Redesigning a city's brand identity is a massive undertaking. Last year we wrote about Atlanta, Georgia's rebranding project for its Department of Planning and Community Development, now let's take a look at Helsinki, Finland's approach to developing a new, consistent branding system.
Helsinki hired creative agency Werklig to develop a brand that would be appealing not only to local residents, but also to tourists, immigrants, and other groups with an interest in the city.
The old branding system had just one cohesive design element — the Helsinki coat of arms —which Werklig managed to work into the redesign, using a skeleton version of the crest that could be adapted to different platforms, formats, and languages. The agency also developed a custom-designed "Helsinki Grotesk" typeface. As we wrote in our post, "Custom-designed Fonts as Intellectual Property," custom-designed typefaces are becoming more commonplace as both a cost-savings measure and a way to make a font a part of an organization's intellectual property.
Color-wise, the Helsinki brand incorporates 14 "cheerier" colors that are drawn from the actual crest, along with local attractions like the cupola of Helsinki Cathedral, the public transit system, the Suomenlinna fortress island ,and the brick wall of the Hakaniemi Market Hall.According to Werklig: “The scale of the project was massive. …The City of Helsinki brand renewal has been the biggest such project ever done in Finland.”
You can read more about the project on the Werklig website here.