This month, the Dutch press went bananas with the news that the City of Amsterdam had redesigned its famous Saint Andrew’s Crosses logo at a cost of 100,000 Euros and all they got in return was a line break, moving “Amsterdam” under “Gemeente”. Same Avenir typeface. Same red crosses. Same municipal money in the bank minus 100,000 Euros. The change has become the subject of ridicule and, except for one sole voice of reason in the press, all everybody has focused on is the cost and the logo instead of understanding that this amount of money covers the redesign of a full identity and guidelines that support the government’s decision to bring all of its districts and operations under a single visual and organizational umbrella. Luckily, edenspiekermann has posted a thoughtful explanation of the project, which they designed in collaboration with Thonik.
The city is undergoing a major reorganization; the city districts and about 20 services and companies disappear in their current form. Therefore, the city has to align and unify its identity system and adopts one single logo for everyone. Ultimately this operation will save money. As we’re all going to use identical letterheads and envelopes we can purchase them in larger quantities for less money. There will also be just one fleet marking design which enables us to use our vehicles wherever they’re needed in the city.
Regarding the one-hundred-thousand-euro line break: hell yes. The old logo had a very wasteful lock-up that needed a lot of real estate vertically and horizontally to work and then you had a big vacuum of space in between the XXXs and the wordmark. Breaking the name into two creates a more maneuverable logo that is easier to display at different sizes and improve its readability. It’s a small gesture for a logo but a giant leap for Amsterdamkind.
Hanane Lechkar, spokes person for the City of Amsterdam about the efficiency of this change:
“Among other things we’re going from 250 different types of envelopes to a maximum of 25 types of envelopes, to one unified letterhead and to one type of fleetmarking. By doing this we can purchase items in larger quantities which makes them cheaper in the long run.”
To be honest, there isn’t much of an opinion or critique to elaborate on in this project. It is what it is: a reasonable, straightforward system with minimal deviations in application that allow for clear and consistent communication in a city already abundant in creativity and visual horsepower. I don’t know about the rest of y’all thrill-seekers but this is the kind of project that gets me excited in all kinds of unprofessional ways. I love identities that are strict yet good-looking and are thoroughly formulated upon grids and rules. So, if anything, the City of Amsterdam got a hell of a deal for 100,000 Euros.
Thanks to Alex at Bang for the tip.