A strong visual system can bring the capital’s 32 different administrative areas together, and help to celebrate what sets them apart, says (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea-based) design consultancy Two Times Elliott
One of the great things about London is the distinctness of its different areas. You can get on the tube in one place and get out somewhere that feels like a different city. That being said, we feel there is a real lack of cohesion on a visual level.
The starting point for the idea was a T-shirt we saw bearing the slogan “32 boroughs, one city” and all of the borough logos. Visually, it seemed too “32 boroughs” and not enough “one city”.
The typographic system uses two typefaces. “The London Borough of” is a modified version of Johnston, perhaps the most quintessentially London typeface (it was commissioned by Frank Pick for the London Underground).
The slight flair at its terminals is comparable to another traditional London typeface, Albertus (used for street signs in the City of London). The second typeface is Bureau Grotesque, another classic British typeface chosen for its boldness and energy.
The circle is reminiscent of a “You are here” dot, as well as the place markers used by digital maps and way-finding systems. The dot is accompanied by a colour for each borough, and the elements can be combined in various ways.
The visual system is meant to unify the boroughs without overriding their individuality. To this end, we propose to call on what really gives a borough its character: the people. Working as a sort of campaign to go alongside the main rethink, the Our Borough initiative is a way for the community to get involved.
People can submit artwork representing an aspect of their local area that they love, along with a short description. This artwork could then be included in the borough’s visuals.
The central point of the initiative would be the Our Borough website. This is a place where people can find out about local events and plans, and there would also be discussion boards where they can be heard.
Words and images
Two Times Elliott