rian hughes: city of london logo proposal rian hughes: city of london logo proposal
may 26, 2010

rian hughes: city of london logo proposal

rian hughes proposal for the city of london logo image © rian hughes

designboom met UK-based graphic designer, illustrator, comic artist and the man behind device fonts rian hughes, while in malaysia for kuala lumpur design week 2010, where he presented selected works from the course of his creative career as part of the typo-graphics conference. one of the projects he discussed was his logo proposal for the city of london.

five years ago, hughes wrote to the then-mayor of london, ken livingstone and outlined his idea for a london logo. the idea for his logo pulls on milton glaser’s heart from ‘I (heart) NY’, the RAF symbol which along with being british represents fashion and carnaby street cool, and is combined with the name ‘london’ and the union jack.

hughes’ equation for his city of london logo image © rian hughes

livingstone sent a letter back to hughes saying, ‘thanks, but we already have a logo for the mayor of london…‘. ‘unfortunately, they had missed the point – this was a logo for the city, not for the mayor!‘, said hughes.

in 2008, when boris johnson became the mayor of the city, hughes sent the design again, but received no response from the office. then, just recently he read that there had been a call for designers to design a logo for london… however, the deadline had already passed!

in any case, he sent the logo again despite this (as technically, the first time he submitted his proposal way before the deadline). this time he received a letter stating that unfortunately, rules were rules and his proposal was too late to be considered.

milton glaser’s classic I (heart) NY logo – this is how a logo for a city should be. an iconic logo like this can catch the imagination of the public, get picked up by everyone and come to epitomize a city.

city logos for lisbon, portugal and madrid, spain

city logos for berlin, germany and paris, france

here are a few examples of other city logos … of how a more corporate logo just doesn’t get taken to heart and isn’t widely adopted by the city’s citizens (and the people who sell tourist tat).

‘I think we’ll probably end up getting something worthy, but a bit dull and corporate, rather than something iconic and fun that would get taken up by knock-off t-shirt sellers and appear on everything from cheap mugs to badges to tea towels – the true gauge of the success of a logo like this.’ rian hughes on the future of the city of london logo

what do you think? stay tuned… more on rian hughes to come!

  • Interesting concept. I really like the simplicity of the thought behind it too.

    Whether it would be as iconic over time as I•NY would remain to be seen.

    Mat Dolphin says:
  • I heard that Saffron / MR. Ollins are doing the official logo for London. All I can say is that even though I like the design here – I hope they don’t use a heart… it’s over used and unoriginal, each city has it’s own identity it doesn’t have to borrow from NY… and the RAF is a reminder of a bygone era, when that sign was a symbol of swinging London… now it’s all CCTV and expensive public travel… most people are busy getting off their heads on booze and drugs to escape reality… some starting points there for your next design.

    HRH says:
  • I agree with “logos are effective if one would like to wear them” and I believe that no city logo can be as powerful as “I heart NY”, it is the most simple and direct.
    Rian Hughes has managed to come close.
    I like it.

    Dennis says:
  • Is Rian selling the London shirts?

    Jason Grice says:
  • I love the RAF/Mod symbol. It’s an interesting design, but for me too design led. Plus, if you squint, does it look a bit like a swastika?

    Birdy says:
  • I like better than “I (heart) NY”

    Alec Hughes says:
  • la simplicidad y limpieza del diseño lo hace universalmente comprensible a primera vista.

    jaime quiroga dueñas says:
  • I like the way how the concept translates to the final work.
    What will happen now?
    Will he try again to show it to the city?

    Dennis says:
  • This logo reminds me the German interpretation of the Svastika…

    GEZA says:
  • london, inside condom?

    q says:
  • Amazing logo, the equation is as simple and complicate as it should be.

    I want the t-shirt 😀

    R-A says:
  • oh, “London”…I thought it said “Lame”.

    not British says:
  • anybody want to see unoriginal, then check out the logo we have for our city – Brisbane:

    http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/BCC:BASE::pc=PC_2718

    living in copycatville says:
  • This is a triumph, I’ll make a note here: Huge success.

    Eva says:

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