West Loop: Lines to unify people

West Loop is one of the most dynamically developing neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois. Known for its industrial history and urban modernity, the area is rather attractive for both Chicagoans and visitors. West Loop was once an industrial center harboring multiple warehouses and factories. Over the past years, it has experienced an impressive transformation, growing into a popular place for life and business, with a unique industry-influenced vibe. And this spirit is expressed in the neighborhood’s new visual identity recently created by Landor.

The local brand has abandoned a geometric and somewhat cold design in favor of a dynamic icon and authentic typography. The old logo interpreted the area’s industrial history with a broken typographic composition, which was hardly readable, featuring a perspective effect and a light red-to-violet gradient. It was just a concentration of graphical design that failed to express the human and uniting character of West Loop.

The new identity is built on a concept entitled “In the Loop”, embodied in a wavy and loopy sign that can be seen as a real breakthrough solution. According to Landor, this idea makes the neighborhood’s history, as well as related residents’ memories, connect with the perpetual evolution based on its experience.

Formed to reflect West Loop’s initials, the icon is executed in the style of abstract interpretation. The figure comes undone as a rhythmic curve, echoing the dynamism of the area. The WL sign is accompanied by a brand wordmark that still represents the neighborhood’s membership association, whose goal is to catalyze local economic development through member programs and marketing opportunities. Reimagined with “org” as a distinctive brand trick, the organization’s name is designed in a custom typeface inspired by signboards and other things found in old photographs revealing the heritage of West Loop.

Generally, the loop is used as the main motif of the branding, formed with colored bands and lines. They symbolize the common communications and individual ways of the people within the community. This is a really unique graphic choice to highlight the identity, which, as a flexible element, can be adapted to all means needed to promote the brand.

The visual impact is significantly reinforced by a color palette featuring bold and contrasting hues inspired by the colors of the Meatpacking District railroad, subway maps, and brick and iron constructions across the city. Actually, the brand has no dominant color, represented by a bright mixture of different shades.

Another part of the brand system is a set of pictograms continuing the loopy and curvy language of the identity. This enables introducing warmer brand messages, like “You are loved and appreciated”, “Happy birthday”, or “So proud of you”.

While these messages have to strengthen the brand atmosphere that is really created by humans, the digital experience, as Landor says, “creates its own loop” and allows residents to express their unique connection with the neighborhood, reinforcing the idea that this uniqueness of individual experience is in West Loop’s DNA. Due to its new identity, West Loop looks quite different from the neighboring Loop district, advancing its history and humanness.

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