Tuesday, October 12, 2010

London Logomania

I recently returned from a fabulous trip in sunny London, England (joke!). I am still sifting through the 4.3 GB of photos I took so I don't have any to share just yet but hopefully will soon.

Prior to my trip, I had heard London be referred to as a great design city and throughout my trip I couldn't help but notice some excellent logos at many of the places I did and did not visit.

The first one that caught my eye is for the Zoological Society of London. Although I didn't visit the Zoo, I can't help but adore this logo. I love the use of the animal prints filling in the letterforms. Without knowing what ZSL stand for, one immediately knows it must be in one way or another associated with animals because of the patterns. I have also seen this logo in various applications and am pleased to report that the weight and size of the pattern changes depending on the logo size for legibility reasons. When the logo is large, the pattern is smaller and when the logo is small, the pattern is larger.

Next is the logo for the Victoria and Albert Museum. What strikes me about this logo is how the designer used the ampersand to imply and complete the left side of the A, rather than have an awkward gap between the & and A. Ingenious.

Two other museums with awesome logos are the Tate Modern and Tate Britain. Without question, one can immediately understand that these logos are not only related in name but encapsulate the same branding. In fact, the Tate museum in Liverpool and St. Ives also follow the same branding. Although both are art museums, the difference between these two attractions are the type of art displayed. Tate Britain showcases British art from 1500 and Tate Modern displays international modern and contemporary art.

Because I was in England for a while, I got to visit the typical tourist places (e.g. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, etc.) but I also got to visit some off-the-beaten path castles in the country as well. These castles, as well as various other historical sites (Stonehenge!) around England, are all part of English Heritage that "protects and promotes England's spectacular historic environment and ensures that its past is researched and understood." In addition to enjoying the time spent at these historic sites, I don't mind the logo either. I think most of their locations are castles or other fortresses, so the icon is extremely appropriate.

One of my favorite things I did in London was take flight on the London Eye, a giant 443 feet tall Ferris wheel located along the Thames River. The logo for this extravagant attraction not only incorporates the 360 degree view of the city that the rider experiences but also an interpretation of the glass pod one rides in during her journey. No one can miss the eye in the logo either.

I first saw the logo for The Royal Parks during an early morning stroll through the infamous Hyde Park in central London. However, it was so small on the sign that I didn't realize the crown was made up of leaves. Not until afterwards, when I was looking through my photos, did I realize how great this logo is. Do you agree?

To finish this post off, here is a retro-inspired logo for a crêperie where I got lunch one day, Crème de la Crêpe. At first I thought the drooling typeface was for added funkiness, but only after I started eating my crêpe did I realize that the oozing letters mimic the contents of the crêpe dribbling down your face. Oh and you can bet that the crêpe was delicious!

All in all, I would agree that London is a good city for design but I wasn't knocked out of my socks by what I saw. And speaking of what I saw, stay tuned for photos from my trip, they may knock your socks off (well probably not, but here's hoping!).

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