Most Western cities created their modern visual identity in the 1980s and 1990s. Bratislava is just about to launch a public tender for its own new branding.
The city officials believe that the new branding will be a real catalyst for change. The impact of a new visual identity on Bratislava's regeneration will be reflected, for example, in official printed promotion and information about the city, and signs marking places of interest to tourists. It brings some order to the everyday functions of the city which otherwise may appear quite chaotic for its inhabitants, let alone for the visitors.
The concept of corporate identity was invented in the US in 1940s. At the beginning, it was adopted by companies and institutions that understood that their visual style was not only an indicator of the good or bad taste of their bosses, but also an important way of communicating with the general public. Sophisticated visual styles later expanded from the commercial sector to airports, other means of transport - and cities.
Berlin was given a new corporate design in 1994. The new branding has helped the German capital to gain the image of a modern metropolis and a leading tourist destination. At present, Birmingham and Prague are experiencing such a renaissance.
The corporate identity does not solely consist of a new brand. It is a sort of recipe for adopting the brand in a form that is relevant to the differing public, private and voluntary sectors. It defines the city's colours, applies the brand on municipal vehicles, litter bins, benches, and manhole covers, followed by more sophisticated applications such as information panels with touch screens in the city centre.
To create a new brand and a complete visual identity for Bratislava will not be an easy task. It has to be rooted in a set of various values and influences that relate to the history and people of Bratislava. A modern brand must be quite different from the historic coat of arms that is rather a heraldic sign. At the same time, it must be based on the approval of the people, both residents and visitors. It is a job for experienced designers and graphics.
The open tender for Bratislava´s new brand will be announced this fall. Now is your chance to contribute with thoughts and ideas on how Bratislava should position itself and reflect all its values in its new visual identity.
25. Jul 2003 at 0:00 | <b>By Milan Vajda