What does it mean to brand a city?
First, take all pre-conceived notions of the word "brand" and throw them out the window. Our project is focused on discovering and visualizing the identity of a city through the eyes and experiences of its people.
Every city has a unique identity composed over decades of historical events and the people who made them. However, this identity is rarely preserved in a graphic format that can be widely understood and discussed by everyone. That's where we come in.
We're artists and designers who are in love with the process of collecting cultural information, hearing stories and translating them into graphic icons. Somewhere along the lines, our passions grew from branding large companies and designing logos, to producing simplified drawings that tell stories of real people, living populations, and cultural phenomenons too grandiose for words.
We've created the cultural identity of Berlin and Argentina—now we would like to do so for Brooklyn in the largest and most inclusive way yet.
is a four-part participatory design project that invites both local Brooklynites and global participants to be a part of finding the borough's cultural identity.
Currently, we're hosting a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and engage people as partners and micro-investors in this project. Our hopes are that idBrooklyn appeals to both an international audience interested in a new form of identity design, and also to the multiple generations, social classes, and cultures of Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods.
This summer, we will lead hands-on workshops to collect sketches, ideas, and stories about Brooklyn with the objective of singling out the icons that best represent its identity.
Next, we will release a mobile app and website that will invite participants from all over the globe to upload images and comments about what Brooklyn is to them. We know that millions of people worldwide are connected to New York, and specifically to Brooklyn due to its booming arts, music, and maker culture. We are eager to discover what the borough is to a young woman in Tokyo who has never been to the US, or what a middle-aged Parisian has to say about the culture he visits yearly.
Once our server is jam-packed with written and visual material of all things and opinions about Brooklyn, our micro-collective of artists and designers will go to work translating all of this material into a cohesive set of icons.
Finally, we will invite Brooklyn-based artists, designers and writers to express their vision as it relates to the idBrooklyn icons, and to the borough's identity at large. With one of the largest artist per capita ratios in the nation, we don't anticipate a shortage of entries.
A gallery installation will showcase the results of the workshops, along with curated works from participating artists and the icons themselves.
What excites us the most is that the show, far from being the last step, is merely the start of a long-lasting conversation about the identity of Brooklyn. We envision the project as an interactive work-in-progress as unique as the people who take part in it.
In summary, the identity of a city does not have to be done by a multi-national design firm that produces an abstract logo that nobody can relate to. It can be a participatory process of human interaction and relatable design.
This project was featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.