Marketing Design Dispatch

What's your opinion on this controversial new brand identity?

Published about 1 year agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

Hi Reader,

I've got a fun mix of content for you in this issue!

πŸ’” A breakdown of the new "We heart NYC" logo that's causing a bit of a stir

✏️ My process for designing an ad landing page

🐍 A fun new Figma feature

Let's jump in.

New Yorkers (and the internet) don't ❀️ the new city logo

The classic I ❀️ NY graphic designed in the 70's by Milton Glaser is iconic across the world. It's sequel, the logo for the cities new We Love NYC campaign, is now iconic for a very different reason: the ridicule it has received online since the campaign launched a few weeks ago.

This new logo (which designer Graham Clifford calls a 'sequel' rather than an update) sees the 'I' turn into 'We' for a community focus, a 'C' added (because it's about the city specifically, not the state), a sans serif font (because, modern?) and a new shaded heart.

The detail in the heart is definitely reminiscent of an emoji, and emoji-style graphics of iconic New York things are used as supporting visuals in the campaign too.

This choice has been criticised because it feels like a clichΓ© "appeal to the youth" thing to use emoji in branding. But honestly? I'm not mad at it.

The campaign aims to speak to New Yorkers and get them to play an active part in their community. Emoji is a universal language that people can communicate in. They may be highly detailed illustrations, but because of their utility, they feel approachable.

Now, the graphics on that billboard above aren't literally emoji you could type on your iPhone, but because they use the tropes of shading and styling from emoji we easily recognise them as such. I don't think it's a visual identity choice a company could get away with. But a city? Sure!

What I am a little mad at is the proportions and alignment of the heart and the text. The heart is so large compared to the text, and it's more likely to be read as "We NYC" (with the heart seen as a supporting visual). I had no idea why these proportions would have been chosen, until I saw the horizontal version of the logo:

In this version, the large heart balances nicely with the text! And this version does seem to be the one used most often on campaign assets. I have a feeling the stacked version is what I've seen the most in design critiques because it more closely resembles the original.

Still though, why not shrink the heart for the stacked version to increase readability?

The part I'm most confused about though isn't the stacked logo proportions; it's the secondary display font that's being used in campaign assets as seen in the billboard on the left here:

Why introduce this font? Why not use the same (or similar) sans serif as the logotype was based on? I have no idea.

Here's a closer look at it on the We Love NYC site:

A quick bit of code inspection shows us that it's called New York Line.

This font was designed by Coert De Decker in 2018 inspired by type on the front of the New York Hotel in Rotterdam (which, FYI, is a city in the Netherlands, not a New York borough – in case your geography isn't up to scratch). I truly think that someone working on this campaign just searched for fonts with 'New York' in the name and went "yep, this'll do".

In my opinion this font has too much personality for this use case. It competes with the concept of the emoji-inspired identity, where the graphics representing New York specialities are the visual elements that bring life to the design.

Now, I recognise that it's easy for us to make judgements of a visual identity from our home offices without having any context on the brief or the stakeholder feedback that the designers involved had to deal with. But constructive critique is part of our industry after all.

What do you think of the We Love NYC logo? Are you vibing with the emoji look? What font would you have paired with it for headings?

Reply and let me know!



✏️ My process for designing an ad landing page

I don't have a ton of hands-on design projects on my plate at work these days, so when I do: I document it!

Watch my process from start to finish to design a new landing page that promotes our email editor in ads in this vlog/show & tell video.

video preview

I treated this page as the start of a system that I'll expand on over time. I hope you enjoy seeing my thinking as I work through various design decisions!



🐍 April fun > April fools

We're all a little over companies making joke announcements on April 1st, right? So I love that the Figma team have turned it into April 'Fun' Day instead; an annual day where they ship a fun feature to their product for users to play with (remember last year's washi tape?).

This year, they've put a classic game of Snake into FigJam! Click here for the file to try it for yourself while it's still around. Just create a section, choose the 'Ssstart snake' option from the menu and use your arrow keys to eat the treats.

While this is just a bit of fun and – let's be honest – more of a distraction than a useful feature, Figma were smart to use the game as a chance to increase usage of a few key FigJam features. The screenshot below is part of the Snake file.

Could be a great ice-breaker or connection session with your design team this week to play a game of Snake together!



Did you enjoy this issue? Click the heart to let me know!


Here's a little something to give you a laugh as you start your week: Doesn't this photo of my cat, Seb, look like he's posing for a LinkedIn headshot? πŸ˜…

He's nailed the arms-crossed casual-lean.

Head's up: there won't be a new issue next week as I'm spending the Easter long weekend on a little trip to the Alps. Don't miss me too much! I'll be back in your inbox on the 17th.

Have a great week.


Marketing Design Dispatch

by Charli Marie

Join 17,000+ creatives receiving insider insights about brand and marketing design – featuring landing page and rebrand breakdowns, useful career content, and a behind-the-scenes look at running a Brand Studio team in tech.

Share this page