It’s just a pitch.
    I don’t think this will ever be a cutting edge piece of branding. I don’t think it needs to be.

    I think what is proposed, from an identity point of view is fine.

    London is an interesting word on it’s own. Unless someone has an inspired pie of thinking like IheartNY, then keep it simple.

    The problem with the images above are the images that go with the identity on the posters. These need to be more cutting edge, dangerous, inspiring, weird , memorable etc.

    The identity is fine. Pure and simple it is a flag. It tells you it is london. The images, posters and way it is used are the ones that convey all the complex emotional values that go with the a city such as London.

    We can over analyze logo’s and fonts until we are blue in the face, but in the real world it’s all designer wank. We just need a good idea that solves a problem that is well crafted.

  16. Kristi

    Is there a tagline on the Fashion Week billboard ad? I’m confused as to the messaging… thoughts??

  17. Justin

    I’m happy to see Gill Sans abused, regardless of what it’s being abused for.

  18. um, just to clarify, this isn’t Saffron’s pitch, this is Prescott Perez-Fox’s pitch.

  19. Mark

    Thunderously dull. Where’s the emotion?

    But then, is Perez-Fox trying to say something with that? For lidded grey skies and hunched figures avoiding the rain, it’s spot on!

    See the Melbourne city identity for something in the ballpark – London is supposedly the most cosmopolitan city on earth after all, let the identity be born from this.

    Basement Jaxx meets the Beefeater perhaps…

    @Migrainiac, I’m right with you.

  20. Interesting. I have not met Mr. Perez-Fox, but it seems as though he used my photo without request, consent, or informing the photographer (me, in this case).

    “Don’t fall asleep”…. indeed.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrodmanjr/3837421051/in/set-72157607588576661/


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