Saturday, 3 July 2010

Making 東京 into Tokyo

Having learned about the CitID project – which is collecting IDs/logos/promotional ideas for your own City – from a non-too-enthusiastic review in Fast Company, I nevertheless thought I'd give it a go. It was, after all, an excuse to work up a kanji/alphabet combination I'd been thinking abut recently.

Kanji and the alphabet don't readily mix (naturally, considering their different origins and ways of representing language) but I thought there was just enough to make an outward looking logo based on original kanji, for an international city keeping in mind its origins.

Maybe I'll be dissed (as Fast Company somewhat too easily did the work of mestudio, for example). Or maybe it happens that the Tokyo metropolitan government is looking for a new logo (this one's available for purchase, of course!)

Combining Japanese writing and the alphabet is tricky (there are two examples from the Johnson Banks company: the rather excellent UK-Japan Year logo from a couple of year's back, and the playful but less successful – in my humble opinion – combination of katakana and romaji). There's always the danger you'll get half of both worlds rather than the best of both, but I hope there's enough of each in this logo. It works best horizontal for prioritising the alphabet, or vertical for prioritising the kanji. And in its transformation leaves room for the overall theme: "Tokyo: plus the surprising", worked into a global approach.

I've submitted it to the CitID site, but they don't appear to be updating (despite one or two Twitter announcements last month) so I'm not sure when – or if – it'll appear. Meanwhile, here's a lighter version as well…

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