London calling! Available in my online shop this week, is this LDN t-shirt featuring an original logo design by Bunbury Creative. LDN is a phone, geographic and colloquial abbreviation for London, and as a born-and-bred Londoner, I’ve always been fascinated with the graphic identities of cities.
My earliest memory of this, is looking through my parents vinyl collection and being fixated at the 12″ sleeve of ‘I Love New York’ by Metropolis – probably late 70s/early 80s. The sleeve featured the iconic Milton Glazer ‘I Love NY’ logo, and left a profound effect on my fledging understanding of visual communication.
To me, that logo made New York exciting and passionate, in stark contrast to London in the 1980s. I think on some level I’ve always wanted to redress that balance. Especially as over the years, London would emerge from its stuffy, cobblestoned image to embrace and lead the world in music, art, and fashion.
So it’s perhaps no surprise how in my 20s I wound up working as part of a branding-London project for the London Development Agency, through leading consultancy Interbrand. In the years since I’ve found myself drawn to city-centric briefs and projects. From branding local borough reading initiatives, to urban-focused charities, London has been a part of my work for some time.
So as part of a project I’ve been working on, producing graphics for t-shirts, I got sidetracked by an idea. My designs were around cities in the UK, and I started using abbreviations as a typographical flourish. Based on the price-point of the final product, I felt the typography alone didn’t general enough visual value.
Now I’ve always been inspired by American ‘varsity’ graphics, baseball logos, and generally the visual iconography of sport. I think the combination of graphic design and the tribalistic nature of team sport has always been an intriguing mix. From the New York Yankees ‘NY’, to the LA Dodgers stylised ‘LA’, once a logo enters popular culture, its uses seem to transcend it’s original purpose, and it begins to function more like a symbol or a flag. It epitomises values beyond the team, or even sport itself.
So with sketch pad in hand, I quickly drew out the letters ‘LDN’ with the idea of combining letterforms. The result is largely the same as the computer-drawn version below. While not right for my original graphic design project, I thought it deserved to be used so I’ve made it available as a t-shirt in a range of colours.
Check it out, and share in my love for our nation’s capital – it’s overcrowded, expensive and there’s nowhere to park, but it still might be the greatest city in the world.