Every City Needs a Logo

Mario Mendez

Digital Media Designer

A few weeks ago we compared some of our favourite football crests from around the world. This time, we are going to do the same but with city logos! Usually an entity as big as a city has a lot of different logos, one that is aimed exclusively for tourism abroad, logos representing each of the various sports teams in the city, or commercial campaign logos (like the iconic I<3NY) among others. Historically speaking, cities usually have an official Coat of Arms that never changes. Sometimes it is used in the current government logo either in a stylised version or the original one, but this isn’t always the case.  This time we are focusing specifically on current local government logos.


Some cities have the tradition of changing the logo everytime a new administration arrives, others keep using the same one for years or decades. The local government logo is usually used on all official stationary, social campaigns, public announcements and some touristic promotion activities. It usually represents an important landmark or historic event of the city, or just various assorted symbols related to the city itself.

So, take a look at the various logos we have selected from important cities around the world, and let us know what you like or don’t like about them!

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin City Council has been using this very modern version of the original Dublin Coat of Arms for some time now. Using the three castles, which represent the three towers of a burning Dublin Castle under siege in the 13th Century in the original Coat of Arms. Other theories mention they are just watch towers placed on the City Walls. Whatever the origin, the current image is fresh and effective.

London, United Kingdom

The city of London’s current image is a stylised version of the official Coat of Arms, an emblem of St. George’s Cross with some dragons around it and the motto in Latin “Domine Dirige Nos” (“Lord Guide Us”). The emblem has a red sword on the top right part that symbolises the sword that beheaded St Paul, who is the patron saint of the city. In my opinion logo works wonders, thanks to the slick font used and slight modifications done to the original Coat of Arms, giving it a more modern, yet still historically rich, image for this important city.

Paris, France

Paris City Hall (or Mairie de Paris) also uses stylised elements from its Coat of Arms. The vessel you see in the logo is the symbol of the Merchands de l’eau, the original founders of the city,  dating back to the Middle Ages.  A very simple and clean logo, it represents and origin of Paris and the elegance of Parisians. Using the Eiffel Tower would have been too cliché, right?

Moscow, Russia

References to Saint George appear in the Coat of Arms of various cities, like London, Barcelona, and yes, Moscow. The coat of arms of Moscow depicts a horseman with a spear in his hand slaying a basilisk and is identified with Saint George and the Dragon. Currently it is still being used as the logo of the local government without any major modifications.

San Francisco, United States

Usually, American cities just use the official Coat of Arms or ‘Seal’ of the City in all official documents. San Francisco, the city Graphic Mint where was founded,  features a phoenix, the legendary Greek bird rising from the ashes, above a shield is flanked by two supporters, a miner, holding a shovel; and a sailor, holding a sextant, both in 1850s period clothing. At the feet of the supporters are a plow and anchor, emblems of commerce and navigation. Below the shield is a motto that reads “Oro en paz, fierro en guerra”, which is Spanish for “Gold in peace, iron in war”.

Mexico City, Mexico

This brand new logo was just unveiled this month, as a new administration took office. Personally, I still don’t get what the ‘atom orbits’ mean, and also I don’t like the contrast of styles between the modern and more abstract golden wings and the more realistic “Angel” above them. The “Angel of Independence” is a major landmark in Mexico City and has been its official symbol since 2006. The motto “Deciding together” is taken directly from recently elected mayor’s political campaign, another decision that may not seem very “neutral”.

Osaka, Japan

It’s hard to find information about local government logos on non Western countries since they usually use other alphabets and distinguishing from government websites to tourism websites is not an easy task. The only version we can easily access and identify are versions designed for tourists.  However, the City of Osaka logo shows us this foreigner friendly logo in English, and a very simplified pictogram of Osaka, Japan.

Hoped you liked this selection we’ve made. Feel free to send us other city logos you like or the one from your city. We’ll be happy to discuss them!