Cities have become brands, and fonts are their face

26 Feb 2015

Many of the major cities across the globe are now extremely powerful brands. These key cities have their individual styles and designs that complement the cultures that exist within the areas. Some of these destinations have taken the branding a step further with the use of specific fonts across various elements. This can create consistency and make a city even more recognisable.

How Are Cities Brands?

By successfully turning a city into a brand, you can generate considerable interest in the area. This is essential when a city is competing against other tourist and business destinations.

One of the key ways for a city to achieve this brand status is to create an over-arching theme that it is famous for. This could be related to culture, sport, finance or another feature to base all the marketing and branding around. Often this can be achieved by hosting a major event, such as the Olympics.

However a city chooses to brand itself, they need to ensure that the visual image is based on reality. It needs to reflect what people already know about the city, and you can’t turn it into something it isn’t simply by the use of a new logo and colour scheme. For example, if an area is in need of redeveloping, then changing to a stylish and modern font won’t have an impact on people’s attitudes. Any redevelopment work needs to be completed before looking into the branding side.

In order to be a successful brand, cities need to focus on the smaller details and not just concentrate on creating a flashy logo. The whole exercise needs to be a co-ordinated approach that interacts with everyone concerned on an individual level.

How Does a Consistent Style Help?

By choosing to introduce a consistency into their branding through the use of specific fonts, cities can create a more recognisable image. Most of us won’t know exactly what a specific typeface is, but we will be able to identify with it if we see it often enough.

This has been achieved successfully on a number of transport systems across the globe. For example, the London Underground has a part to play in the Gill Sans and Johnston Sans fonts being more widely used across the city. This has also occurred in New York, where both Helvetica and Gotham are recognisable due to their use on the subway network.

Why Are Fonts Important in Branding?

For a city to achieve more success with their branding, they also need to look at the particular typefaces that they use. This is one of the key visual elements of a brand, and it’s vital that cities make the right choice.

Fonts can create a certain atmosphere and provide the city with a face and personality. If a city wants to showcase their business or financial capabilities, they will want to adopt a more professional-looking font. However, if the main economic activity in the area is based around tourism, the font can have a more personal and friendly edge.

As more cities around the world adopt a brand persona, fonts will become increasingly important to them. They are the visual face of a brand and can tell people something about it in an instant.