Can a city fit our screens?
Each city offers subjective experiences to its people. Our memories and outlook on them differ drastically. They host millions of lifestyles, cultures, beliefs, and identities. It seems impossible to represent a city with a few personas. We even questioned whether a single identity could represent a city. Even if it could, a better question is whether it would still be an identity…
Our partners at Istanbul.com have been trying to tell Istanbul's story. They collected data, conducted surveys, and offered experiences on multiple channels to understand and position their company. Understandably, when we met them, They were a confused group of professionals. They had decades' worth of data, analysis, and transparent business strategy with no clear path to tell their story. They knew they wanted to tell the story of Istanbul the RIGHT way, and they needed us to help them do it.
The Symphony of Istanbul
Consequently, Istanbul became our guinea-pig in answering the question: Can a city fit our screens?
We started our research by defining the core psychographic groups within Istanbul and curated specific surveys to understand and empathize with them. We created mock campaigns and designated interactions spots to test and better understand the city's behavioural variations. While running these tests, we tried to figure out a way to connect the business strategy presented by Istanbul.com with the analysis we were making.
This process allowed us to realize that only a single user' journey would never be enough. We needed multiple channels of communication that could present a spectrum of tonal variation. This idea created the concept: The Symphony of Istanbul.
We designed a second discovery step to tilt the scale on what side of Istanbul we wanted our identity to focus on. We designed visual and text-based assets for each of our psychographic groups. These were designed to understand the orientation and outlook of our groups. With its results, we shifted towards a rather contemporary approach, with hints of history and tradition sprinkled in.
We started our visual development with a buttload of research. Our goal was to analyze and deconstruct what made Istanbul so iconic. Once we had a core concept, we wanted to sprinkle abstract pockets of tradition within the identity system to tie it all together.
Since Istanbul was the epicentre of many cultures, we looked a the overlapping tendencies within their history regarding architecture, art, and communication. Deconstructing the artistic tendencies repeated across Istanbul's history and Turkish art helped us detect a strong pattern. We could even trace it back to Roman times, giving us a sense of continuity within the city's history.
This pattern was a repeating concept of curvilinear rhythms with co-centric circles around them. These geometric forms were often complemented by the coastline and the bridge across the Bosphorus. It created a great basis to form an identity system on, thus we got to work.
The brand of Istanbul.com needed to be able to convey its identity even in the most direct interaction. To ensure that, we started developing the identity by defining a typographic system.
We also designed a new logotype that held the abstract but traditional patterns we uncovered during our research. We ensured that our display typeface and logotype were enough of a traditional statement. Allowing us to create a contemporary art direction and a playground for the brand to evolve and grow.
Our final challenge was creating a layout system that had the flexibility to move freely between the psychographic groups we defined. We needed to make our identity felt but not seen; this way, we would be able to represent any part and vibe present within the city.
To our surprise, we believe we were able to fit a whole city within our screens. Careful preparation and analysis allowed us the flexibility to represent any part of Istanbul we desired on Istanbul.com. We were able to leave enough wiggle room to evolve and grow as the platform expands and embarks on new stories to tell within Istanbul. We believe this is a homage to the depth of immersion we can create with digital media...