Group Wants to Crowdsource Brooklyn’s Graphic Identity

id-brooklyn-042413Some designers, artists, professors and branding experts are attempting to crowdsource the graphic identity of Brooklyn via Kickstarter and the Web, as FIPS pointed out. Here’s how they put it on their Kickstarter page:

In recent years Brooklyn’s culture has received national and international attention due to its booming arts and maker cultures juxtaposed with its historical significance in the United States. As Brooklynites and Brooklyn-lovers, we want tap into the borough´s pulse and make it the world’s first community branded by participatory design. We, a micro-collective of award-winning artists and branding experts, have designed a four-part project that allows Brooklynites and people from around the world to contribute to the cultural identity of this borough.

The plan: Public workshops to ID the icons most associated with Brooklyn and a mobile app and website so anyone with an Internet connection can participate in the process. Then they will ask experts to winnow the wheat from the chaff and, finally, they will create an exhibit to showcase all of this material. “Our goal is to celebrate the rich and ever-changing culture of Brooklyn,” they say. Price? $30,000. Sounds interesting. Also — nice work if you can get it.

30 Comment

    • While $30K is nothing to sneeze at in this economy, as a designer I always cringe when I see crowd sourcing enterprises like this. Do your homework, pick a few legit agencies and/or designers…go from there. Have thousands of folks contributes may sound very “Brooklyn” but all it’s doing is watering down the brand…at the borough’s expense. It also turns “art” (let you fill in your own def there) into a commodity, which ultimately is killing the design community in NYC. Sad. (I ref DH’s LOL post, funny, but true)

  • For the love of God, please don’t let the first icon go any further than it already has. If it’s supposed to be channeling Spike Lee, let’s not. He decamped to Manhattan years ago. If it’s a generic hipster, ’nuff said there. NOT. The bridge is ok, don’t get the third one, smiley cloud with bridge is dumb, and brownstones ok, but could be less generic. Brooklyn is more than brownstones, anyway. Why are they doing this? Brooklyn doesn’t need a brand. And people wonder why oldtimers resent newcomers.

    • “Why are they doing this?” Wondering this too, it’s not a fundraising initiative for schools, not a marketing initiative for an event… what’s the point?

      Edit: Upon further reading, the goal is “facilitating a global conversation about these symbols.” So they want to raise money to have people help design logos, so that they can later talk about the logos.

    • are you suggesting that spike lee no longer has an association to brooklyn or that he no longer deserves one because he doesn’t sleep in brooklyn? because Jay Z no longer lives here nor does he? bill clinton and arkansas? michael moore and flint?

      • If you are talking about “branding” a borough, and it’s all hip and happening NOW, then yeah, Spike’s association to Brooklyn is not particularly relevant. Nostalgic, ok, but hardly relevant.

        Personally, I think hanging one’s brand on a city by using people who lived here is rarely accurate or relevant. By the time they are famous enough to think about using them as a brand icon, they are long gone, moved on to other places. That’s fame and fortune for you. Bill Clinton left Arkansas so long ago, most younger people don’t even know that’s where he’s from. Ditto with Michael Moore.

        If I had to brand Brooklyn, the Bridge is the obvious icon, nothing else comes close.

  • To me, the only one up there that represents ALL walks of life & bklyn neighborhoods is the bridge icon (ferris wheel a distant 2nd choice). The others seem too alienating.

  • Isn’t that Marty Markowitz over the bridge?

  • Wonder Wheel is lousy idea given that Staten Isl. is getting a bigger one so as unique icon the idea is lost.
    Why not just the classic, stylized B?

  • We are finally at a point where a majority of people summon up their own positive images in their minds when they hear “Brooklyn.” When I was in Paris last summer, I discovered that “Brooklyn” is an adjective for anything hip, cool, etc. That is the case for many people who don’t live here but look to our borough as the epitome of fun and urban success. I doubt anyone who DOES live here needs a graphic to figure out what Brooklyn means to them, let alone a pair of disembodied eyes wearing Sol Moscot glasses or a giant Marty Markowitz head sucking on a bridge.
    Can’t we just hang out and be ourselves?

  • “micro-collective”
    “award-winning artists”
    “branding experts”
    TMI? or did you forget “opportunists” whose very project demonstrates how little you get Brooklyn, but how much you want to capitalize on it.

  • Oh, it’s the Wonder Wheel and Marty. Who knew?

    “The Fail is strong in this one, Obi-Wan.”

  • oh for crying out loud! Seriously? Ick. Can we please stop with the Brooklyn as a brand.

  • I work in brand management/development and find this nauseating and insulting.

    “people from around the world to contribute to the cultural identity of this borough”

    This says a lot. Letting an outsider’s view and possibly stereotypes tell you what you’re identity is. Would be more fun if this was an exercise in satire and see what the results are.

    Edit: looking at some of those designs, this IS a satire. I’ve been punk’d.

  • Ugh. Brooklyn is many things to many people. Branding it or giving it some sort of graphic identity is ridiculous.

    Under Bloomberg the City trademarked a logo, which leaves me feeling the same as this junk – the City logo makes me think of oil changes and relined brakes.

  • “”facilitating a global conversation about these symbols”

    Yea – a slight variant of the well-worn and empty phrase “to foster and stimulate a dialogue on the subject”. De rigueur justification for any faintly ludicrous artsy activity.

    Dog cr$p on Greenpoint streets stimulates dialogue too.

  • it’s an art project. their goal is not to come up with one logo! they are hoping to have input from many people, young and old and eventually get this in a museum for everyone to see. what’s the big deal? i thought part of the draw of living in ny was to be in an environment that fosters creativity and community. well, it comes in all shapes people.

  • “i thought part of the draw of living in ny was to be in an environment that fosters creativity and community.”

    OK, NYC is a creative environment. Everyone gets that. That doesn’t mean Brooklyn should be “branded” with hokey graphic symbols.

    If it’s cool to live here, that should speak for itself. In the same vein, iconic Brooklyn images exist on their own without some johnny-come-latelys creating a bunch of contrived symbols.

    Nothing is LESS cool that going around telling everyone “Look how cool we are!”

  • So who exactly is going to make the money from all these t-shirts and posters and books and whatnot? I’ll bet not the designers.
    Hey, “micro-collective of award-winning artists and branding experts,” how about doing your own design work.

  • I suggest:

    -a pair of sneakers hanging from a telephone line.

    -grandma sitting on a beach chair in front of her stoop, with her stockings rolled down to her ankles.

    Old school and authentic.

  • Remember that cliched snark, “I just threw up a little in my mouth.” Well, I blew lunch all over my desk. Gonna have to replace my keyboard after I finish typing this.

  • This is the perfect sort of project for Kickstarter (the SkyMall for vaporware.)

  • My suggestion for a “Brooklyn” logo: