Love It or Hate It? A City Divided by a Logo

Design can be a very sensitive and subjective matter encapsulated by a battle of old versus new. Is the latter greater than the former? Did the 2007 redesign of the NYC logo fall short of the public’s expectations? Or, was the reinterpretation a grand slam? Truth speaks in loud forms and nothing roars louder than a community’s joint response. As we have seen, the new NYC logo has faced a heat of criticism from graphic designers, the blogosphere, New Yorkers, and many others for its 2007 redesign. Many people have criticized the new logo as “obnoxious” and “clunky”. Has the new logo captivated your design senses or has it deterred you from the world’s iconic destination we know as New York City?

New York City, dubbed the city that never sleeps, is one that stretches across five boroughs, 191 neighborhoods, and is populated by 8.2 million people. It brilliantly blends together a plethora of culture, diversity, and people. So you might be asking yourself, “How would one combine the distinctive look and feel of New York City into one cohesive logo that conveys the iconic New York City?”

As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s citywide initiative to promote marketing and tourism efforts through New York City, the iconic NYC logo was given an overhaul in 2007. So, what is the first step when developing a new identity for the most well known city in the world? Hire an internationally renowned brand consultancy, naturally. Step two: hope that the public responds positively to the final design.

That task fell upon Wolff Olins, the international brand consultancy- based in London, New York, and Dubai, whose team was responsible for rebranding the NYC logo in 2007. You may have seen Wolff Olins work without even realizing it, as they have been the ones responsible for developing corporate identities across global companies such as GE, Mercedes Benz, Unilever, Target’s Up and Up brand, and PricewaterhouseCooper. Not withstanding, Wolff Olins has gained immense recognition for developing the London 2012 brand.

The newly redesigned logo was inspired by the essence of New York City: a diverse, loud, affluent, growing, and changing city. This is demonstrated through the use of bright colors, close grid work, and layering of graphics and according to Wolff Olins, the design demanded to be loud and bold because that is what represents New York City, a melting pot.    

Since its logo’s launch in 2007, the new NYC logo has not been highly regarded by the NYTimes, many designers, or even New Yorkers, per say. Wolff Olin has received backlash for the NYC logo redesign but, truth be told, since the logo’s launch in 2007, the number of visitors to New York City has increased by 5% resulting in the creation of 350,000 jobs. In 2012, NYC visitor trends showed the creation of $41 billion in revenue, a figure that continues to grow each year.