Regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region in the Florence province. Art, architecture, and history abound. Its city center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is considered to be one of top fashion capitals of the world. Etcetera. Last July, Cittá di Firenze (City of Florence) — and Audi (the cars, yes) — organized a contest to design a new logo for Florence, one that would complement the official Florentine lily motif seen in the city’s flag, coat of arms, and existing logo. The brief called for a logo that would work for: “the promotion of Florence, a national and international level; for the communication of innovations and changes in the territory; for the communication of culture and tourism; in the optical business, including activities of merchandising and licensing; as a mark of quality, venues, products and services and the municipal administration of the territory”. From 5,000 submissions, filtered to 29 finalists, the €15,000 prize-winner was Fabio Chiantini.
“The first part of the originality and strength of the proposal lies in its essentialism communication: a square, which is lined by the sequence of versions of the city name in the languages most spoken in the world, builds a crossword immediate visual and certainly eye-catching, which returns the name and the suggestion of Florence. The beginning starts from the ancient etymology of the city, thus establishing a link with relevant cultural tradition. But the decision to focus on the names by which it is universally known Florence update the tradition to the present / future thanks to the strong momentum of internationalization and the inherent appeal of the imaginary city open to all people dear to Mayor La Pira. Overall, the proposal corresponds with intelligence indications of the announcement and the brief for your attention to all targets — even potential ones — effective Imago Urbis proposed and succeeded for more not to introduce additional symbols in a city already rich in base signs and icons. In particular, we note the plausible sharing with respect to the languages and cultures youth and full compatibility with the shield lilies. The Commission unanimously directs the Mayor and the City Council this proposal as the winner of the competition.”
The concept is an interesting one: Spelling out the name of the city in four different languages — Latin, English, German, and Spanish — which then lead to the Italian name, Firenze, to be found among them. It’s clever, it’s inclusive, and it makes for an interesting logo. Perhaps a wordy one, but the texture generated (specially at small sizes) will make for a lively identifier. The type selection and spacing are a little questionable — something with more gravitas on the former and more even spacing vertically and horizontally on the latter would have worked. Nonetheless, it’s a welcome solution to city branding that foregoes clichés in exchange for an actual idea.
The prototype applications, even with the acknowledgment that they are prototypes for a competition, are extremely crude and are almost hard to take seriously but they do manage to convey the potential of the logo. I wish this were handed to a groovy Dutch studio to finesse and take to the next level. Or at least someone that would say “Let’s choose something other than Mistral as our supporting typeface”. There is a lot of potential here, one that would benefit from an actual commission and proper client engagement.
Thanks to Daniele Cavoli for the tip.