Barcelona Commits to Sustainability with Warm, Humanistic Design

Posted inCulturally-Related Design

Barcelona City Council is affirming their commitment to the green economy with a new identity by creative agency FOLCH. This bright new system illustrates how the city is boosting recycling efforts and prioritizing sustainable waste management.

While the “Cuidem Barcelona” campaign communicates vital information, it still retains a playful attitude. The logo fuses the C and B initials into a lively, yet conceptual abstraction that resembles a smiley face or heart. The system uses use a hearty green color palette to communicate its “green” mission in a warm, witty fashion. With its approachable visuals and smart design, Cuidem Barcelona highlights the importance of a clean, carefully maintained environment.

Both the campaign and the brand appeal to concepts including inclusiveness, empathy and citizen co-responsibility

The new identity, which covers all municipal services linked to public space, reflects Barcelona City Council’s commitment to the green and circular economy, and is expected to last for 8 years

‘Cuidem Barcelona’ comes after ‘BCNeta!’ (1999) and ‘Barcelona por el medio ambiente’ (2008), created by the well-known designer Mario Eskenazi

Cuidem Barcelona (Let’s Take Care of Barcelona), the new brand for Barcelona City Council’s maintenance and cleaning service, is being deployed in the Catalan capital. Its main objective is to appeal to all citizens so that they feel part of this brand and, therefore, contribute towards caring for the city. The naming, identity and campaign have been developed by the creative agency Folch, specialized in branding and campaigning.

The new brand, which has been gradually implemented since March in the different districts of the city, is a reflection of the municipal government’s commitment to the green and circular economy, placing special emphasis on reducing waste and increasing recycling. Not surprisingly, this is Barcelona City Council’s largest contract, with a value of more than 2,300 million in public spending and a planned duration of 8 years, during which it will cover all the municipal services linked to public space: more than 870 electric vehicles, 25,200 containers, the clothing of more than 2,100 workers, as well as thousands of different physical and digital supports that make up the communication campaign.

Cuidem Barcelona articulates the name, branding and graphic system around three fundamental concepts: inclusiveness, empathy and co-responsibility, where not only the cleaning services themselves feel part of the brand, but also all the personnel assigned to the maintenance of the city. Likewise, Cuidem Barcelona appeals, in a broad sense, to a large part of the citizenry in an active and direct way. “Cuidem Barcelona is anumbrella brand that goes beyond cleaning services, it goes much further, appealing to all citizens at the same time”, explains Rafa Martínez, director of strategy and business at Folch.

“The paradigm has changed and, as a mature and aware society, we must become active individuals involved in the care of our environment. We cannot just be passive agents; the same awareness that we demand for the rural environment and the environment is just as necessary in the urban environment. We appreciate what we take care of, we take care of what we appreciate”, explains Albert Folch, creative director and founder of the agency.

The emotional dimension of the brand is determined by the symbol integrated into the logo, an abstraction of the initials C and B, which serves as a synthesis of both a heart and a face.

The affective and proximate expression of this element takes on great importance within the identity. The character directly interpellates the citizenship, forming part of a collective imaginary. “The symbol allows us to communicate a wide range of situations and emotions through simple shapes and movements, bringing richness to the identity, approaching the public in a more direct, expressive and closer way”, explains Oriol Corsà, art and design director at Folch.

The new corporate typeface, Aeonik (CoType Foundry), has a clear modern influence with sleek, dynamic forms that make it easy to use in both large body text and reading text. Cuidem Barcelona uses the graphic and interaction codes of text messages, which are recognizable and closely related to technology.

The new color palette reflects the redistribution of the efforts and resources of the new contract, which is reflected in the graphic identity. It has been cut in half and reorganized into a new sub-brand architecture, with a new color palette to unify them under work groups.

Neteja i Residus (Cleaning and Waste), the two major subdivisions of Cuidem Barcelona, now share the same shade of green, making the presence of workers and vehicles in the public space much more visible. Manteniment i Soroll (Maintenance and Noise) share the same shade of orange, whilePlatges i Aigua (Beaches and Water) use blue as the main color.

Cuidem Barcelona is part of a new phase, which coincides with the end of the pandemic, in which the main objective of the Urban Ecology area of the City Council is to improve the condition and cleanliness of streets, squares, parks and urban elements, in order to address the new uses of public space and make citizens participate and co-responsible for this transformation.

The campaign follows BCNeta! (BCN Clean City) (1999) and Barcelona pel medi ambient (Barcelona for the Environment) (2008), identities that have represented Barcelona’s cleaning services over the last 20 years and that have quickly taken root in the urban imaginary. Both identities were created by Mario Eskenazi, a reference in Spanish graphic design, whose work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the National Design Award and the Grand Laus.

Folch, a Barcelona-based agency that has won five Laus de Oro awards, among other prizes, has been working for three years on the brand for the maintenance and cleaning service of Barcelona, after winning the city council’s public tender.

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