The world's southernmost metropolis has a new brand image. It makes a strong visual impression, and stands out as a great case study of what's possible in expressing a sense of place graphically.
colorful, and suggestively intricate, the city of Melbourne's new M is
meant to conjure visions of a city on the cutting edge, "modern, vibrant [and] cool," evoking the accolades for which the place is known: progressive, smart, welcoming. It was designed by the Sydney office of global brand consultancy Landor.
I would love to be a fly on the wall for the process behind this kind
of thing--the development of a visual story, and the editing of said
story, seems especially rich with potential when the city is the story, and the city in question is commonly held as one of the world's loveliest.
To my eyes, there seems to be something vaguely origami-like in the abstract, diagrammatic geometry suggestive of a work in progress, an idea called "Melbourne" that can resolve itself any number of ways, but always remains its essential M-shaped, prismatic self. Further, the connotation of math--and more broadly, that which is rational, and at once both complex and straightforward--supports the impression of serene, level-headed modernity that the city elders and the designers sought. It's iconic and will be instantly recognizable.
A reaction to some of the logo's other aspects, from the awesome branding site Brand New:
There is something very appealing and avant garde about this logo and it walks a fine line between trendy-and-useless and progressive-and-defining, but I think it definitely swings to the latter. There is a really great tension created by the detail and overlay on the left side of the M and how it resolves into something more simple on the right side. The gradients are subtle and help add a sense of depth and breadth that you would not get with a flat logo...
one of the commenters on that article says: "This identity system is a
living metaphor of the culture and spirit of a modern city. Simply
beautiful." Though I think that the flip side of all the abstraction of
a city branding exercise is that there are certain, inherent risks--is the
resulting visual material specific enough to its place, or could it
refer to anywhere?--I tend to agree, Melbourne's new M is quite elegant.
Above, the logo in motion. What do you think?