Founded in 1682, Philadelphia is “one of the leading cities in the world. Located in between New York City and Washington D.C., 40% of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive.” This succinct description — more facts here — comes from the Philadephia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), the official Tourism Promotion Agency for the city and the primary sales/marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Its mission is to “generate economic impact and job growth by increasing the region’s hotel occupancy and revenues” as well as doing “whatever it takes to attract ethnically diverse regional, national and international convention and tourism customers through creative sales, marketing and communications efforts.” To that effect PHLCVB introduced late last year a new destination brand designed by J2 Design Partnership based on strategy by Ex;it — both local firms.
Based on the three-letter code of Philadelphia International Airport and the 30th Street Station (the main railroad station in Philadelphia) the new identity adopts “PHL” as its rallying acronym, perhaps in an attempt to build three-letter recognition like its neighbor, NYC, or other distant cities like ATL (Atlanta) and ATX (Austin). It doesn’t roll off the tongue as naturally as any of those, yet, and it works better than the cutesy “Philly”. The design is quite straightforward with PHL in a square and its only distinct feature being a stem-less “P”. It works relatively well. It’s neither completely edgy nor completely boring, caught somewhere in between. The basic logo, in black, starts to feel too business-like but the addition of colorful variations adds some pep for the other features of the city and gives it some flexibility. In the application samples below, the logo seems to work better when bleeding to the edges as opposed to small and centered. The choice of Avant Garde as the supporting typeface is not particularly inspired but it does its job well. Overall, a decent approach and execution.