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Laboratorio Para Ciudad identity

Identity, Public Service

Mexico City is one of the world’s true megacities, a daunting urban space, but also a place of endless possibilities. To redefine the city according to its potential rather than its challenges, Mayor Miguel Mancera recognized that a bold new level of urban innovation was required. He invited Gabriella Gomez-Mont, senior TED fellow, artist, writer and global culture-maker, to incorporate a “creative lab” into the official structure of the city’s government. Gomez-Mont conceived Laboratorio Para La Ciudad to engage the brightest minds of Mexico City in telling a new story of the city and unleashing its creativity, and she asked Toronto-based Blok to design the Laboratorio’s identity. The project’s challenges were considerable. The organization’s numerous different outreach activities, including workshops, conferences, public installations, webcasts and editorial projects, made the element of elasticity a crucial design consideration. Equally important was ensuring that the identity balanced the paradoxical nature of Mexico City with the Laboratorio’s voice and its progressive, innovative thought-leadership. There was the additional challenge of wrestling with the length of the organization’s name, taking into account the unique Mexican habit of creating colloquial nicknames for official monikers. Blok addressed the need for flexibility, variety and adaptability to potential nicknaming by creating three different names and wordmarks. The designers added bold typography and graphic lines that mimic the patterns of Mexico City’s streets. These lines never completely close around the logo, mirroring the Lab’s values of openness and transparency. To extend the branding to the Lab’s many future projects, Blok created a contemporary version of an old-school government stamp, which lends the brand the officious air of a bureau approving the bold experiments at play.

Kevin Boothe/Vanessa Eckstein/Patricia Kleeberg, designers; Marta Cutler/Vanessa Eckstein, creative directors; Mark Powell, photographer; Blok Design (Toronto, Canada), design firm, Government of Mexico City, client.