In June of 2014, the design studio White Studio were invited to design the new identity for the city of Porto and its city hall.
The challenge presented was very clear. The city needed a visual system, a visual identity that could organize and simplify communication with the citizens, and could at the same time define a clear hierarchy, bringing together the city and the city hall. A need to represent Porto, a global city, the city for everyone.
With this idea in mind, one of our first tasks was to understand how others view the city, and what comes out of that observation. It’s obvious and even cliché to identify the big icons like Torre dos Clérigos, Casa da Música, Ribeira, Fundação Serralves, the river. These icons go from the incredible gastronomy to the unmistakable accent of the north of Portugal. The Port wine, the São João festivities, the old and the contemporary, the landmarks and the familiar, the list of “Portos” continues.
For each citizen Porto represents a different thing. If you ask someone “What is your Porto?”
the number of answers is endless. We felt like we needed to give each citizen their own Porto.
We needed to show all the cities that exist in this one territory.
One of the things we realized when designing the icons was that the list of things to represent was endless. To each person we talked to, a new possible icon came up. The list kept growing from an initial twenty icons, to the current seventy and counting.
It is meant to be an open system. Through suggestions, drawing panels and interviews we are trying to collect as much input as possible, and every week a couple of new icons appear.
We hope we can make this identity feel as much like home as possible to the citizens of Porto. We want it to be theirs. Their ideas and their participation will be taken into account and we’ll build these stories together. Porto is a shared identity. It is not meant to be done or closed.
Porto. is the romantic feeling that shows loyalty until the end.