Moscow. Suprise + Smile = Wow.

I can’t find any info on this other than the links at the bottom, so it could be a little like Home Depot’s redesign, but, in an unofficial capacity at least, the world’s sixth-largest city has received a new brand identity.

Moscow logo

“Idea is simple! Surprise + smile = be surprised smiling with a new Moscow Style!”

How about that for a jingle?

Quoted from the New brand of Moscow! Facebook page.

“How to make Moscow one of the most attractive cities in the world for business or a living? How to attract into the capital of Russia the most talented people? How to change the perception of compatriots and foreigners in Moscow?

“Our answer is — a large-scale project “Moscow — for you!”. The project has already begun creating a new brand of Moscow — with new content and identity. The program of preserving historic and cultural heritage in Moscow has already been started, as well as a new modern space for human living and developing.

“And what about common words? WOW Moscow! Moscow should become again a city with a comfortable living, where you can relax, work and smile wondering new discoveries.”

Moscow logo

Moscow logo

Moscow logo

As well as all the surprise and wonderment, you can also enjoy the traffic.

Moscow logo

I rarely use emoticons. When I do, it’s because I don’t want my poor attempts at sarcasm to be taken the wrong way. A swoosh for a smile? That could be okay. Emoticons? Not for me.

Commentary on Brand New: Moscow Embraces Emoticons.
New brand of Moscow:
On Facebook: New brand of Moscow! (more images here)

If this is your project, let me know and I’ll gladly offer credit.

21 responses

  1. I wonder how much the design agency got paid for this one?

    However much it is, its too much. This logo is AWFUL. It feels cheap, and will make little sense to many. They’ve taken one of the least-used emoticons, to begin with, and its gone downhill from there.

    The “surprise” part comes across to me as: “Moscow? REALLY? Why?” – Which surely isn’t the designer’s intention.

    Shame, as Moscow really is a beautiful city. It deserves a good brand.

  2. Before speaking about the design itself, the idea of changing the identity of Moscow should be debated.

    It’s not a city founded and thrived 50 years ago, it has such a long history that you just can’t ignore. Such attempts to cut the ties with the past rarely products good results. I, for instance, would want to visit Moscow just to see the remnants of it’s great history.

    But that kind of a logo would just make me feel I’m visiting a “duplicate” of Moscow, not the real one.

    This attempt seems like a part of Russian government’s campaign against the shadow of the past. Speaking of which, I just imagined a dreadful sight: Seeing this logo in place of the red star above the Kremlin Wall.

    Not sure if I would be surprised to see it happen though…

  3. There is such a rich history of graphic design in Russia.
    They practically invented poster art.
    How does this logo talk about Moscow? The ambiguity and generic quality reminds me of an auto insurance ad.

  4. What’s interesting is that the people who designed the logo did it all on their own; no involvement from the city of Moscow itself. Everything was done independently. I’m sure if city officials got involved things would have been much, much different.

  5. This is very stupid if you ask me, with such a rich cultural background all they could do is a stupid emoticon? I mean is this for real? Is this what Moscow will sell their image?

    I am starting to think that it’s an area thing, following Romania’s branding disaster where they hired a Spanish firm that sold them a slightly modified stock vector of a leaf…look it up…it sucks…and I know that there are companies in Romania that could have done the job better, I should know, I live there….

    But in Romania the goverment got mixed in, therefore the disaster, in Moscow they didn’t, and that was still not good….so apparently it’s a matter of luck and of the competence of the people hired for the projects.

  6. WOW is not the word I would use. I think it’s a pretty poor attempt to make Moscow seem like a “hip” and current city. On the initial viewing of the branding, it’s not clear what the message is, or even that it is a branding for a city. The designers should have embraced the culture and history Moscow is known for. As a designer I would be slightly ashamed to have this branding plastered across Moscow and any other city. I think if they had used the rich culture, architecture and art as an inspiration they could have come up with a great design, after all there was an architect and designer involved with this branding.

  7. I don’t like the way it has to be described to understand it. In some ways I do actually like the ‘wow’ icon but only when it’s by itself. I don’t think it’s the right kind of branding for a place though. It almost seems like an older parent has done it thinking that these are still cool.

  8. I agree with Ken on this. Why choose such a rarely used emoticon? I will admit I have seen it around but honestly never knew its meaning until I read this post.

    Poor choice.

  9. Design is subjective and we all have our own views…we should ask the people of Moscow what they think.It is theirs now. In time it will show.

  10. Guys, I am Russian , and for you it is a blessing that you can’t completely understand the “catch words” they had chosen for the communication message. They are ridiculous. I ve posted this ad on my FB. None of my Russian friends understood what they mean! They all are supposed to have “humour connotations”, but some of them are so so vague -(

    The main idea of a smile and logo element I love. Very ex Soviet and reminds of a sickle which has always been an association #1 with Russia / Soviet Union. Very 30s. The red color is from the same epoch.

    Look at an exampe of one Polish city which is SZCZECIN :

    This is a city which name is almost to pronounce for foreigners, but its govenor/mayor wanted to promote it for foreigners and let’s all agree that it is hard to invest into a city which name you can hardly articulate-)
    Thus this is the idea. To me quite overloaded : a garden and a spelling. Too much at once. But still interesting.

  11. It’s too steeped in Internet culture. Which not everyone is on board with to this extent.

    Even myself, who has spent at least a third of her life on the Internet for the last ten years, doesn’t even know the meaning of half those symbols.

    Fail Moscow. FAIL.

  12. Yeah, I think it’s cool that they’re trying to rebrand the city, but I have a feeling there’s a better way to do this than an emoticon…

  13. As with any identity, the most important thing will be the applications, not the logo. At least this is fairly simple and easy to implement in a consistent manner. Red means Russia to most of the world — for better or worse — so why not go with it? If we are to deconstruct the communication objectives of this identity — modern, Russian, fun, bold, exciting, not boring — then this logo achieves those goals. You can argue about the relative merits of the mark itself, but there are over-riding constraints as well, uniqueness, simplicity, multi-lingual adaptability, trademark protectability etc.

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