On a quest to redefine itself, the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland unveiled a new branding campaign this week, from the London-based branding consultancy Lloyd Northover. (via) Shedding the associations with strife that have long defined it, Belfast positions itself instead as the perfect place to self-actualize:
The new brand is spearheaded by a heart-shaped B logo, accompanied by messages including the word 'be' — such as 'be welcome', 'be part of it', and 'be vibrant'. Its aim is to help market Belfast to international visitors and potential investors, promoting the city as an exciting, vibrant and welcoming place....
[Lord Mayor] Hartley said the unveiling of the new branding of Belfast was significant. "This is not about a logo on a piece of paper. It is an opportunity for us all to embrace a new, vibrant and forward looking identity and ethos which says that Belfast has come of age. We all know how unique the city and its people are and now we have a golden opportunity to take the message that this is Belfast's time, its moment and we want to share it with everyone. Be inspired."
Forming the beginning of a phrase, the logo is literally "read" as open-ended, suggestive of possibility and appropriateness no matter the situation or sentiment.
“You have to get the people who live there to be the best advocates for the city, or else you don’t really have much,” Randy Vines said. “So you need to change the psyche and change the way they see their own city.”
The Vines brothers, 30, are not alone in their effort. In cities like Youngstown, Ohio, and Detroit, damaged by the decline in manufacturing and decades of population loss, entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s are pushing back with the simple stuff of T-shirts, tote bags and soap. Faced with condescending attitudes from outsiders and grumbling from many locals, they are determined to peddle in pride, and hope to convert others in the process....
Putting logos on clothing connects individual identity to place, as per Neighborhoodies.
These T-shirt makers know, of course, that their merchandise will not cure the deep-seated problems of their cities. But they see them as one way to fight against powerful stereotypes, and consider them more authentic than city officials’ public relations campaigns.
Mark-Evan Blackman, chairman of men’s wear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, said T-shirts can have a profound effect on social change, and that these shirts should not be underestimated. “It’s saying we’re cool, we’re here,” Mr. Blackman said. “We’ve not jumped out of the boat, this city is cool and we’re making it cooler, and look at us.”