What is Bologna?
Well, yes, it's a city in Italy. But, according to that same city's recently designed identity system and accompanying microsite, it's also whatever you want it to be — *insert word here* is Bologna.
The concept behind the design of the identity system is to give individuals the opportunity to express their unique perspective of the city through a system of geometric forms. These forms are based on the shapes of architecture and other design-y elements found throughout the city. One of these forms has been assigned to each letter of the alphabet.
Putting this concept to work, the microsite allows a user to type in a word that he or she feels represents Bologna. In the case of the screenshot above, for example, "Warbird is Bologna." Using this word, the site then generates a unique logo — based on the identity system — that symbolizes the city of Bologna for that particular user.
The auto-generated logos are quite attractive — each one made up of lovely, semi-transparent, geometric forms layered atop one another and bathed in bright colors of the user's choosing. The logos are also incredibly fun to make!
In my experiments, shown above, I inserted the names of people and places I love. I didn't think much about it as I was playing around with the microsite to create these logos, but I'm guessing this is how the City of Bologna and the designers of the identity system would want it to be used — *insert the name of something you love* is Bologna. Consequently, Bologna is something you love! You love Bologna!
This system is a flexible one that encourages the design and implementation of hundreds of logo possibilities. Because of this, there is a chance that brand recognition will be lower with this system than it would have been with a system yielding a single logo.
Even so, the ability for individuals to create their own version of the City of Bologna's logo provides them with a say in the look and feel of Bologna's brand and, therefore emphasizes a connection between them and the city. Considering this, sacrificing a bit of brand recognition may be a worthwhile trade.