Place branding can be defined as the process employed by public administrations to intend to create place brands, networks of associations in the target groups’ minds “based on the visual, verbal, and behavioural expression of a place, which is embodied through the aims, communication, values, and the general culture of the place’s stakeholders and the overall place design” (Zenker & Braun, 2010)
The city of Guadalajara has just recently premiered its Place Branding. To the general dislike of a lot of Tapatíos (Guadalajara city dwellers)
Made by a misterious design firm that has allegedly not been payed for the work it has recieved with very harsh critiques, starting from the fact that it is incredibly plane and "useless", specially since it was comming from a cleary heavy amount of asthetic and cultural documentation. Guadalajara is the capital city of Jalisco, the state in Mexico where Tequila and Mariachi (traditional mexican music) were born. Hence Tapatìos (people from Guadalajara) feel a great pride on this heritage and on all sorts of other particulitarities about this land. All of which are very well depicted in the video made to launch the city's Place Brand.
Sadly despite all the documentation, it fell flat and unable to communicate nor Guadalajara's past neither its future.
And then it was the terrible acusation of plagarism:
So the chance of re-designing the city's image was hapilly recieved by yours trully.
In the shortest amount of time I tryed to come up with a proposal that would give voice to the city as it presents itself, and the way it is represented to the people who live in it, what they love about it, what they are reminded of when they think of it...What they feel proud about.
Aided by a google form I discovered the most frequent words that come to people's minds when thinking about Guadalajara:
- Food/Torta Ahogada
Taking these concepts in mind and cosidering how they all play out in the minds of people within an architechtural and urban sorrounding I decided to use the traditional tile floor of the city's downton as a backdrop onto which I played out concepts and rehearsed some ideas that cristalzied onto 4 proposals that I asked people to vote for
And after they tested with another group of stakeholders I iterated on the favorite proposal trying to improve the typography choice and the concept: The city's name in three version 1. As its original form (Blue and Pink) 2. As a repetition as in the traditional song (Yellow) 3. As widely known acronym GDL. I used Pink because this is the color of the traditional tiled floor of downtown Guadalajara, Yellow as it is the color of the Primavera trees that are famous for blooming all over the city, and also because alongside Blue (which I tried for it to be a more Agave shade) are the official colors of Jalisco state.
After trying also with icons that resembled three of the most recurrent concepts I got to a point where I feel satisfyed. Yet I must admit that reaching a final product that makes me smile everytime I see it and from wherever I see it would need MONTHS of work.