Bumper sticker-worthy or a “Miami Vice” rip-off?
Opinions were wide-ranging Wednesday over the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board’s new official logo designed by House Industries and Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One.
The logo features “Los Angeles” written in cursive, fading from pink to teal below an illustration of a setting sun. The tourism board, which is the private, nonprofit organization tasked with the city’s tourism marketing and promotion, says the logo will appear on its social media platforms and in its marketing, promotion and sales activity to target travelers to L.A.
Some people on social media expressed excitement about the logo, with many saying they wanted to get it on T-shirts and bumper stickers. Others were unaware that Los Angeles even had a logo. Some said they thought the upgraded logo is too nostalgic and reminiscent of the 1980s, with some even accusing it of being a rip-off of the “Miami Vice” logo, though the two only share a similar color scheme.
“Dear Los Angeles – your new logo is incredible. Are you going to sell swag with it? I’d buy a t-shirt in two-seconds flat,” one observer wrote on Twitter.
A detractor, however, opined, “Los Angeles has a new logo and it’s more hideous than the 405 at 4 o’clock.”
The board wanted to update the logo as it stages a comeback from tourism’s “lost year” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The logo was quietly unveiled June 16, just after California and Los Angeles County dropped most COVID-19 restrictions.
“The timing couldn’t be more perfect to unveil a fresh look for L.A. as we once again roll out the red carpet for visitors,” said Don Skeoch, chief marketing officer for Los Angeles Tourism.
“Los Angeles continues to evolve right before our eyes. As we emerge from this horrible pandemic, we continue to create those memorable experiences that visitors from around the globe cherish.”
The logo was designed by House Industries and Studio Number One, which was founded by artist Shepard Fairey, best known for designing Barack Obama’s “Hope” poster for the 2008 presidential election.
“When you say `Los Angeles’ it doesn’t necessarily mean just a city,” Fairey said. “It’s a whole mindset, a vibe, a culture. And as an Angeleno, it was exciting to me to take on the creative challenge of designing a mark representing all the things that Los Angeles means to people.
“On that creative path, I worked with my team at Studio Number One, and the inspiring cool factory that is House Industries, led by my friend Andy Cruz. We all dug deep into L.A. culture and came up with a great answer that we feel embraces the spirit and optimism of L.A.”
According to the tourism board, the sun is meant to symbolize the “equity that Los Angeles owns in breathtaking sunsets,” and the sun’s dome shape is designed to mimic iconic Los Angeles architecture, including that of the Hollywood Bowl, the Cinerama Dome, the Griffith Observatory and the orchestra pit at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Under the sun, the logo features brush strokes to represent the ocean, creativity and self-expression, according to the board, which added that it underscores that all are welcome in Los Angeles.
The gradient colors, which start at sunburst yellow and fade into teal, were chosen to represent the city’s diversity, as well as sunrise to sunset.
“The history of iconic signage and inspired typography created in L.A. is as diverse and unique as its people,” Cruz said. “The chance to Wonder-Twin House Industries & Studio Number One is something Shepard Fairey and I have been waiting years to activate — and it happened in the form of the new Los Angeles logo. Distilling that potion of influence into a mark that honors the past but feels new is something all the artists at House and SNO took personally.”